Expert: Higher interest rates are like a 'flu shot' for your retirement portfolio

Rising interest rates and their impact on retirement portfolios is tantamount to the pain of receiving a routine vaccination, according to one financial expert.

“As interest rates rise…kind of like a flu shot, there’s going to be some short-term pain, but you’re overall healthier,” Wealthstream Advisors financial advisor Katharine George recently shared with Yahoo Finance Live.

George stressed that rising interest rates aren’t to be feared, especially for savers who have a mix of stocks and bonds in a retirement portfolio.

“Interest rates rising is actually going to be a good and healthy thing for bonds over time,” she said. “Bonds are really the protection of the portfolio and stocks are the only thing to give you that growth.”


For savers in their 50s and approaching retirement, George said the strategy is all about “how to protect yourself” because “any portfolio is going to have a bumpy ride” when the time comes to withdraw. That’s why George advocates for having cash above all else.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty) (skynesher via Getty Images)

“Making sure that you have enough cash on hand will be the saving grace,” she said. “If the market tumbles and you're in a bind, if you lose your job, or you need to retire early, that cash will really come in handy.”

As for savers in their 30s or 40s, George said their cash reserves should be determined by any costly upcoming financial expenses like home or car. She suggested having six months' worth of cash, which includes living expenses like rent or mortgage and daily necessities.

Stockholders planning to cash out in retirement should plan with certain considerations in mind like lifestyle, relocation, or the transfer of wealth to organizations or loved ones, along with the capital appreciation of those stocks.

“Life changes and I think being prepared for all these changes is key,” she said.

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Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.

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