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Playing Nest-Egg Defense

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William Bengen is known for his research that concluded that retirees should be able to safely withdraw 4% of their nest eggs each year without running out of cash for 30 years. Bengen still believes his approach works, but he explains that retirees, in particular, can’t be exposed too heavily to stocks—if at all—in the current brutal market. He moved his clients’ money to ultra-safe investments before stocks plunged in October, but he expects great stock market bargains to eventually materialize.

How he suggests protecting your money until market volatility subsides…

US Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). While the markets are currently worried about deflation, Bengen believes rising inflation could be around the corner. As an inflation hedge, he recommends buying TIPS through dollar cost averaging. You can purchase individual TIPS through the US Treasury or you can invest in mutual funds such as the Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund (VIPSX). Annualized returns for the five years through December 18: 4.4%.

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and iShares COMEX Gold Trust (IAU). Gold is another inflation hedge. Bengen believes investing in gold mining stocks would be too volatile so he’s chosen to invest directly in bullion through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) such as these. GLD recent share price: $80.65IAU recent share price: $80.74.

Vanguard Treasury Money Market (VMPXX). Since turbulence has struck even money-market funds, Bengen recommends that people stick with the safest ones—those that invest in US Treasury bills, such as this Vanguard fund—despite low yields currently. Recent seven-day yield: 0.9%.

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Source:
Source: William P. Bengen, CFP, an investment adviser in El Cajon, California, who is a member of the editorial review board of the Journal of Financial Planning and author of Conserving Client Portfolios During Retirement, www.billbengen.com.
Date: January 7, 2009 Publication: Bottom Line Personal
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