The fact that stocklike careers may have far more uncertainty than bondlike careers suggests that investing toward a goal such as retirement, in particular, might be conducted differently.
Given that more volatile, equity-centric portfolios have greater "retirement date" risk—and therefore a greater risk of being misaligned with an involuntary retirement transition—it again appears crucial to ensure that human and financial capital are properly diversified and complement/counterbalance risks rather than amplifying them.
The bottom line: Human capital is a key asset for those still working. Additionally, for younger workers, in particular, it may represent a very high percentage of their entire net worth.
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As a result, making effective decisions about whether to invest in human capital, how to best convert it to financial capital and how much risk to take with financial capital, given your risks of human capital, should be key financial-planning decisions. Sometimes it's even better to invest in your human capital, such as through job training, than to save your financial capital (for example, in a Roth IRA).
As a starting point, perhaps, everyone should attempt to look at human capital on their household balance sheets to recognize the prospective economic value that is there and to be sure it is managed and diversified appropriately.
Michael Kitces is a partner and the director of research for Pinnacle Advisory Group and publisher of the financial-planning industry blog Nerd's Eye View. You can follow him on Twitter at