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The One Thing You Shouldn't Do When Investing for Retirement

Get acquainted with dog food retirement equities.

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—While a new study disclosed that women's most important financial concern is saving for retirement, investors pulled almost $1.2 billion from U.S. equity exchange-traded funds since Friday August 9, according to Bloomgberg data.

The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Women's Financial Survey found that 45% of women use 401(k)s, nearly 39% use pension plans and 40% own multiple retirement plans.

"The fact that women are thinking about retirement planning is a good sign that the message is getting out there that time is one of the most important aspects of retirement savings, and the sooner they start the better," said CUNA Executive Vice President Paul Gentile.

The survey also revealed that 51.2% of women were not confident in their financial ability despite the fact that 38% of the married female respondents manage their household finances exclusively and 46% co-manage their household finances.

"It's surprising that although most women manage their household finances, they lack confidence that they are doing it correctly," said Gentile. Most women reported balancing their checkbooks, maintaining six-month rainy day funds, paying their credit card balances in full every month and prioritizing long-term goals like retirement, home ownership and education ahead of transactional goals such as vacations and cars.

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But if they aren't investing in the stock market, multi-millionaire investor Vince Stanzione says Americans, including women, are missing out on potential returns.

"If you're 50 or older, now is not the time to get conservative," he says. "Medical advances and healthy lifestyle choices are helping people to live longer but many financial planners and investment firms are not factoring this reality into their models. Coasting into one's golden years without enough money is a setup for disaster."

Rather than rely upon traditional savings accounts, CDs or bonds to create a safe investment portfolio, Stanzione encourages rotation back into stocks especially for those looking to retire in 10 or 15 years.

Stanzione suggests the following strategies for maximizing one's investment returns:

  • Avoid needless fees and costs as much as possible. Discount brokers and low-cost Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are a wise choice.
  • Spend an hour or two a week doing research on simple, effective strategies.
  • Maximize whatever tax benefits are available to you. For example, IRAs. Likewise, liquidate or move investment income in the most tax-efficient way possible.
  • Refrain from analyzing stock returns more than once a week. Take a long term view of your investments.
  • Know your risk tolerance and adopt a disciplined trading strategy with clear parameters.
  • Living longer doesn't necessarily mean running out of money or subsisting on as little as possible. Smart, disciplined investing, with an emphasis on the US stock market, can provide capital to fund an ideal and virtually unlimited retirement.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet