Ought to I Money Out of Shares at 57 to Shield My Life’s Financial savings?

Expensive Penny,

I’m 57 with $285,000 in a brokerage account, and about the identical quantity in retirement accounts. I’m presently maxing out the quantity I can put in my employer’s retirement plan.  

Nonetheless, with the market persevering with to go down I’m questioning if I ought to simply preserve extra in money. I perceive that with the market down I’m basically shopping for shares “on sale.” But when the worth continues to fall I will not have that lengthy to recoup the loss because of my age. Ideas?


Expensive M.,

It will depend on what you imply by “preserve extra in money.” It’s painful to look at cash evaporate out of your funding accounts. That’s very true when retirement is lastly in sight — although lately, “Ought to I money out?” is a query I’m getting from readers of all ages. However except you’re dealing with a dire necessity, I wouldn’t money out investments proper now.

The obvious cause is that the inventory market is down about 20% yr so far as of late October 2022. Your concern is that you simply received’t have the ability to recoup your losses. However till you promote, any losses you’ve already incurred solely exist on paper. Do you have to money out now, you’d assure that your investments won’t ever rebound.

Obtained a Burning Cash Query?

Get sensible recommendation on your cash challenges from Robin Hartill, a Licensed Monetary Planner and the voice of Expensive Penny.

DISCLAIMER: Choose questions will seem in The Penny Hoarder’s “Expensive Penny” column. We’re unable to reply each letter. We reserve the best to edit and publish your questions. However don’t fear — your identification will stay nameless. Expensive Penny columns are for common informational functions solely, however we promise to supply sound recommendation primarily based on our personal analysis and insights.

A less-discussed cause is that there’s a threat in having an excessive amount of of your retirement financial savings in money. Individuals approaching retirement typically fear {that a} crash might derail all their cautious planning, and rightfully so. However at 57, you possibly can simply reside one other three or 4 a long time.

Even after you retire, you want your cash to proceed incomes cash. If a big chunk of your retirement cash is in money or different low-risk, low-return investments, you could must withdraw considerably greater than your cash earns. At that time, working out of cash turns into an actual concern.

Increase extra cash financial savings is a superb purpose. That approach, you will have a cushion on your retirement years. The worst-case situation is a chronic bear market that hits when you’ve already retired. In the event you don’t have liquid financial savings and also you’re residing off your investments, a downturn is a monetary nightmare. You’re pressured to withdraw from depleted investments that by no means get the chance to rebound.

Once you’re nonetheless working, you sometimes need no less than three to 6 months’ value of liquid financial savings readily available. However once you’re getting ready for retirement, it’s best to up this goal. Ideally, you’d have two or three years of financial savings. That will not be practical for lots of people, however any further money it can save you gives a invaluable buffer.

If in case you have a good quantity of disposable earnings, you possibly can attempt scaling again on non-essentials to construct your money financial savings and preserve investing as ordinary. But when that’s not an choice, I’d preserve maxing out your contributions to your employer-sponsored plan to take advantage of the tax benefits and make investments much less in your brokerage account.

It’s additionally value it to fulfill with a monetary adviser to assessment your asset allocation, even when it’s only a one-time engagement. You in all probability don’t need to do vital rebalancing whereas the market continues to be down. However you possibly can work out a technique to start out shifting your cash into safer belongings as soon as the market recovers.

Remember that investing is just one a part of retirement planning. A bit flexibility can go a great distance. For instance, in case you’re in good well being and your job is steady, you could need to work a bit longer than you’d deliberate. That provides your cash extra time to rebound. Plus, that may show you how to maintain out for extra Social Safety, which might help fill the void when the inventory market takes a dip.

Regardless that it’s scary when the inventory market poses a risk to your retirement, it helps to place issues in perspective. The common bear market — outlined as a 20% or extra drop from peak to backside — lasts lower than 10 months. Extra importantly, the inventory market has at all times rebounded from its losses. So attempt to ignore the each day fluctuations in your 401(ok) stability and test in as soon as a month or quarter as a substitute.

Most likely the toughest a part of defending your retirement financial savings is that we naturally need to take motion when the market is down. However that’s exactly the alternative of what we must always do. A hands-off strategy is finest when issues are dangerous. Then, it’s essential have the self-discipline to take motion, by rebalancing or promoting off, when the market is robust, even when meaning forgoing potential returns.

Don’t take any main actions primarily based on the newest inventory market information. However do make it a purpose to step by step save extra cash whereas additionally persevering with to take a position. The inventory market could be a scary place to maintain your cash within the brief time period. However in the long term, it’s a fairly dependable generator of wealth.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected],

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