Diversification — not putting all your eggs in one basket — is one of the most cherished principles of investing. That's one reason why mutual funds have become a popular choice for many investors' workplace retirement accounts. They're an easy way to invest in many different securities at once, and to do so at a lower cost than you might be able to achieve on your own. Though diversification alone can't guarantee a profit or prevent the possibility of loss, it can help minimize how much your portfolio is affected by the problems of a single company or borrower.
As the earliest baby boomers begin to enter retirement, the various income guarantees and other living benefits offered through variable annuities (VAs) are gaining in importance.
Yet before you rush to add a VA to your retirement funding scheme, take some time to understand what VAs have to offer in a general sense and to sort through the host of optional features and their associated fees and investment risks.
Many Americans realize the importance of saving for retirement, but knowing exactly how much they need to save is another issue altogether. With all the information available about retirement, it is sometimes difficult to decipher what is appropriate for your specific situation.
The world of 50 years ago was a lot different than it is today. An individual often worked at the same job all his or her adult life, lived in the same house, and stayed married to the same spouse. In those days, too, one spouse could support a family, paying for college ordinarily didn't require taking out a second mortgage, and people could look forward to retiring on Social Security and possibly a company pension.