'Diversification is key' to a successful retirement, expert says

·2 min read

Saving for retirement hinges on an assortment of investments, according to one industry expert.

“Diversification is key,” when structuring a retirement portfolio, Kathleen Coulombe, vice president and deputy of federal relations at the American Council of Life Insurers, recently told Yahoo Finance Live. “We think about using an annuity as one of those tools in that toolbox."

Read more: Ask the expert: What is Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE)?

The golden years bring a new set of often costly considerations like health care. To that end, Coulombe’s shared that liquidity, possibly through an annuity, is one way to ensure assets are readily available for tapping if needed.

“Once you retire, you really have to look at that pool of money, and think about how that's going to last you maybe 30 or more years in retirement,” Coulombe said.

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To right-size your nest egg, she suggested setting aside a certain percentage of your retirement portfolio for an annuity, or exploring the option of a deferred annuity that can be paid into prior to retirement. 

Beyond that, Coulombe encouraged investors to utilize an employer-sponsored workplace 401(k) or 403(b) with the goals of “trying to max out that” and “trying to [contribute] as much as you possibly can.”

Read more: 3 key factors to consider when planning for retirement

Coulombe also suggested connecting with a financial professional “who could talk about your specific situation,” discuss engaging savings tools like Roth IRAs and 401(k)s, and estate-planning services to “will your investments to your heirs.”

Even without professional guidance, retirement planning is an incremental process built over decades, but critics say it shouldn't fall on the shoulders of individual investors alone and Americans would benefit from additional government intervention.

Coulombe encourages investors to utilize an employer-sponsored workplace 401(k) or 403(b) with the goals of “trying to max out that” and “trying to [contribute] as much as you possibly can.” (Photo: Getty)
Coulombe encourages investors to utilize an employer-sponsored workplace 401(k) or 403(b) with the goals of “trying to max out that” and “trying to [contribute] as much as you possibly can.” (Photo: Getty)

“Retirement security has been a bipartisan endeavor for quite a while now,” she said. “You see members reaching across the aisle to work together to move that retirement needle in the Senate.”

Two pending pieces of legislation could “really make a difference to retirement savers as they're trying to plan for their futures,” specifically for investors needed to play savings catch-up and people whose student loan debt prevents them from saving for retirement.

“It's an issue that we really can see some agreements, and we can see some forward momentum,” she said. “We expect hopefully committee action later this year.”

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Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.

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