Dear Harry: I am 69, still working full time, with a pension plan maintained by my employer. Its value is more than $100,000, the same as it was a year ago. The biggest piece of the money is in a large-cap fund (40 percent). I also have 25 percent in a global equity fund and smaller amounts in mid- cap, small-cap, and fixed-income funds. With the exception of the fixed-income fund (only 2 percent), they ALL produced negative results. If I had all of the money invested in the fixed-income fund, I'd now have $116,000 instead of the $100,000. Am I wrong in figuring that a more conservative approach would be my best course of action? I would appreciate your thoughts. I have no plans to retire soon.
What Harry says: It sure looks that way to me. At 69, you don't have a lot of time to make up for hefty losses. There are several things that I would suggest. If there are other funds available to you in similar categories, you may be able to switch to them, as well as reallocate the percentages. Because employer-sponsored plans have limited selections, this may not be possible. Fixed-income funds do well in a time of declining interest rates. That's why there was such a nice gain on that investment. There's not a heck of a lot of room for sharp advances there in the next few years. In spite of that, I would like to see you increase your investment to 50 percent of your total. Spread the rest evenly in the best-performing funds available to you in the large-cap, mid-cap, small-cap and global categories. You should re-evaluate your positions at least semiannually.