You’ve paid your taxes and worked hard for decades. So it’s fair enough you want to be able to look forward to a financially comfortable retirement. Now is the time to consider investment options aimed at safely preserving and building on your hard-earned wealth, so that you don’t have to worry about a having a secure income source when you do eventually quit working. If you choose to take control of your own superannuation, then there are countless options available to you. You could choose a specialised retirement fund or annuity. However be warned, many of these, particularly annuities, charge you dearly in fees for a very conservative return. A better option is to hold a balanced, self-managed (i.e. cheaply run) portfolio made up of 6-8 differing investment types. As recommended by most financial advisors and investment experts, your portfolio is allowed to include a few riskier, high-return stocks, but should primarily feature a range of more conservative options, such as property for instance, and lower-risk assets, like gold or cash. Here are five top investment options you may want to consider for your retirement fund.
Particularly if you don’t fancy the thought of stock picking or self managing your investment portfolio, you may consider various types of funds. Mutual funds rely on professional advisers. The key thing to note is they take a fee, so do your research and be aware of the fee structure you are signing up for. Index funds are another option. There are hundreds available, all of which track various indices, such as the S&P 500 for example. The third type of fund you may wish to consider is known as an exchange traded fund or ETF. These are essentially a type of index fund, however while traditional index funds are expensive to trade, ETF’s trade commission free. However, be careful, as while ETFs provide you with flexibility, some of them are little more than trading tools. It’s best to go for the largest, most widely used ETFs on the market, if you want to achieve a benchmark return at little cost.
Gold is often cited as a good investment option to help balance out a retirement fund portfolio. We’re not talking about buying shares in a speculative junior gold explorer, mind! We mean direct investment at the least risky end of the gold market, i.e. investment in gold bullion. As a lower-risk asset, holding gold bullion will improve the performance and risk profile of your portfolio. It will also protect your fund from the risks of holding currency, which of course loses value over time, due to inflation. Gold also acts as a hedge against potential falls in other asset markets, such as stocks, bonds and property. NB. Many financial advisors believe gold should form at least 10-20 percent of an investment portfolio.
Most investment experts believe property is a key part of any portfolio. We’re not talking about the home you live in, though as one of the key benefits of including property in your investment portfolio is that it can be sold quickly if necessary, without its price being negatively impacted. The other key benefit of including property in your investing mix, is it generates a regular return. So what we’re talking about here is exposure to at least one of three investing categories: funds that invest in a portfolio of listed property companies; unit trusts that invest in the underlying properties themselves; or shares in listed property companies.
Equities, or stocks and shares, can be volatile, particularly over the short term. So traditionally, many people have shied away from stocks and shares, particularly when approaching retirement. However, you should remember this: over long periods, equities have always given the best returns when compared to other asset classes. Experts reckon younger people with 30 or more years until retirement should build a portfolio containing up to 50 percent equities. If, however, you are currently nearing retirement and have a moderate risk profile, your portfolio should not contain more than 20 percent equities. You can either invest directly in stocks or choose diversified equity fund schemes.
Fixed Interest Securities
A well diversified investment portfolio should also contain fixed interest securities, or bonds. The money you put into a bond is essentially a loan to the government or bond holder, who in exchange, awards you with fixed interest payments that do not change over the life of the instrument. Bonds are less risky than equities and should play a key part of your retirement portfolio.