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Greetings, Langfor, and welcome. You asked:

I am a 49 yr old female federal government employee.My husband is 14 yrs older than me. When he dies, his retirement ceases and I will get nothing.

I have worked for the federal government 13 years, and will have to work another 13 yrs before I will be eligible for retirement. My retirement plan consists of a Thrift Savings Plan, wherein I contribute 10% of my salary, and the government matches it with 5%. I currently invest 60% of that amount in Stocks & Bonds, and 40% in Government bonds. I can adjust the 60/40 ratio in November of each year.

With the current stock market changes, what % do you recommend I invest in stocks & bonds/government bonds?

Within Fooldom we believe the choice and mix of investments in stocks, bonds, and money market is up to the individual investor based on that person's confidence level, knowledge of investments, goals, years before the cash is needed again, and tolerance for the risks inherent in any investment. In short, the choice is up to you and you alone.

FWIW, statistics show that you will outlive your husband by around five years on average. Couple that with your age difference, and you're talking some 18 years. If his retirement benefits cease, that means you must provide for yourself that long. You have 13 years in which to increase the size of your retirement stash. In the investment world, that's a very long time, and that time argues in favor of a large proportion -- close to 100% -- being invested in stocks alone. That's because over long stretches of time stocks provide you a far better return than anything else. They do decline in the short term , though, as the past two weeks attest. That means you must be willing to stomach those downs and ride them out. History shows that stocks do recover and then proceed onward to new highs. That's why for periods of 10 years or more, they almost always make the best choice for long term goals like retirement. There's no guarantee, of course, but history is the best guide we have. If you understand that and can tolerate the inevitable bumps in the road, then for retirement accumulation stocks should be your vehicle of choice. If the bumps make you exceedingly uncomfortable, then you want less exposure. Regardless, you and you alone have to make the choice.

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