If you're putting money into an IRA, then you have to decide how to allocate it. You can be incredibly aggressive and put everything into speculative, small cap stocks. However, that can be disastrous if the market tanks. On the other hand, you can put every nickel into short-term bonds. The problem with that plan is that you will see very little asset growth. So, the solution is to choose a plan that is conservative, yet has room for growth. Below is a good starting point for people who want growth, but are still conservative when it comes to risk.
Large Cap, Low Cost Index Funds
The best way to grow your retirement funds over time is to have money in the stock market. However, picking individual stocks can be risky. This is where an index fund comes in handy. You can buy shares in an index fund and be exposed to many different companies. An index fund is made up of many different stocks. They are picked and managed by a team of experts. You will pay a small fee for this service. If you choose an Index fund that tracks a large index (such as the S&P), then you will have exposure to many of the largest companies in the world.
Municipal Bond Funds
There are different types of bonds, and one that you should definitely have in your portfolio. Municipal bonds are issued by cities and are used to pay for new roads, new school buildings, sewer projects, and many other projects. The bonds will pay you a premium. This is the money that is provided to you in exchange for loaning the money.
A nice feature of many of these bonds is that they are tax-free. While municipal bonds are considered a safe investment, it is still wise to pick a bond fund. This will allow you to have exposure to many different municipal bonds from a particular municipality. That way you don't have to spend time researching each bond's particular rating; the experts at the bond fund will have done all of that research.
Exchange Traded Fund Focused On Reliable Dividend Stocks
If you are looking for growth, then this is a great choice. By picking a fund that is focused on stocks that pay a dividend you get the benefit of income, while also owning a stock that has the potential to achieve tremendous growth. These dividends can be reinvested so that you will end up with more shares than you originally purchased. Look for a fund that focuses on the famous "dividend aristocrats." These are the large stocks that have a history of raising the dividend every year.
For more advice on how to obtain growth while staying conservative, talk to a financial advisor near you.