In case you missed it, here is the HD version of our presentation at Fall Finovate 2014! They did a great job of making us look so good with so little makeup!
We at blooom are occasionally asked why the recommended allocation from our proprietary glide-path includes (what seems to be) a rather heavy mix of stock funds over bond funds. Their question often stems from what I call the “Good Morning America” or “one-size-fits-all” allocation advice which carelessly recommends that you allocate the same percentage to bonds vs stocks as your current age. For example, if you are 33 years old – taking that advice for your 401k would mean you would allocate 33% to bonds within your portfolio. I am sorry, but when it comes to your 401k retirement savings – we think it is ludicrous for a 33 year-old (with possibly 25+ more years before retirement) to allocate 1/3 of their portfolio to an asset class that will most likely provide ZERO real return over the remainder of their working years.
Most of blooom’s clients will admit that they don’t often look at the value of their 401k. But if you have been watching the stock market lately you would have seen that it has dropped a fair amount just in the past few weeks – which in turn will lead your 401k to zig and zag in value.
This is nothing new – it’s just been a while since you’ve seen this happen.
Over the past 3 years, basically since August of 2011 when the US Debt was down-graded, we haven’t seen much of a pullback (market decline). In fact, we have now gone 3+ years without even so much as a 10% pullback in the market. That is very unusual. Not nearly as unusual as our hometown team the Kansas City Royals making the playoffs for the first time in 29 years, but unusual nonetheless! Market pullbacks are not only normal….they are NECESSARY. If it was always a straight ride upward, then everyone would be a stock market investor and there would only be a fraction of the return premium afforded to investors.
If your employer offers a pre-tax retirement savings plan like a 401k, 403b, 457, or similar and they offer a matching contribution you may be the lucky benefactor of a 120% rate of return on your contributions.
Let me explain. Lets assume the following:
$50,000 annual salary
Your employer matches 100% of the first 3% of your contribution. So if you contribute 3% of your salary to your 401k, your employer will also contribute 3% of your salary to your 401k.
We hear it quite frequently…”I just can’t afford to put aside 10% of my paycheck towards retirement.” Or sometimes…”We are just barely getting by on the income we have right now.” If you find yourself in this position then I highly encourage you to take a look into Dave Ramsey’s tools and specifically his Core Financial Wellness Program.
But if this article reaches you before you take your first full-time job and before you have car payments, credit card debt, etc. I implore you to implement the 10% Savings Trick. It is incredibly simple in its concept but massively important in its execution. It works like this…The moment you hear what the annual salary offer is (spoken or written) from your first employer – trick your brain into hearing (or seeing) a figure that is 10% less than the actual amount. If you think you hear $60,000 – immediately convert that to $54,000 in your head and base your decision on that adjusted figure of $54,000. Should you decide to accept the offer – in your mind, you will be accepting an offer of $54,000.