Fee-only advisor can help look through multiple options to manage retirement money

Dear Liz: I need guidance on asset allocation in retirement.

I will retire in June at 65. I’m in good health, so I am planning for 30 more years of life, understanding that it could easily be fewer and might be more.

I have a robust government pension and a good chunk of retirement savings. Targeting a 4% withdrawal rate from retirement savings, my post-retirement income will be about the same as my current income, less current savings contributions.

The pension will make up about 75% of that income and the savings, about 25%. I could live on the pension alone if it came down to it. At age 70, I’ll get a bump of about 15% of that total income when I start taking Social Security, after accounting for the windfall elimination provision.

My analysis is that I essentially have 75% of my retirement assets allocated to very safe investments, i.e., my pension and future Social Security. I think I should allocate my 401(k) and 457(b) more aggressively than the usual guidance calls for. I’m considering selecting a 2050 or 2055 target date fund.

Am I looking at this correctly?

Answer: You do need guidance, and it should come from a fee-only, fiduciary financial planner hired to provide you with individualized advice. This is, after all, the first and probably only time you’ll retire, while a good advisor has guided many people through this process. The advisor will know the questions to ask and the traps to avoid far better than any novice could.

The advisor may concur that you can take more risk with your investments, given your substantial amount of guaranteed income. A lot will depend on your risk tolerance, of course, but the planner will consider other factors, such as your family situation and your plans for covering long-term care costs.

If you don’t have long-term care insurance, for example, you may want to stockpile more cash or identify assets you could sell to pay for care. If you’re married and your pension would end or diminish at your death, you may want to take less risk with your investments so they can better support your survivor.

There’s no substitute for having another set of expert eyes looking at your plan. So many retirement decisions are irreversible, and you’ll want to get this right.

More advice

Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is a personal finance columnist for NerdWallet. Questions may be sent to her at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or by using the “Contact” form at

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