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Changing retirement strategy after financial downturn


Dan K., age 58
Bernville, PA
In transition
Married, three children
"It's better to preserve what you have than lose it trying to make more."

Dan's Tips

  • Have a plan to buy or sell stocks at certain prices; use email alerts to keep up-to-date.
  • Learn from experience; know your risk tolerance and adjust accordingly.
  • Convert more equity investments to cash to hold on to what you have.


  • After big losses in 2001 stock market and losing his job in the recent downturn, Dan put off retirement.
  • Now his investments are more conservative.

Looking for a job when he thought he'd retire, Dan wants to work five more years before he taps retirement income.

"I lost my job as a maintenance professional in March. My wife, who was working part-time, got a full-time job, and she likes it. I would like to find another job, work five more years, get vested and have another pension kick in when I'm 65 (I already have two pensions). I considered taking a job in North Carolina since that is a good place to retire. But I'd lose money if I sold my house now. I am hoping something local turns up."

An expensive lesson.

"Eight years ago, my goal was to retire early. I made a lot of money in the tech boom, then lost much of it in 2001. It was an expensive lesson. This time around, I got out of the stock market in October 2007. Now, 85% of my 401(k) is in cash, which has helped my portfolio keep its value through the downturn. I still have some money in stocks; I have Schwab send me alerts when the market hits different points, so I can buy or sell quickly."

Take the Next Step.

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