So often, Clark gives general “one size fits all” advice about your retirement savings. But FinancialEngines.com can be used to analyze your specific situation. This website takes a very granular look at your retirement plan. Using Monte Carlo simulation, it generates a worst case, best case and intermediate case scenario for your money down the road.
Meanwhile, FinancialEngines.com recently surveyed 1 million people to get a better idea of how we’re planning for retirement. Unfortunately, 70% of us have our money fouled up in a 401(k) plan with too little or too much risk.
In addition, some 40% of us have huge money tied up in employer stock. Clark says that should be more like zero percent! But people trust the company they work for and take the path of least resistance when making investment decisions. The downside is there’s great risk having all your eggs in one basket. If you think not investing in your company stock is disloyal, throw them 10% at the most and call it a day.
Diversification is the key. You have to spread your money out to lower your risk. A lot of people make the mistake of taking all their money and putting it into a stable fund or a guaranteed fund. Those options may sound like a sure thing, but they basically tread water.
Clark prefers that you have money in the Total Stock Market Index, where you own pieces of thousands of companies. Sure, it’s not as “sexy” as putting it all into a single company and letting it ride. But investments should be about long-term security, not the dazzle factor.