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Author: shiningr Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75402  
Subject: Parents' Retirement Planning Date: 2/9/2004 6:47 PM
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I am a 22 year old just finishing up college and my parents (knowing that I have been doing a lot of investment reading in the last year) approached me about helping them allocate retirement investments. My basic struggle is that I have only been researching investment strategies for myself and am therefore 100% in equities. I think for their age they need to seek some preservation of capital. Here is their basic situation...

My mother is 48 and my father is 52 and it is probably safe to say that they are 12-15 years from retirement. They are excellent savers but uninformed investors. They each have 401K's that they have been contributing to for many years and they just opened Roth IRA's a few years ago. The IRA's were with a local credit union which only have one investment option- a very low fixed interest rate. I immediately helped them set up an IRA with Ameritrade and had all of their IRA assets trasferred. I suggested 50% equities and 50% in something more secure, so I put 50% in VFINX and the rest is still sitting in the money market. I'm thinking the rest should go into some sort of bond fund, but I don't even know where to begin with that and I'm having difficulties finding information on the Fool. Did I make a good choice with 50% in VFINX and are there any suggestions on what to do with the other half?

In addition, due to an aquisition of my mother's employer she is being forced to reallocate her 401K. I sifted through her new investment options and was unimpressed with the exception of a low cost S&P 500 index fund. Her employer matches up to 6% and she has been contributing far beyond that. I suggested that she contribute only 6% (100% in the S&P index), max out her IRA, then put any additional savings into a general trading account. I figure that if her 401K is too risky with 100% equities, she can balance her Roth IRA such that she's 50/50 overall.

Finally, they have a significant amount of money sitting in a low interest savings account that they don't plan on using anytime in the near future. I was thinking of opening a general trading account and using a similar allocation as mentioned above. Is this a good idea or should I suggest that they put it elsewhere?

Keep in mind that they are not the type that are going to spend a lot of time tracking their investments. I plan to help them review their positions from time to time, maybe on a yearly basis. Other than that it would be good if it was hands off. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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