Monday, March 30, 2009

Dialing BACK on Equity Exposure?

I have to comment on this article, found on CNN's Personal Finance site.

The article talks about a "young" couple (38 and 41) that have recently married and are looking for guidance as to what to do with their portfolios. They have a goal of purchasing a new home together in 3 years and make a combined salary of $170,000 per year. So what's my complaint?

The financial planner in the article recommends that they reduce their equity exposure from 80% to 70% of their total portfolio.

WHY? Now if you were planning on doing this a year ago, that would have been a smart choice. However, what you're encouraging now is counter-productive. In essence, they'll need to sell at the bottom of the market cycle to reduce their exposure to equities. If they should be doing anything right, they should keep their exposure at the level they are at or even INCREASE their exposure. Why do I say this?

Equities are at relatively cheap levels. If you've stayed in this far, the WORST thing you can do is to sell. At $170,000/yr, with no kids, they should still be able to reach their goal of $50,000 for a down payment in 3 years time by investing their savings in an online savings account, such as ING Direct.

Disagree? Let me know.

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