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Top ETFs for Your Retirement Savings

By Billy Fisher

Whether you are on the brink of retirement or have a ways to go, choosing the right ETFs for your portfolio can be a daunting challenge. At last check, there were more than 1,400 ETFs being tracked by Morningstar. Which ones are capable of enhancing your golden years? Here are some top ETF ideas for your retirement savings.

Global Diversity

Matt Tuttle, CEO of Tuttle Wealth Management, likes ETFs such as the iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF (ITOT) and the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) for investors who have 20 years or more until retirement. "I'm a big believer in being tactical," he said. "If you're just looking to buy and hold a couple of ETFs for the long term, though, an allocation of U.S. and international stocks makes a lot of sense."

For investors who have already reached retirement, Tuttle recommends low beta plays such as the iShares MSCI U.S. Minimum Volatility ETF (USMV) and the iShares Select Dividend ETF (DVY). "If I were retired, I would not go the bond route," he said. "We've been in a 30 year bull market for bonds, and that's not going to continue."

Managing Interest Rate Risk

It may be advantageous to take into account macro conditions when planning a retirement portfolio. "Investors should hold securities that will do well in a slow but forward-moving economy with increasing interest rates," said David Vomund, president of Vomund Investment Management.

The Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD) and the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG) are two of Vomund's top picks for investors who have multiple decades until retirement. "Their yields are attractive, especially in today's low rate environment, and they will increase the dividends, too," he said.

Vomund says investors with long time horizons should have the majority of their portfolios in equities, but the SPDR Barclays Short Term High Yield Bond ETF (SJNK) can be used to build out fixed income portions. "High yield bond funds typically move more in line with the economy compared to interest rates," he said. "SJNK's relatively short maturity duration of 3.5 years provides insulation against the negative effects of higher interest rates."

Vomund recommends adjusting allocations as retirement approaches. "A recent retiree should also hold high yielding equity ETFs, because they are a better value than most areas of the fixed income market," he said. "The equity holdings should be a smaller percentage of the portfolio, however."
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