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How to Diversify Investments in your 401K plan

Apr 1, 2008
You have signed up for your employer's 401K plan and are very proud of yourself because you are not only getting tax benefits, but your employer matches a portion of your investment (can you say free money?). Congratulations to you. You have taken the first step to becoming an investor and building your portfolio for a wealthier life.

But - if you are like the majority of Americans, you take a look at the selection of investment choices and all of a sudden, you are lost! Here are a few tips on how to best diversify investments in your company-sponsored 401K plan, even if you are a complete newbie to the investment scene.

Check out employee stock.

Some companies match their employee's contribution by giving out their own stock. Other companies may give stock options. If you are somebody who is already somehow investing in company stock, it may not be a good idea to purchase additional company stock through your 401K plan.

One of the main goals of a 401K plan is to provide financial stability for you in the future, which means having a well-proportioned investment strategy. Make sure your company stock does not overwhelm your portfolio.

Risk assessment

Many financial companies have risk tolerance quizzes and assessment tools and these may be extremely helpful to help you understand just how much risk you are willing to take on.

A good rule of thumb is that if you are younger, you can generally carry more risk because you have the time to wait out any market. If you are approaching retirement, you may wish for a more conservative blend of assets.

Check out the information related to how the investment is rated. Words like an aggressive growth mean a higher risk, but also a chance for higher returns; while words like stable or income usually indicate a more conservative investment.

Mix and Match

Do not be afraid to mix and match. Look at your investment choices and start to blend. Mix and match stock and bond investments. Blend large-cap and small-cap funds. Blend industries or foreign/domestic choices.

The goal of an investment portfolio is to become diversified, so review your choices and use the information given to you to create a great mix and match end result. Be proud of yourself for taking that first step. These tips should help you diversify investments in your 401k plan.
About the Author
Caterina Christakos is an experienced investor and instructor. To learn about how to diversify your portfolio with high yield investments go to:http://www.highyieldinvestmentreview.com/
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