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Most experts agree that as you approach retirement age you should gradually shift from stocks into bonds to protect the money you've accumulated.

But retirement can last several decades, so it generally pays to maintain a healthy dose of stocks well into retirement. In a May 2013 Money magazine cover story on wealth building, we recommended these stock-bond ratios by age groups:

  • Age 25 to 34: 80% stocks-20% bonds
  • Age 35 to 44: 70%-30%
  • Age 45 to 54: 60%-40%
  • Age 55 to 64: 50%-50%

If you don’t want to have to think about shifting your mix of investments (or “asset allocation”) over time, consider “target-date retirement funds,” which are available in many retirement plans. You simply choose a fund that's labeled with the year you plan to retire, and it will automatically adjust the mix of stocks, bonds and cash to maximize your return and minimize your risk as you get older.

Building wealth: Best moves if you’re 25 to 34

Building wealth: Best moves if you’re 35 to 44

Building wealth: Best moves if you’re 45 to 54

Building wealth: Best moves if you’re 55 to 64