NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) -
You're almost there, so close you can feel the gold watch in your hand. Don't make any sudden moves with your portfolio, but tweak a little here and there.
Goal: Keep the ball rolling
By the time you hit your late fifties and early sixties, you're likely to have accumulated a sizable stash. Still, your portfolio needs to keep growing before you can be confident of a comfortable retirement. This is also the time to re-assess your situation to see whether you really can afford to retire at the age you've planned or whether you should work a few years longer.
Challenge: Protect your assets
As your portfolio gains mass, it's going to be harder for you to bounce back from market setbacks. A 20 percent shrinkage in your nest egg seven years before your planned retirement, for example, could keep you in the work force an extra three years.
Strategy: Cut back on stocks
At this stage, you have to strike a delicate balance between the need to keep earning solid returns and the imperative to guard against late-inning losses. Shrinking your stock holdings to 66 percent will help mitigate the damage a bear market could cause. (Even so, such a portfolio would have taken an 18 percent hit in 1974.) But this asset mix would still give you an even shot of beating 9 percent over 10 years.
Smart move: Do the catch-up
If you're 50 or older, you can stash an extra $5,000 annually in your 401(k) starting next year and an additional $1,000 in an IRA. Over 12 years an extra $6,000 a year could add $123,000 or so to your retirement savings.