Don’t procrastinate, allocate: Getting your assets in the right place.

This is the 2nd in a series of three posts about Women & Retirement. Read the first post.

The investment pie’s baked—time to slice it up.

OK, so you know how much to save for your retirement and you’ve begun setting the plan in motion. What’s next? A little something investors like to call asset allocation.

Asset allocation’s just a fancy term for knowing how to divvy up your money as you’re investing it. Depending on your age and your comfort level with risk, you can decide how to mix up the investment pie among ingredients like stocks, bonds, CDs and cold hard cash.

Grab (then diversify) your piece of the pie.

Not sure what types of investments fit you best? Online allocation tools can help you get a better feel for your comfort level with different types of investments based on your time horizon and financial goals. Whatever you’re saving up for, it’s crucial that you know your level of acceptable risk and reward, and how much money you’ll need to contribute.

Then, determine the investments and savings vehicles that best align with your preferred level of risk and reward.

For instance, if your retirement’s still a long way off (generally, 10 or more years) and you can stomach the ups and downs of the market, you might be better suited with a larger percentage in equities like stocks or stock funds. Conversely, if you’re getting closer to retirement and want to avoid market swings, then a more conservative mix of investments might make more sense. (Note: Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against market losses.)

If you’re already at the retirement doorstep and doing relatively well, let us be the first to congratulate you on money well saved and a job well done. Still, don’t forget to review your portfolio and minimize your risk—most likely, you’ll want to tilt your portfolio heavily toward bonds and CDs.

Don’t procrastinate, allocate.

Totally lost? Check out our Retire MyWay, an easy planning tool that will help you with things like defining your retirement, exploring different scenarios and tradeoffs, getting a personalized plan and figuring out the best way to allocate your assets. It may sound daunting, but you’ll feel better about things after doing some research and crunching a few numbers.

In the end, your approach to investing is a personal choice—but an important one. Consider this a beginning, especially if you’ve been avoiding looking in the mirror at the big “R”. Set a goal, assess your level of risk, do your homework and don’t take anyone’s word for it. Only you know how to invest your money in the most comfortable, confident way possible.

We want to hear some of your own recipes about all things investments, asset allocations and the like. Do share, ladies. And good luck.

Next: Pulling back the curtain on the Rebalancing Act

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