A game plan to stack the deck in your favor in 2013 and beyond.
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By Jason Stipp | 01-25-13 | 06:00 AM | Email Article

Fiscal cliff. Debt ceiling. European debt crisis. Hard landing in China.

As the big issues of the day dominate the headlines and unsettle the markets, investors' range of actions may seem limited to throwing hands in the air or sticking heads in the sand.

Jason Stipp is Site Editor for Morningstar.com

But offsetting all the things that are out of our hands are many things that we can control. Our asset allocation, our savings rate, the specific investments we select, and the expenses we minimize can all work to stack the deck in our favor against those inevitable wildcards.

The key is not only understanding what you can control, but also the trade-offs of those decisions you do make. For instance, if you want to play it safer in the short term by moving money to bonds or cash, how might that affect your long-term risk of not earning enough for retirement? (If you had taken such action last January, you would have missed out on a 16% stock market gain in 2012!)

Once you understand the levers you can pull, and the effects of pulling them, the issue is less about feeling helpless and more about just getting it done. Enter Retirement Resolutions Week--a special report to help you optimize all the things you can control.

Each day this week, we posted a focused group of articles and video reports on

saving more, spending less, allocating wisely, picking stronger investments, maximizing Social Security, and much more to help you plug into your portfolio and get going. Now, when the next wildcard pops up (and it will), your game plan is set and ready--and so are you.

Retirement Resolutions Week: Highlights

Retirement Resolutions Week: Full Lineup

Monday, Jan. 21 | Resolve to save more, spend less

Tuesday, Jan. 22 | Resolve to allocate well for retirement

Wednesday, Jan. 23 | Resolve to pick the best investments

Thursday, Jan. 24 | Resolve to maximize your other income streams

Friday, Jan. 25 | Resolve to get your estate plan in good shape

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Jason Stipp does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar's editorial policies.
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