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Changing retirement strategy after financial downturn

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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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