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Are you worried about the stock market’s recent slide? The Dow dropped more than 5% from Tuesday through Thursday’s close -- nothing catastrophic, but still. I can understand if you got a little queasy, especially if you’re on the brink of retirement. Financial pros fret about something called “sequence-of-return risk,” which is a fancy way of saying bad timing. Like retiring in 2008 on the cusp of the Great Recession, for example. Withdrawing money on a declining account balance can rapidly deplete your nest egg. To mitigate sequence-of-return risk, some advisors I’ve talked to recommend that folks dial back their stock exposure in the five years leading up to retirement and the five years after. But others argue you should hold your stock allocation steady regardless, because your portfolio needs the growth that stocks provide over the long haul. At the end of the day, it’s your money. Don’t panic, but do what you need to do to sleep at night. Learn about some strategies in today’s edition.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth

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TIMELY RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE
Here’s Why the Stock Market Is Dropping — and What You Should Do About It Now

As always, don't panic.

Stocks Are Sliding. Here’s How to Protect Your Portfolio From a Crash, According to Experts

Be prepared when the next recession hits.

This Is the Best Day to Shop at Target, According to Two Superfans

The women behind @TargetDoesItAgain want to improve your retail experience.

READER INSIGHTS

Our Retire with Money Facebook community has been discussing the market’s dip. One member brought up a wrinkle that I hadn’t considered: the effects of a continued downturn on the required minimum distributions (RMDs) that people ages 70 ½ and up must take from their IRAs and 401(k)s. The amount you must withdraw each year is based off your IRA balance as of Dec. 31 the previous year. (You divide your balance by a “distribution period” that the IRS stipulates for your age.) If stocks continue their slide, then the amount that savers are required to withdraw will be smaller for 2019. Of course, your RMD is just the floor--you’re allowed to withdraw as much as you want, as long as you pay ordinary income taxes on it!

RETIREMENT NEWS FROM AROUND THE WEB

Your Social Security Check Will Get a 2.8% Boost in 2019

Announced on Thursday, the raise marks the biggest boost since 2012. CNBC

Trump Signs Bills Banning “Gag Clauses,” Helping Consumers Save on Drugs

The new law bans contracts that prevented pharmacists from telling consumers when they could get a cheaper price for their drug by bypassing their insurance and paying cash. CONSUMER REPORTS

To Age Well, Train for Contentment

An 88-year-old runner contemplates the mental exercises he needs to age well. THE NEW YORK TIMES

Finding Creative Opportunities After Retiring

There are creative outlets to suit any talent or temperament, and tapping them can bring great joy. NEXT AVENUE

ABOUT ELIZABETH

Elizabeth O'Brien is a senior writer at MONEY, covering retirement and health care. You can email her at elizabeth.o'brien@moneymail.com and follow her on Twitter at @elizobrien.

 
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