Investing in your 50s - the empty-nester couple

Published by Rob Griffin on 08 August 2011.
Last updated on 11 April 2012

Couple on sofa

How should you invest once you're in your fifties? That's the question we look at in the last part of our three-part series on where to invest your money at different stages of your life.

In our second case study of this series, we look at the options for a couple with grown-up children and ask financial adviser Mel Kenny to make some suitable fund recommendations.

Case study: John and Suzanne Golding, a married couple with grown-up kids

John and Suzanne Golding are in their mid-fifties and have two children who have both flown the nest in recent years. They both have good jobs - he's a financial adviser on £55,000 a year and she earns £45,000 as a public relations consultant - and are higher-rate taxpayers.

They have enjoyed a good quality of living over the last few years, and have also managed to help their children through university and into their own careers.

However, the couple have relatively small personal pension pots built up over the course of their careers.

Their dilemma is how to maximise their investment returns over the next decade without putting at risk the money they have set aside. After all, they won't have an awfully long time to rebuild their savings should they suffer in the face of a volatile stockmarket.

Financial priorities

Both John and Suzanne will need to consider making substantial payments into their pensions in order to build up big enough pots to swap for an annuity or other retirement income in due course. As part of this process, they will each need to obtain pension projections, including state pension forecasts, to get an idea of what they can expect to receive in later life.

Given that they want to maintain their current standard of living in retirement, this could be quite a shock.

Their investment choices need to focus on both growing and preserving capital - which can be tricky. But they can't really afford to take on too much risk, so it makes more sense to opt for more of a balanced approach, rather than pinning all their hopes on equities in isolation.


With only a decade to go before their official retirement date, time is not really on the side of the Goldings. Any investment decisions they make will need to work well and quickly in order to provide the combination of capital growth and sustainability they require.

Jupiter Merlin Balanced Portfolio

"Offering exposure to a variety of assets, the management team behind this fund of funds has consistently identified turning points in markets and selected better-performing underlying funds that have boosted returns."

Newton Balanced

"This fund offers exposure to a variety of assets; its consistently good performance has been achieved by holding shares in good-quality companies, with strong fundamentals, and fixed-interest stock, mainly highly rated bonds."

Neptune Balanced

"This particular fund adopts strong views on asset classes, sectors and stocks, and then takes a relatively concentrated position. This has led to consistently above-average returns."


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