Cramer: Why bonds could be bad for retirement

When investing for retirement, Jim Cramer wants you to remember that there is no such thing as a get-rich-quick scheme. That is why he advised that most reliable way to make money grow is to do so slowly and with prudence.

But too much caution is also bad news as well.

So, when it comes to retirement, Cramer does not want investors to hide their money and cling to safety with the assumption that there will be enough money to retire. A little risk in stocks with higher returns will ensure a wealthy retirement.

Conventional wisdom teaches that investors need to reduce as much risk as possible when investing retirement money. However, Cramer disagrees.

"When you, either in your 401(k) or your IRA or just your discretionary investing account, put money into things like Treasury bonds or stable value funds, you're effectively taking that money off the table. You're saying, this money — I'm not going to use it to generate more wealth, I just want to keep it safe," the "Mad Money" host said.

Retirement senior couple
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"I know retirement money is meant to be sacrosanct with little risk taken, but it's possible in this era of very low interest rates, to be too cautious, too prudent and too risk averse." -Jim Cramer

Simply put, Cramer thinks that if investors load up on bonds in their 20s, 30s or 40s, there will not be enough money generated to retire comfortably.

"I know retirement money is meant to be sacrosanct with little risk taken, but it's possible in this era of very low interest rates, to be too cautious, too prudent and too risk averse. When you are managing your money, there's a point where all of your prudence becomes recklessness, and this is something you particularly see with people who want to save for retirement."

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Cramer's rule to remember when selecting bond allocations is to go by age. Here are his recommendations for bonds, by order of age:

  • Younger than 30: No reason at all to own bonds
  • In your 30s: 10 to 20 percent of your portfolio
  • In your 40s: 20 to 30 percent of your portfolio
  • In your 50s: 30 to 40 percent of your portfolio
  • 60 to retirement: 40 to 50 percent of your portfolio
  • After retirement: Own some stocks, especially high yielding stocks that can generate more income with less risk, approximately one-third of your portfolio

Some may think that Cramer's guide is very aggressive because it is counterintuitive to what investors have always been taught. However people are living longer these days, and bonds simply just won't cut it.

If you want to provide for yourself as you grow older, the upside to stocks will take you there when the money from bonds runs out.

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