Dear Penny: Am I Too Old to Start Investing at 71?

Dear Cent,

I’m 71 years of age and upon the market at 67. I’m on Social Security and receiving two pensions. It’s very little cash except I’m OK monthly. 

I finally dug from massive debt right before retiring. I had been caught within the housing bust in 2008 and entered deep charge card debt managing two hefty mortgages by myself. Gradually and continuously, I’ve compensated it lower through the years. I ought to be charge card debt-free within the next six several weeks approximately. My credit rating is great, but debt permitted without retirement planning.

The issue: Could it be far too late to go in an investment world, as opposed to just accumulating the pittance of great interest which comes from getting savings accounts in the bank? 

We’re not speaking about lots of money. I’ve been putting $75 monthly into bank savings for quite some time now. Six-month emergency fund aside, will it seem sensible that i can try investing it as opposed to just plain banking it at this time of existence? If that’s the case, what sort of approach can you recommend?

I most likely could do greater than the $75 per month especially when the charge card debts are done. I possibly could most likely make a preliminary investment of maybe $5,000. I’m wishing there are plenty of many years of existence in front of me.


Dear B.,

I do not think you’re far too late to begin investing here. But my answer has a big caveat: I’m confident with you beginning to take a position at 71 because additionally to Social Security, you’ve two pensions. While you say it isn’t much, that’s guaranteed earnings for existence. As lengthy as that cash is sufficient to repay what you owe, I’m fine along with you investing just a little.

But at 71, you have to invest differently than you’d should you be 31 or 41. If you have a minimum of a few decades left before you retire, you are able to realistically expect several stock exchange crashes to happen on your working years. That’s Suitable for more youthful people simply because they have the time for his or her money to recuperate. However when you’re inside your 70s, you’re not likely to want investments that may easily lose 20% or 30% of the value for the short term.

Consider what your objectives have been in investing. Should you let me know you desired to take a position strongly and double your hard earned money within the next couple of years, I’d urge you to definitely re-think that plan. However it seems like your ultimate goal would be to earn a little more than you’re getting out of your checking account, and that’s perfectly reasonable.

The task since a lot of older investors face is the fact that rates of interest are in the past low. Which means even high-yield savings accounts are having to pay nothing. Typically safe investments popular with retirees, like bonds and certificates of deposits (CDs), will also be yielding super low interest that aren’t checking up on inflation.

To create any type of returns nowadays, you’re most likely going to need to put some cash in stocks. Before you consider that, I really want you to pay attention to having to pay off your charge card debt. Whenever you have a charge card balance, it is you about 16% every year typically. Putting away the highly improbable stock exchange returns of history year, that’s far more than you can generate throughout a typical year of investing.

As lengthy while you leave your emergency fund intact, you can place the $75 per month you have been banking toward your charge cards, especially as your causes of earnings are guaranteed, and outlay cash lower even faster.

Once you’re debt-free, you are able to bring your $75 per month plus what you have been putting toward charge cards and begin investing. The easiest method to do that is as simple as opening a free account at one of the leading brokerages, like Vanguard, Charles Schwab, or Fidelity. (Not one of them compensated me to state that.)

It is simple to open a free account on the internet and make use of a robo-consultant, that is essentially a pc formula that invests your hard earned money for you personally. You’ll answer some questions regarding such things as your investing experience and just how you’d respond to taking a loss. Your solutions, together with your age and goals, figure out how your hard earned money will get invested.

Since you’re upon the market, your hard earned money will most likely be invested conservatively. Which means you aren’t getting any jaw-shedding returns. Keep in mind that there’s always risk with investing. The need for your investment funds could drop, especially for the short term. A typical guideline is you don’t want money committed to stocks that you simply be prepared to need within the next 5 years.

I, too, hope there are many years ahead — and also at 71, it’s certainly realistic to organize for an additional 2 decades or maybe more in retirement. Should you not require the money for the short term, it isn’t far too late to begin investing the right path to some more comfortable retirement.

Robin Hartill is really a certified financial planner along with a senior author in the Cent Hoarder. Send your tricky money inquiries to

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