Retirement fund strategies as markets roil

The Ticker

October 21, 1998|By Julius Westheimer

DO IT NOW: Here is practical advice from a new book, "Nine Steps to Financial Freedom," by Suze Orman. "If you're covered at work by a 401(k) or 403(b), get to your human resources offices right away and 'up' your contribution to the maximum.

If you haven't signed up for your retirement plan, do it now. This is a gift from Uncle Sam."

SOUND ADVICE: An investment adviser sends this strategy for 401(k) and 403(b) plans:

"If you think the market will be volatile short-term, but OK long-term, move stock funds into money funds, then 'dollar-cost average' by putting 5 to 10 percent a month back into stocks. If you worry about the market long term, move your stock money to fixed-income funds, but flow some new contributions into stocks. If stocks move lower, buy more."

CASHING OUT: Want to know when to say goodbye to your mutual fund? Working Woman, November, says, "Cash out when your fund can't keep up with its peers' performance; when the fund's investment style changes; when the manager leaves and when you're losing sleep."

HOW TO INVEST: Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, November, lists these suggestions under "How to Invest Your Money Now":

"Before investing, figure your risks. Even if you're frightened, don't bail out of stocks entirely. If you sell stocks, keep tax consequences in mind. Dollar-cost average by investing a fixed amount of money regularly. Do some 'bottom fishing' in a weak market."

VARYING VIEWS: "The P/E ratio of the S&P 500 is near a historically high 27. Discretion is the better part of valor when you pay near-record amounts for suspect earnings." (RTE Asset Update, in this week's Barron's)

"We're far from a bearish market sentiment now. We're still in the area where investors search for stocks which look 'cheap' and which issues to buy, buy, buy."

( Richard Russell's Letters)

Pub Date: 10/21/98

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