Arlene and Tom Morales had saved their money for at least twenty years in a 401K plan at her company and one at his. They believed that safety was the best choice since this money was for their early retirement. Tom attended a meeting at his firm given by the investment company that managed their savings plan and discovered that "safety" may not be the best course when planning for an early retirement. And they knew that Tommy and Cathy, their children, would be needing money for college in a few short years. They had read something about saving for college with US Savings Bonds. They bought those every week as an automatic deduction from their paychecks.

As an attorney, Tom felt he was savvy enough to select the investments for their 401K plans and for the college educations of their children. But after that meeting he attended with the investment adviser at his firm, he wasn’t so sure. Would an aggressive mutual fund be a good thing for them? All the other partners at the firm were gloating about the great picks they made in the stock market. Wasn’t that too risky? What about "safety"? Surely that has a place in retirement money. How do you know how much of each type of asset you should own?