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TheStreet Open House

The Secret to a Successful Retirement: Don't Retire

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The best financial advice for the growing number of Baby Boomers eagerly approaching retirement is: "Don't."

That's because a decade of dismal stock market returns, curtailed employer pension plans, poor saving habits, and plunging home values means that fewer than half of those now approaching retirement have enough money to retire comfortably, including Social Security benefits, which don't begin in full until age 66.

A recent study by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research concludes that those approaching retirement ought to work as long as they can to postpone filing for Social Security, save money, take on a reverse mortgage in retirement if there is substantial equity, and pick conservative investments and stick with them.

Gyrating 401(k) and IRA retirement fund balances and the low yields from fixed-income investments also have those approaching retirement or who have just entered it flocking to financial advisers for help in deciding upon how to allocate their portfolios to limit risk.

But the study says the best tack is to pick some conservative investments and stick with them, then focus on other efforts elsewhere. "Financial advice tends to focus on financial assets, but other levers may be more important for most households" as they prepare for retirement.

"Asset allocation is less potent than the alternatives, particularly working longer, and, even for those with substantial financial assets, it is less important than one would expect," it said.

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