Wednesday, July 17

Manage your 401k of rising prices

Manage your 401k of rising prices
| By Andrea Coombes, Wall Street Journal

Bound to rise while interest rates are, no one knows when. And it could well be a year or longer, before the Fed takes a step. These 7 steps to be ready.

It's time for 401k savers, leaving bond mutual funds?

Many investors 'Sale' button on bonds in the June-but if you go into retirement, think through your options before you follow the crowd.

The specter of rising interest rates scared investors in pulling an estimated $60.5 billion from bond funds last month-almost 47% jump from the $41.3 billion withdrawn in October 2008 during the worst of the financial-according to preliminary data from the investment company Institute, a investment-fund trade group and researchers.

Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds in early may, jumped as high as 2.6% from 1.6% in June partly thanks to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hints about the end of the central bank bond-buying program, interest rates to record lows has driven in recent years. (Bond prices move inversely on income.)

Some of the largest pension fund in the universe of 401 (k) was hit. PIMCO'sTotal return fund (PTTAX) 1 plunged more than 5% from May to July (by more than 3% this year is up today). This Fund holds a whopping $79.9 billion value of 401k assets after December 2011 data, more recent available, BrightScope researcher.

Another great 401k Player Vanguard's total bond market index fund (VBMFX), declined by about 4% in May and June and is more than 2% this year. It is enough, to your average 401 (k) investor in cold sweat break out.

Here, the first rule is: don't panic. Is usually for people, the investment for the Langstrecke-and your retirement could be 30 years-the best advice last select an appropriate asset allocation strategy, invest regularly to compensate for low-cost mutual funds and stick with your plan to prevent the all too common mistakes high purchase and sale of low.

Still, following this prudent strategy doesn't mean that you should ignore broad trends. Prices have been extraordinary low levels since the crisis of 2008. You have really nowhere but up to go force down bond values.

With individual bond investors can tell them to get their capital to the maturity date. But the most 401k-participants will have access to investment fund bonds. When investors for the exits to escape, managers can forced bonds before maturity, for sale the repayments to honor.

Still, not despite of the current tariff prospects, it makes sense to bonds completely leave experts say. One reason: while interest rates rise are bound, no one knows when. And it could well be a year or longer, before the Fed takes a step.

"You are in the main timing the bond market, as people try to the stock market, you have time and the same risk: you could be wrong," says Thomas Batterman, principal at financial trustee in Wausau, Wisconsin, United States

And don't forget why you own bonds: they offer a ballast against stock rotations. "Although a component could come under pressure, it's the other part of the portfolio, you hope as a buffer. The beauty of a balanced portfolio is,"says Catherine Gordon, a principal in the investment strategy group at Vanguard Group.

In other words, here are steps that might consider 401k investors as they break the bond market eye:

In General, bonds that interest rates rise suffer long dated.

A good approximation of the risk is that for every percentage point dropping increase in interest rates, the value of your pension fund as much as its entire duration ("Duration", is roughly speaking, the average maturity of the Bond Fund's holdings).

If a fund lasts five years and income increase two percentage points, the value of the Fund by about 10% will decrease.

"So many, for so many people the formula 60% stocks, 40% bonds, for years", says Bill Harris, Chief Executive of personal capital, a wealth-management online-company in Redwood City, ca "probably not appropriate today."

"It is a very dangerous time to be strong in long-term bonds," he adds. "We do not believe it free of long-term bonds and we should not think surely you should be free from bonds, but shorter maturities, low exposure to bonds than would traditionally be the case."

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