Financially Speaking: When Should You Stop Investing?
By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF®
Accredited Wealth Management Advisor®
Accredited Investment Fiduciary®
The vast majority of us need to save money to reach our longer-term goals. Retirement. Paying for college. Travel. Weddings. We tend to choose investments rather than savings accounts for these distant ambitions, rightfully so, since a variety of investment options have proven to outperform savings accounts over time.
I’ve always really liked the “bucket” approach to aligning goals with saving and investing. Visualize three buckets. You have a short-term bucket that you’ll put cash in to use within the next two years, a mid-term bucket for money that you’ll target to use within 2 – 10 years, and a long term bucket that you will fund for goals that are more than ten years out. Your investment objective for each bucket should align with the time frame of your goal. Stated another way, your appetite for reward needs to balance with your tolerance for risk given your time horizon and how close you are to reaching the dollar amount intended.
As time passes and your accounts build, some of your investments should be moved from your long or midterm bucket to your short term bucket. I had a client recently who reached his goal of saving $100,000 for college for his son, before his son needed it. We agreed that it was prudent to move the money out of investments and into cash. His goal had been met, therefore there was no reason to continue taking on any risk in investments.
I’ve had a couple of clients recently who have planned for early retirement, which is now a short-term goal on their time horizon. We’ve shifted some money to their short-term bucket, using investments that will have no fluctuation in principal and an income that is defined to precision within a penny. For the mid-term stages of retirement, we’ve kept money in the mid term bucket and for money that they intend to use ten-plus years down the road, kept suitable investments in their long-term bucket.
When should you stop investing? You can stop investing when you’ve reached your goals either in terms of dollars or in terms of time.
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss