Annuities IRA/401k ANNUITIES IRA/401K Read More
Tax Free and retirement plans TAX FREE RETIREMENT PLANS Read More
Social Security Benefits SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS Read More
Lifetime Income LIFETIME INCOME Read More
Life/Mortgage Insurance Insurance LIFE / MORTGAGE INSURANCE Read More

6. Know that interest rates will probably rise

Many experts will tell you that today's rock-bottom interest rates will probably rise. At least a bit. If they do, two areas can challenge investors: bond duration and adjustable-rate loans.

"You'll want to switch to shorter-duration bonds," says David Fleisher, CEO at Firstrust Financial Resources in Philadelphia. He explains that they're generally less sensitive to rising or falling interest rates than those with longer durations. And, if you hold a mortgage or other loan with an adjustable rate, you can expect your costs to rise.

If rates do go up, take heart. "It's because economic growth is on the right track, unemployment is low and the economy is on the path to a solid recovery," says Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer of equities at Charles Schwab in San Francisco. "I think the markets will respond very positively."

7. What are you losing to fees?

In a workplace retirement plan, your investment fees should be plainly stated, but in many IRAs or after-tax brokerage accounts, you may have to look harder. Braid, of HighPass Asset Management, recommends carefully reviewing every statement.

Shifting to ETFs can be a way to reduce total expenses, because the fees are lower, says Kevin Stophel, a financial adviser with Kumquat Wealth in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The change can cut your fees by as much as a full percentage point, in some cases.

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