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A guide to retirement planning and investment basics

Preparing for a secure retirement

By seeking out this guide, you’ve already taken an important step toward building a comfortable, financially secure retirement for yourself. We’ll introduce and simplify some key information to help you make the most of your money as you plan your retirement.

  • The importance of getting started
  • Determining how much to set aside
  • Risk tolerance and asset allocation
  • Tracking your retirement plan
  • Investment rules of thumb

The importance of getting started

The most important aspects of retirement planning are time and compound interest. The sooner you begin saving, the more money you’ll likely be able to accumulate through compound interest—the earning interest on the principal and interest you’ve already invested. This makes the very first dollar in your retirement account the most valuable.

To see the impact of compound interest in action, check out our Cost of Waiting Calculator.

Determining how much to set aside

Once you’re ready to start saving for retirement, the next step is establishing how much to set aside. Remember, you’re not locked into your contribution rate. You can adjust your contribution rate to match your budget and your retirement objectives.

Our Retirement Savings Planner Calculator can help you determine how much to start setting aside.

Track your retirement plan

Be sure to evaluate and track your plan routinely. As you get closer to retirement, your risk tolerance or investment strategy may change. By investing with us, you’ll be able to track your retirement account online and over the phone.

Investment rules of thumb

Here are some rules of thumb for investors like you to keep in mind:

  • Common stocks of small, unseasoned companies are riskier than common stocks of mid-sized companies, which in turn are riskier than common stocks of large, well-established companies.
  • Investments that try to beat the returns of a given benchmark (like the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index) present more risk than investments that try to match the returns of the same benchmark.
  • Common stocks of companies located outside the United States are of greater risk than common stocks of companies located within the United States.
  • Investments with high portfolio turnover are usually riskier than investments with low portfolio turnover.
  • Investments that are not well-diversified (investments that own only 20-30 stocks, for example) present more risk than investments that are well-diversified.

We know how much your financial future means to you, and we hope you find this retirement and investment basics guide useful. Whether you’re just beginning to plan for your future or you’re seeking out the latest information to adjust your current plan, we’re here to help.

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