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Planning Your Financial Future

By: William J. Lynott
Posted: February 24, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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So, what is the best asset allocation for you? Should you have 10% of your portfolio in stocks, or should it be 80% or 90%? What about the rest? Should you invest the balance in bonds and CDs, or should you stuff it under the mattress?

For an asset allocation calculator that will help with this decision, log on to www.forbes.com/tools/calculator/asset_alloc.jhtml.

Rebalance

Once you’ve decided on the best asset allocation for your circumstances, it’s important to make adjustments at least once a year. As the prices of stocks in your portfolio fluctuate, the allocation ratio that you have established will change. If the total value of your stocks has risen, you may want to sell off some of them to restore your original ratios. If their value has dropped, shift more cash into equities to restore your formula. If your investment portfolio is largely within an IRA, 401(k) or other retirement plan, consider rebalancing it at least twice a year.

Maximize

If at all possible, maximize your annual contribution to your 401(k) or other tax-deferred retirement account. Whether you’re self-employed or an employee, contributing the maximum allowable amount to your retirement accounts is an important step in setting yourself up for a comfortable and secure retirement.

At this writing, the maximum allowable contributions for 2010 have not been released. However, there are rumors that they may be slightly reduced from those of 2009. Should that happen, it will be the first time that contribution limits have been lowered.

Stick with your plan