What do you do if your portfolio isn’t generating a decent return?

Do you wish you had more money these days? You aren’t alone. Many retirees find that their income streams are insufficient.

Right now, interest rates are at rock bottom – and it appears they will stay there for the near future. With the federal funds rate near 0%, some of the classic conservative retirement investments – such as money market funds and CDs – aren’t even earning returns to keep up with 2%-3% inflation.1,2

Today, a little adjustment to your portfolio might lead to a better yield.

Growth investing is important even when you are retired. It makes sense to be conservative with your hard-earned retirement money. The dilemma is that you can be too conservative when investing it.

Some retirees adopt an extremely risk-averse investment approach. A trade-off comes with that decision: if your goal is to minimize risk, you may also risk minimizing your portfolio returns. If you owned a longer-term CD when the recession began in December 2007, the income from that CD has dropped by two-thirds since then.1

The goal is to find the middle ground – a level of risk that you can comfortably assume in pursuit of a return that translates to a better income stream.

While some retirees would like to bail out of equity investing, that may pose a risk in itself. As stocks and funds may return 10-15% (or better) in a good year, it is pretty hard to walk away from their potential. If you want improved cash flow, fixed-rate investments may not have the ability to provide it.

This is why you don’t want to abandon growth investing – the kind of investing with a foot in the equities markets, the kind you used to build your retirement savings. Many people in their 50s, 60s and even 70s are still in the accumulation phase – they still need to build up their retirement fund even as they need to withdraw income from it.

Remember the “Rule of 72”. You may have heard of this financial rule of thumb, often used to project inflation. At 4% inflation, the cost of living will double in 18 years, at 8% inflation it will double in 9 years, and so forth – whatever multiplies to 72. Inflation is about 3% right now, but there’s no guarantee it will stay there for the balance of your retirement. It wasn’t so long ago when consumer prices would rise by 5%, 8%, even 12% or 15% a year.

Your retirement income has to keep pace with this inflationary advance. If it doesn’t, you will be left with less and less purchasing power as the years proceed.

Imagine trying to live today on the amount of income you earned 15 or 20 years ago. Wouldn’t that be depressing? Wouldn’t your lifestyle suffer? Well, that is the outcome you risk having if your retirement income doesn’t increase with the times.

Factor in medical costs and life’s little emergencies, and the message is clear – you need more income for the future, not the same or less.

Where might a conservative investor find a better yield? The classic bearish move is to shift money from stocks into bonds, but bonds aren’t providing great yields today and their value will fall when interest rates eventually start to rise. There are other yield sources that may be worth a look. Dividend stocks stood out during the recession, as investors turned to them for cash flow. Commonly, they are issued by established corporations in essential industries.

You can invest in many of these asset classes not only via stocks but via managed asset class funds.  Asset class funds are nice, as they don’t cost an arm and a leg to enter. They are tax-efficient, and they offer great liquidity and flexibility.

Ask an investor coach who has helped other retirees assess and revise their portfolios, with the goal of rebuilding and/or growing their incomes and savings.  Call me or email me today with your questions. What you learn might make you feel better about your financial future.

1 – www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-201203141400–tms–retiresmctnrs-a20120314mar14,0,1100086.story [3/14/12]
2 – www.forbes.com/sites/investor/2012/03/13/what-to-do-about-low-interest-rates/ [3/5/12]

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is not a solicitation or a recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., for Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc.  an independent fee only Registered Investment Advisor firm in Utah.  Mark Lund is the author of The Effective Investor.