It's time for those approaching retirement to take a financial audit after a year of huge returns and amid a shakier September, according to one expert.
"In our view, the market has captured about five to six years of returns in one year," Bowersock Capital Advisors founding partner Emily Hill recently told Yahoo Finance Live. "While we were not necessarily expecting a serious correction, we need to be modest about our expectations for returns, especially U.S. stocks in the future.”
Hill is telling her clients to take profits and "rigorously" rebalance portfolios, noting that her clients carry a dose of skepticism about today’s market appreciation and returns, and “they're sort of astounded that the market has continued to rise.”
Another key area for savers to focus on: “Making sure you have enough of a cash cushion," she added.
No matter how you’ve saved for retirement — either through a 401(k) or a less common pension — Hill recommended having the cash equivalent of two to three years of living expenses so you’ll be in a “position to ride out” a recession or market drop.
Hill noted that more Americans must rely on 401(k)s — rather than pensions which have become more rare — when planning for retirement.
401(k)s "allow for a lot of growth, but you can't be certain that at age 65 you're going to have X number of dollars of an income stream coming in," Hill said.
As a result, she encourages clients to “come up with a pension alternative” and suggests options to diversify cash flow like real estate investments and annuities. Fixed income, though, is a no-no.
"It used to be that you could provide that relative predictable cash flow by using fixed income ... but interest rates have plunged to such an extent that ... you're going to get a negative real return in bonds over five years," she said. "You cannot rely on that income stream."