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Five Tips for your Retirement Account

Dayana Yochim has written a quick-read over at the Motley Fool on five tips for your IRA [3]. While I’d be willing to bet you’ve heard of almost all of these tips, Dayana does an excellent job of putting hard numbers to these tips. For example, the first tip is to “Stop ignoring the little things.” This refers to looking at returns and not realizing that even a small percentage difference can lead to huge dollar differences in the long run, which is how you should be thinking with your retirement accounts anyway.

1. Stop ignoring the little things.
2. Don’t overpay The Man.
3. Avoid overdosing on accounts.
4. Keep your hand out of the cookie jar.
5. Don’t diss dividends.

Personally, I know I don’t take Rules #1 and #5 as seriously as I should be and, having had only one job, #3 doesn’t really apply to me. But at least I have taken #4 to heart as I’ve never even considered raiding my 401(k) or Roth IRAs for some extra funds.

Also, she makes a very convincing argument regarding #5:

A Standard & Poor’s study found that from 1980 to 2002, dividend-paying stocks returned an annual compounded 2.7% more than non-payers. In 2004, the spread was more pronounced: The dividend-payers of the S&P 500 outperformed non-payers 18.35% to 13.65%.

Perhaps it’s time for me to think in the long run and stop gambling…