Should I Cash Out of Stocks at 57 to Protect My Life’s Savings?

Dear Penny,

I am 57 with $285,000 in a brokerage account, and about the same amount in retirement accounts. I am currently maxing out the amount I can put in my employer’s retirement plan.

However, with the market continuing to go down I am wondering if I should just keep more in cash. I understand that with the market down I am essentially buying shares “on sale.” But if the price continues to fall I won’t have that long to recoup the loss due to my age. Thoughts?


Dear M.,

It depends on what you mean by “keep more in cash.” It’s painful to watch money evaporate from your investment accounts. That’s especially true when retirement is finally in sight — though these days, “Should I cash out?” is a question I ‘m getting from readers of all ages. But unless you’re facing a dire necessity, I wouldn’t cash out investments right now.

The most obvious reason is that the stock market is down about 20% year to date as of late October 2022. Your fear is that you won’t be able to recoup your losses. But until you sell, any losses you’ve already incurred only exist on paper. Should you cash out now, you’d guarantee that your investments will never rebound.

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