Investing is a bit like cooking. The same basic ingredients can be combined in different ways to create a meal. It’s the combination that’s important. Investors use this principle when they combine the three different investment types— stocks, bonds, and short-term investments.
Combining investments in this way is one of the most important things an investor can do. In fact, some studies suggest that up to 91.5% of the ups and downs in your investment mix are a function of the way you spread your money across the asset classes.1 That means how you divide your money among stocks, bonds, and short-term investments could be more important than the specific funds you choose.
Of course, investing in this way won’t ensure a profit, and it can’t guarantee that you won’t lose money. But it could help you get ready for tomorrow while sleeping more soundly tonight.
So how do you decide which combination is right for you? It’s all about finding a mix that matches your time horizon, investment goals, and risk tolerance.
Stocks, bonds, and short-term investments each behave in different ways. Each reacts to changing market conditions differently, too. Because of these differences, each plays a unique role in your investment mix.
Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a delegator, the UC Retirement Savings Program (RSP) fund menu gives you options to build a diversified investment mix. You can combine funds as needed to create a mix that matches your needs. Learn more about investing and the UC fund menu by attending one of UC's financial education classes. View the schedule.
If you don’t have the time, interest, and skills to craft your own mix of investments, you may want to consider investing in one of the UC Pathway Funds.2 Each Pathway Fund is a professionally managed, diversified mix of stocks, bonds, and short-term investments—all in one fund.
Just pick the fund with the date closest to the year you expect to retire or use the money in your account—that’s the fund’s target date. The fund will automatically adjust from higher risk to lower risk investments as it approaches its target date and moves beyond.
The result: You only have one fund to monitor.
If you have the time, interest, and skills to craft your own mix of investments, you may want to create your mix from UC’s high-quality, lower fee core funds.
You’ll find a wide range of stock and bond funds, plus a short-term fund, all simply named so you can easily understand the differences. Remember, you can combine the asset classes in different ways based on when you plan to retire and how much risk you want to take.
If you want more flexibility and like researching, managing, and monitoring your investments, explore a self-directed brokerage account, too.
Explore the investments available by reading the fund profiles on the Investment Performance and Research page on NetBenefits. Then allocate your savings according to the percentages you want on NetBenefits. Keep in mind that as your timeline to retirement changes, so should your mix.
Call a Retirement Planner if you have questions or want help building your investment mix. Call 1-800-558-9182 or book a consultation.
1Source: “Determinants of Portfolio Performance,” Brinson, Hood and Beebower, Financial Analysts Journal, July- August 1986, and “Determinants of Performance II: An Update,” Brinson, Singer and Beebower, Financial Analysts Journal, May-June 1991. This represents a landmark study that has not been refuted and which stands today as a valid, widely accepted theory.
2The funds' portfolios' asset allocation changes. The funds' portfolios are subject to the volatility of the financial markets, including that of equity and fixed income investments in the U.S. and abroad, and may be subject to risks associated with investing in high-yield, small-cap, and foreign securities. Principal invested is not guaranteed at any time, including at or after the funds' portfolios' target dates. The University of California intends to continue the benefits described here indefinitely; however, the benefits of all employees, retirees, and plan beneficiaries are subject to change or termination at the time of contract renewal or at any other time by the University or other governing authorities. If you belong to an exclusively represented bargaining unit, some of your benefits may differ from the ones described here.
Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money.
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