Investment Strategies for Every Age

October 12, 2021

In investing, age is more than a number. Here’s a look at the best investment strategies by age.

When it comes to investing, it’s a numbers game. The problem is that age is more than just a number—since most of us invest for retirement, our age has a significant impact on our investing strategies.

And if you’re not using investment strategies by age, you may be using the wrong strategies for your goals.

Here’s a breakdown of investment strategies by age group, and why age is more than just a number in the world of investment.

Why Look at Investment Strategies by Age?

In investing, age is more than just a number. It’s a strong deciding factor in your investment strategy.

That’s because most of us invest for one goal: retirement, the golden years when we don’t have to work (and, as a consequence, won’t have an income stream). Since we don’t have an income in retirement, or at least, not the level of income we had in a salaried job, we have to spend decades building up the kind of net income we would have earned if we had continued to work in that period.

This means that most of us are investing on a time limit. We have a general idea of when we’d like to retire and know that we need to save what we need by that age. The further you are from that time limit, the more time you have to grow—which means that you have to adapt your strategies based on your age.

Best Investment Strategies by Age

With that in mind, here are some of the best investment strategies split by age category.


In your 20s, time and compound interest are on your side. That means that in your 20s, it’s time to get aggressive (as aggressive as you can stomach, anyway).

The good news is that this is a time when you probably don’t have many commitments. You probably don’t have kids or a mortgage. You might have student debt; in which case you should pay it off as aggressively as you can.

In your 20s, the majority of your portfolio should be stocks—70% is a fair number in this decade, since you have at least four decades to make up any losses. If you’re not sure where to start with stocks, index funds are a great way to diversify in a hurry with reliably good performance and a hands-off strategy.

This is also the time to start a retirement plan. Any retirement plan will do. If you have an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, sign up and contribute as much out of your paycheck as you can afford. If you don’t have a 401(k) plan (or even if you do) you should look into an IRA—it gives you more freedom to choose your own investments.


In your 30s, life has shifted tempo. You might be thinking about a house or a family, settling into a job, or any number of grown-up life events. Even so, you still have at least 30 years to profit off of investments before you retire.

Since you’re still decades away from retirement, you should still be as aggressive as you can stomach, which means a portfolio primarily allocated toward stocks. You should also continue to allocate as much of your income as you can afford toward your retirement account. That said, since you may be saving for other life goals, like buying a house, which means you should start a fund for the down payment. Oh, and if you don’t have an emergency fund, get aggressive about building one—you should have at least six months in funds socked away.

Also, don’t forget to invest in yourself! An advanced degree or technical certification goes a long way toward boosting your earnings, which means more income that you can invest for the golden years.


If you haven’t started saving and investing yet, you can still make up for lost time—but you’re going to have to put the pedal to the metal and make some lifestyle sacrifices. If you’ve already been saving for around twenty years, keep up the good work with a few adjustments.

At this age range, you’ll start to reallocate some of your funds into fixed-income investments. These offer less gains than stocks, but they also have less volatility. At this point, stocks should be around 50% of your portfolio. If you’ve been investing in your 401(k), do your level best to contribute the $19,500 per year maximum—if you start in your 40s with a 6% annual return, that’s a million-dollar nest egg by the age of 64, which may not be enough to retire on but is still a solid start.

You should also pay down your mortgage as aggressively as possible. If you have any spare income not allocated to retirement or sending the kids to college, use it to chip away at your mortgage.


In your 50s, you’re going to pause and examine the horizon. At this point, you’ve been saving for at least a few decades, you’re settled into your lifestyle, and you can take time to assess your goals and how you want to live in retirement. Retirement is at least 15 years away, so you can realistically envision your retirement cost of living.

At this point, you should be maximizing your contributions while lowering risk. For example, an average investor portfolio in your 50s might be 30% stocks, 60% bonds, and 10% cash (assuming you solely work with conventional investments). If you’re already on track for retirement, keep up the strategies you used in past decades with a more conservative bent. And if you can, look into additional income streams from your investments, as these will help supplement your nest egg when you draw on it every month.


If you plan to retire at age 65, your retirement is nigh. If you hope to work into your 70s, retirement is still quite close.

At this stage, you’re concerned with capital preservation above all. The bulk of your investments should be in fixed-income bonds to reduce your market risk, with roughly 20% of your portfolio allocated to stocks for growth around the margins.

Based on your nest egg, you should also think about your withdrawal strategy and planning on your legacy (if you plan to leave anything to your kids). Either way, you should have your estate documents written and a strategy for how you want to live in retirement (be realistic!)

Invest for Your Financial Future

Investment strategies by age are all about thinking ahead for the financial future you want. You just have to adjust based on your unique situation and what you want from your investments. That said, it can be hard to wrap your head around all the options—especially if you want to branch out of conventional investments.

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