Gary Hidden: ‘As a 63-year-old retiree with all retirement savings in fixed income investments, I continue to have serious doubts about the wisdom of my ultra conservative approach since you as well as all the other investment gurus advise a more balanced approach with up to 70% of investments in equities. At 63, is it really too late to start as you say on the last page of your book or should I switch some assets from fixed income to equities at this late date?

☞ I wouldn’t rush to switch now. Nor would I have too much of my money in low-yielding long-term fixed income investments, because I fear interest rates may rise. But if/when the market is really scary low – and to me, 10,000 on the Dow is not scary low – you should consider putting some money into index funds. Or how about this? Embark, now, on a program of putting, say, 1% a month, or maybe just 2% a quarter, into a couple of the funds recommended at the back of my book. After three or four years, by which time you’ll have 30% or 40% of your assets in the market, stop. If the market has gone up significantly, you’ll be glad you at least did this much. If it has gone down a lot, you’ll be glad you didn’t do it all at once. And eventually it will come back to where you started and you’ll have a lightly-taxed profit.

There’s nothing like sleeping well. So keep a good chunk of your money safe, especially now when stocks pay such low dividends and tend to sell, still, at high valuations. (This is one of the reasons that – for tax-sheltered retirement money only – I put a chunk of my own funds into TIPS.)

Then again, if you’re not a smoker and you lead a relatively happy, healthy life, your life expectancy is another 20 or 22 years. And each year, it gets a little longer. If you do make it to 85 and haven’t taken up any wild or wicked ways, your life expectancy will then be 7 or 8 more years, to 93. And at 93, it will be longer still. My God, Gary, you could be . . . The First Immortal! So don’t be too short-sighted in your investment horizon, either.

MATH QUIZ

If you lost 1% of your money every month, how much would you have left after 100 months?
(Math Quiz Answer: about 37% of what you started with.)

EVERY CARROT’S FAVORITE

Robert M. Youngman, II: ‘If you like carrot juice, try this: 12 ounces chilled carrot juice and two ounces chilled vodka. In college, we called it a Bugs Bunny.’

Coming Soon: The Wisdom of Dick Davis!

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