Five Steps to a Healthier 401(k)
After the dot com bubble burst, many investors became painfully aware of what happens when they overindulged in high-tech and other growth stocks. Their accounts ended up bloated with investments that weren't good for them. Don't let the lessons of a few years ago be lost; having a good strategy for how you invest in your 401(k) is still important. See how you're doing by consulting our checklist:
- Open your latest 401(k) account statement and read it!
Ignorance is not bliss. Find out if your balance is up or down and whether you're invested in the right mutual funds for your situation.
- Keep contributing to your 401(k).
Saving in a 401(k) is a great deal, so you should put as much into your plan as you can. Your 401(k) lets you reduce your taxes and get free money if your employer makes a matching contribution. If you leave your job, don't cash out your plan. Transfer your savings to an IRA or to your new employer's 401(k) plan, and keep the tax benefits.
- Ignore the daily ups and downs of the financial markets.
The key to successful long-term investing is to not overreact to short-term events. Filter out the noise of daily stock reports, and focus on your long-range goal.
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket: Diversify your portfolio now.
If you've been thinking lately that you should diversify your portfolio, then you should make the change immediately. Any delay could result in lost investment opportunities or lost portfolio value.
- Make a plan! It's a lot easier than you think.
You should have an investing plan that fits your long-term goals. The way you divide your money among different types of investments is called asset allocation, and doing it properly can minimize your investment risk.
For assistance in evaluating your current 401(k) investment strategy, make an appointment for a free consultation with one of our Provident Financial Consultants.* Just e-mail or call (800) 632-4600, ext. 2487. Provident offers a full range of Investment and Retirement Planning services.