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Retirement Saving Strategies for All Ages

Wednesday, 1 Oct 2008 | 5:56 PM ET

To all of you—of all ages—who have written to me about pulling your retirement savings out of the stock market, I have a one-word answer: “Don’t!”

Even if you’re very close to retirement and are feeling this market hit more than anyone else (as you should be), remember: Even though most of us have never seen anything like this, retirement investing should be determined by two things: your timeline and your stomach, not what the market's doing.

If all these Wall St. shenanigans has you doubled over, pull back slowly from the market to shift your assets into something closer to your comfort level. Just know that if you put all your money into bonds or T-bills and you have more than 10 years until retirement, the price you’ll pay for safety could be losing out on double-digit growth over time.

The younger you are, the more it should be about growth—take the risk of putting the majority of your money in the market. The closer you get to retirement, the scales should tip toward protecting what you've got—which means locking in a bigger chunk of your money in what will preserve what you've put in, but may earn you lower returns. Of course this is a market such as we've never seen, hence the tried and true rules of long-term investing could use some revisiting—our gut has rarely, if ever, been so tested.