13 smart retirement moves in 2009

4. Retirement savings or rainy-day fund? 
The short answer, when it comes to saving, is to contribute to both. You save for retirement because no one else is going to do it for you. And you start your emergency fund for the same reason.

"Even if you're saving for retirement, keep putting some away each month into an FDIC-insured account for a rainy day," Gianola says.

5. Rebalance your portfolio 
With many stock-based investments shrinking in value, it's easier than ever to slide out of your target asset allocations. So the portfolio that started out with 80 percent stocks and 20 percent bonds could be closer to 70/30 or 60/40, depending on when you last revised your holdings.

"If you haven't rebalanced your portfolio in a while, this is a great time to do it," Bogosian says.

With rebalancing, you buy and sell enough assets to bring the portfolio back to your ideal goal. Because you're buying and selling, this step is not without costs. But it's part of smart money management if you want that portfolio to thrive.

How often do you rebalance? The advice varies, but many money pros recommend doing this at least once a year, or when your assets get beyond a pre-selected percentage of your target asset allocation.

6. Take control of your retirement money 
If 401(k) contributors never specified an investment strategy when they enrolled, employers may have automatically slotted them in default plans tied to a presumed retirement date, Bogosian says. While the economic climate is changing, those investments are on auto-pilot.

"Seeing huge negatives on your statements? You're probably in a very aggressive portfolio," he says.


Either come up with your own, more diversified, strategy or select one that's less aggressive, Bogosian says. You don't have to start from scratch. Just set it up so that future contributions are allocated using your new strategy, he says.

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