10/5/2010 4:50 PM ET|
Top 10 investments for baby boomers
A diverse collection of safe, income-producing strategies can help you get the most out of your nest egg, and increase the likelihood of a comfortable retirement.
As a cohort with more concentrated spending power than any other, baby boomers can't help but significantly impact the economy and the investment landscape.
If you are approaching retirement age, the choices you make will affect your finances for 20 years or more, as the average life expectancy for baby boomers is 83 years and climbing.
Here are 10 investments -- some specific types of securities or other assets, others account vehicles -- you should consider:
Any consideration of high-quality retirement investments could start and end here. Treasurys are the ultimate in safe, reliable investing. Their yields are often considered the benchmark of safety.
The U.S. government has never defaulted on a Treasury bond, making them a beacon for investors all over the world. However you acquire them -- via mutual funds, exchange-traded funds or the purchase of individual bonds --Treasurys should have a prominent weighting in your investment portfolio. For the majority of investors over 60, capital preservation is more important than capital appreciation. Treasurys preserve what you've got while providing a steady stream of income.
Certificates of deposit
Certificates of deposit often carry a higher yield than Treasurys with comparable maturities. With CDs, you have the feel-good factor of giving your money to a bank, and your savings are insured (up to $250,000 per bank) by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) allows savers to deposit more than the FDIC limit at participating banks. Other banks in the network will effectively insure portions of your investment by creating CDs for you at their banks. All of your money stays in one place (and so does your personal information) while you get FDIC insurance on the entire deposit. And at tax time, there's just one 1099 tax form to file.
If you wish to hold several individual CDs, consider using a laddering strategy, with which you spread maturity dates evenly over three to five years. This way, you don't have all your money committed at one interest rate, and you can capitalize when higher rates become available.
Unit investment trusts
Unit investment trusts often come with little fanfare, and you won't see them advertised as heavily as mutual funds or other investment products. The reason is that they're generally not as profitable for the people creating and managing them. And that's great news for investors in the know.
UITs can hold either stocks or bonds. Most trusts focus on either capital appreciation or generation of a consistent income stream. The key difference between mutual funds and UITs is that a trust's portfolio is established once, and remains fixed for the life of the investment. No changes are made to the portfolio after the initial public offering.
With debt UITs, investors receive a pro-rata cash payout when the maturing bond is redeemed.
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