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Managing your own retirement money? Make sure you know enough to not crack your nest egg

Also, if you're going through a life change, don't forget about your investments, Damian Ogrodowski, a financial adviser at Savage and Associates, says.

TOLEDO, Ohio — If you're managing your own money, make sure you know the ins and outs of your nest egg's health.

Most of us have a pension or a 401(k) plan through work that’s a nest egg for retirement. But here's a question for you: Do YOU manage your own money, and is that even a smart thing to do? 

It's great to prepare for retirement and establish a 401(k). The problem is, a lot of us never even look at the portfolio to make sure it’s evenly balanced. Do any of us really know the difference between a Large Cap Growth Fund, S and P 500 Index Fund, or a Small/MidCap Index Fund? Probably not as well as we should. 

Let’s begin with what investment vehicle is better? A mutual fund, like the 401(k)? Or buying individual stock? Well, that’s easy. The 401(k) comes right out of your paycheck. And most companies match your contribution. It’s easy money. And if it’s a balanced portfolio, it rides out the highs and lows of the market long term.   

Damian Ogrodowski has been a financial adviser at Savage and Associates 16 years and wants people to remember: This is YOUR retirement, your future. You can’t afford to mess it up.

“You can’t take the latest stock tips, you can’t take advice from your neighbor, your barber, your mechanic - you need to get advice from a professional to figure out what’s best for you your situation and your family situation," Ogrodowski said.

So, what should you do? Check your 401(k) on a regular basis. Again, make sure the assets are balanced. It might not seem that big of a deal if you’re in your 20s or 30s. But that gets different as you push toward retirement. 

“You can go online use your 401(k) resources and tools calculator you can put in your age, risk tolerance and that can give you some guidance," Ogrodowski said. "The 401(k) plan should have an adviser associated with it, an individual locally or an 800 number that can walk you through some of those questions. We as financial advisers work with our clients every single day with all their investments, especially their 401(k).”

The best advice Ogrodowski has? If your life is changing, your investments should change with it.