While we're on the topic of asset allocation, always keep an emergency fund around – a few months income for the unexpected. Sudden change in jobs, illness, family death, disability, you get the idea. Put it in a money market account – so when you drop everything and flee to Canada, you can leave tonight, not next week.
After insurance and a good cash cushion, stash some cash away for 5 to 25 years from now. Four quarters today could turn into five bucks down the road. That will cover your kid’s education. Or if you’re like me, a Corvette and catamaran.
Mutual funds are good low-maintenance options. But if you’re talking retirement, then think 401(k)s and Roth IRAs. Once your money is stuffed into these, you won’t see it until 65. Be stingy now, put any excess into your 401(k), and it’ll be smooth sailing when you’re silver.