Retirement funds come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small. Some are large. And on the inside, you will find a diverse grouping of investment types.

Your investment portfolio should also include a diverse grouping of investment amounts and types to create diversity, minimize risk, and offer income to last throughout your retirement. These are some of the types of investments you might wish to include in your retirement fund.

Employer Sponsored Retirement Accounts

While some people are fortunate enough to work with organizations that offer pensions, most people do not. Even among those that do have pensions, many employers offer the option of 401(k) plans to their employees. If you have big goals for your retirement, it’s important to take advantage of both.

Beyond pensions, most modern employers offer some sort of employer-sponsored plans to help fund employee retirements. Depending on the type of organization that employs you, it will be either a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan. This will likely be one of your primary sources of retirement income. It is definitely worth investing in, especially if your company offers matching contributions. That’s free money for your retirement!


This is where things get tricky for the average investor. The reason is that there are several different types of IRAs and specific rules about how you can invest in these individual retirement accounts. The one rule that is consistent for all IRAs is that you must have earned income to contribute to them.

Traditional IRAs allow you to invest in mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, etc. and may cost less than doing so with your employer-sponsored plan. It’s a great way to supplement your existing retirement plans as long as you stay within the current contribution limits.

Roth IRAs provide greater freedom and are not subject to taxes in retirement (a benefit currently not available with traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement accounts.

IRAs allow increases in maximum contributions for people over the age of 50 to help catch up on retirement goals.

Other IRAs to consider include:

  • SEP IRAs (simplified employee pension IRAs)
  • Stretch IRAs
  • Spousal IRAs
  • Simple IRAs
  • Self-directed IRAs

Each IRA type has its own set of rules and may or may not be the right choice for your situation. Working with a trusted advisor can help you navigate the differences to choose the best one for you.

Real Estate

Once upon a time, real estate was a titan for retirement investments. With savvy investments today, you can generate a wealth of retirement cash flow and a legacy you can leave to your children or favorite charitable causes. While some feel there is more risk involved in real estate investing today, it remains a viable option for generating positive cash flow throughout your retirement.

The sooner you begin investing in real estate, the longer you can reap the rewards of this type of investment. But, real estate is not the only tool you can use to generate income to sustain your retirement. The learning curve associated with real estate as a retirement investment can be steep and, like all investments, there is risk involved in this type of investment. Make sure it isn’t the only resource in your retirement investment portfolio to help insulate your risks.


Some people consider annuities to be more like an insurance product than an investment, because you can purchase riders that guarantee specific minimum income for the lifetime of the annuity. While many people are living longer lives than ever before, it is a wise idea to consider investing in multiple annuities as part of your retirement planning efforts. Generating income is one of the primary reasons to consider investing in annuities and something the average person needs going into retirement.

When you’re planning for your retirement, balance is one of the most important things you can bring to the table. You want to make sure the different types of investments you use to generate your retirement income are balanced. That means you want diversity and stability in your portfolio as you approach retirement age, plus you want to take advantage of opportunities to supplement your retirement investments or “catch up” that are available after the age of 50.

However, if you are younger than 30 when you begin investing for retirement, you have a little more time to recover from mistakes made with riskier investments or opportunities to reap the rewards of investments that offer higher returns along with those higher risks Again. It’s all about balance and the level or risk you’re comfortable with accepting in your retirement investing.


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