As people age, their priorities change, and so should their investment strategy. Here are some key points to consider when rebalancing your investment portfolio at different points in your life:

Age 25-35: You’ve graduated from college, landed your first real job, and maybe gotten married. Your goals might be paying off debt, saving for a down payment on a first home, establishing a college fund for your children, and/or putting away funds for retirement.

A good investment goal for this stage of life may be to put approximately 10 percent of your income toward retirement, and to potentially increase the amount you save whenever you receive a raise. You should take advantage of an employer-sponsored 401(k), or start an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Even if you only put a small amount of money into these accounts, you’ll get in the habit of saving and may potentially benefit from compounded interest.

Age 35-55: These are peak earning years, when saving for your children’s college education becomes a higher priority, you may want to buy a bigger house, and/or you should ramp up retirement savings. At the same time, you’re likely earning more, and may benefit from bonuses or inheritance that can bolster the size of your investments.

During this timeframe you should be saving 10 to 20 percent of your income for retirement – increasing the amount steadily over the years. It’s also a good time to begin investing outside of your employer's plan. Consider diversifying your investment portfolio by introducing income investments, such as bond or stock and bond funds. Finally, consider implementing a dollar cost averaging strategy to minimize your investment risk.

Age 55-retirement: When you’re less than 10 years away from retiring, protecting your assets becomes more important than continuing to pursue growth. During this time you may want to gradually shift more of your assets into fixed-income securities to achieve a better balance between growth and income. Income mutual funds, bond funds, and annuities can all play important roles in balancing your portfolio for retirement.

After retirement: Study the options you have for taking money from your retirement accounts and the impact they will have on your taxes. Then, review your combined potential income after retirement and reallocate your investments to provide the income you need and some growth in capital to help beat inflation and help fund your later years.

By thinking strategically about your investments during each stage of your life, you can help prepare yourself for all of life’s major milestones.

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