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Investing during your retirement years can be scary. Suddenly you’re on a fixed income, so your risk tolerance drops significantly. If you were to lose everything, there’s no time to make it up. A loss would create incredible financial stress and is probably not how you pictured living your senior years or the golden years.

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Fortunately, it’s easy to create a relatively safe investment portfolio for an 80-year-old. Here’s what you must know.

Where Should Seniors Invest their Money?

Money Market Account

Put your money in a Money Market Account to keep it as safe as possible. As long as the bank is FDIC insured, you’re insured up to $250,000 should the bank fail. If you have more than $250,000 to keep in the Money Market Account, spread it out amongst different deposit accounts or banks so you get full FDIC protection on all your money.

Money Market Accounts usually have a high minimum deposit requirement but pay high APYs in exchange for it. You can make up to 6 withdrawals per month with this type of account, so only deposit funds you can afford to keep tied up for a while. A Money Market Account is a safe investment for cash.

Why Choose It:

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Money Market Accounts offer a fixed interest rate with little to no risk. This is a great option if you have the money you need to be liquid and don’t want to risk it.

CD – Certificate of Deposit

If you have a lump sum of money, you won’t need it for a while; put it away into a CD. The longer the CD term, the higher your interest rate will be. Because it’s a timed deposit, though, don’t deposit more money than you can be without. If you withdraw the funds before maturity, you’ll pay an early withdrawal fee of as much as 3 months of interest. CDs are a safe investment for savings and pay you a little more than a traditional savings account offers.

Why Choose It:

If you leave your money in a savings account, it’s not earning much at all. At least put it in a CD and let the interest accumulate on the funds you don’t have an immediate use for.

Treasury Securities

80-year-olds have limited options with long-term investments since they don’t have time on their side. For example, investing in an asset with a 20-year maturity may not be ideal unless you want to leave the proceeds for your beneficiaries. Still, there are plenty of treasury securities that are great safe investments for retired seniors, including:

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  • T-Bills – These securities mature in one year, making them a great (and safe) option for seniors. They don’t pay interest, but you’ll recoup your investment when it matures in 12 months or less.
  • T-Notes – You can buy T-Notes with 2 – 10 year terms. T-Notes pay interest every six months, and you receive the face value of the note upon maturity.

Why Choose It:

Treasury securities are relatively safe, and some pay semi-annual interest payments to give you a little cash flow while you wait to cash in the face value of the investment.

Life insurance

Life insurance may not feel like an investment, but it is in more ways than one. First, it protects your loved ones upon your passing. Whether you choose whole or term life (most 80 years olds can only get whole life), your policy will have a death benefit. This is the money your loved ones will receive when you die.

If you choose a whole life policy, including a Simplified Issue or Guaranteed Issue policy, you’ll have a death benefit plus a cash value. Your premiums cover the premium for the death benefit, plus invest in your cash value. You can choose how the cash value gets invested, either conservatively or aggressively, and then withdraw the funds to supplement your retirement funds.

Any money you withdraw and don’t repay will directly reduce your policy’s face value dollar-for-dollar.

Why Choose It:

Life insurance does two things – it helps supplement your retirement income if you choose a whole life policy, and it protects your loved ones upon your death. It’s one of the smartest ways to protect yourself and your loved ones, especially in your senior years.

Preferred Stocks

Consider preferred stocks if you want a little more ‘risk’ without taking it too far. They carry the same risk as standard stocks, but you would be one of the first to receive a payment if the company defaulted. Common stockholders are last.

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Preferred stocks also typically pay dividends. While there’s no guarantee they’ll pay them each quarter, if the company performs well, they share the profits with stockholders, giving you cash flow that you can reinvest or withdraw and use to supplement your retirement income.

Why Choose It:

If you want to invest in the stock market, preferred stock is the way to go. You’ll get the cash flow as long as you keep the investment, which is, on average, around 5%, which is a return that’s hard to beat, especially when you’re remaining conservative.

Rental Income

If you are comfortable investing in real estate, you can leverage your investment by taking out a mortgage, but make sure the payment is less than the rent you’d charge. If you buy and hold, make sure there’s enough room in the investment to hire a property management company and still leave room for your profits.

Real estate is a naturally appreciating asset, and it’s also a great asset to pass down to your loved ones when you’re gone. You’ll enjoy many tax breaks and cash flow as the owner of a rental property.

Why Choose It:

A rental property is a great way to diversify your portfolio from the standard investments and market risk. If you have the resources to help you manage it, you can consider it a somewhat passive investment that provides monthly cash flow, which is a great way to supplement your monthly retirement income.

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are diversified assets, including a bundle of stocks, bonds, and other securities. A professional manager oversees the mutual funds and actively trades assets in and out of them to optimize their performance.

Mutual funds have expense ratios because they are actively managed, so make sure you read the fine print and know the costs so they don’t overrun your profits.

Why Choose It:

Diversifying your investments is the key to beating or matching the market. Doing it yourself can be time-consuming and overwhelming. A mutual fund does it for you for a small fee if you shop around and find the best option.

What is the Safest Investment for Seniors?

No investment is 100% foolproof. The safest investment for seniors is the one that has the risk tolerance you can handle. A savings account would be the ‘safest,’ but its returns are so minimal that it’s often not worth it.

If you’re looking to grow your portfolio throughout retirement while maintaining some semblance of conservativeness, consider a Money Market Account, mutual fund, preferred stock, life insurance, CD, or treasury securities.

Should an 80-Year-Old Invest in Stocks?

This is a question we hear often – should an 80-year-old invest in stocks? While there isn’t an age limit regarding how long you can invest, there are times when you should consider the risk. If you are set financially and want to take your chances of growing your portfolio even more, stocks are fine.

If you are cutting it close and may outlive your assets, stocks may not be the best asset to consider. If you insist on investing in stocks, consider preferred stocks so you protect your investment should the company fold.

Bottom Line

You are never too old to invest. The key is to choose investments with the risk tolerance you can handle, which won’t put you in financial distress. Look at your financial situation in retirement and decide if you want to increase the legacy you leave behind, or do you need to supplement your retirement funds just to get by?

The answer will tell you which investments are best for 80-year-olds so you can make the most of your retirement.


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.