Dear Dr. Don,
I think I need a little help from a financial adviser like you. I currently have a 401(k) with about $350,000 in it and a lump sum pension worth $768,000 currently invested in the Vanguard VBIRX bond fund. I am nervous about so much money in the bond fund and since this is my pension money, I want to invest in something safe and not so prone to market fluctuations.

I am considering opening two IRAs in banks investing in laddered CDs so I can have a guaranteed return, but I will also need to set up a 72(t) sometime later this year. I am 51 and was looking for insight on how best proceed and if you see any issues with my plan.
— Dean Dilemma

Dear Dean,
You’re investing too much money to have this be a do-it-yourself project — even with an assist from Dr. Don.

Do I think you should have all that money invested in one bond fund? No. Can I come up with an alternative without knowing a whole lot more about your goals, dreams, aspirations and risk tolerance? No.

I know it’s hard to find a trusted financial adviser. I appreciate that you wrote to me with your concerns, but you’re at a point where you need professional advice about financial planning that doesn’t come from an advice columnist.

A laddered CD (or bond) portfolio can make a lot of sense, but if you’re in your early 50s and making annuity and retirement decisions that have to carry you through the next 30 to 40 years, you want to do better at protecting the purchasing power of your investments than just buying certificates of deposit.

Find that trusted financial adviser. I recommend reading the Bankrate feature, “Financial planners: Not just for millionaires anymore.”

I also want you to find a fee-based financial planner to identify your retirement goals and how this money should be invested to let you reach those financial planning goals. Start out at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors Web site.

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