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Would it be foolish for an 80 year old investor to switch an IRA currently in a bank CD to a brokerage account in order to invest in stocks and mutual funds?
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It depends on many things especially how important the income is to your living expenses and how comfortable your are taking risks.

Generally, Fools believe investing in stocks or stock mutual funds is a good idea. The returns are usually much better than you can get in bonds (S&P Index funds average 12% return and recently have usually made 20% or more vs 5 to 8% for most bonds). Stocks/stock mutual funds also can have advantages in estate planning since they are inherited on a stepped up basis. But the main advantage is that they give better protection from inflation.

Fools would recommend either a no load mutual fund or a discount broker for your investments.
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Greetings, hlandau, and welcome. You asked:

<<Would it be foolish for an 80 year old investor to switch an IRA currently in a bank CD to a brokerage account in order to invest in stocks and mutual funds? >>

Certainly even at age 80 part of your portfolio should be invested in stocks or stock mutual fund to provide growth, and significant growtn cannot be found in CDs. Whether you should move to something else, though, is contingent on your willingness to absorb the risk prevelant in the market place. Next to T-Bills, CDs probably represent the "safest" investment you can make. Still, you could earn far more in something else. Therefore, it rather depends on when you need the money and how willing you are to watch the ups and downs if that money is invested elsewhere. Need the money in less than five years? Then stay out of stocks.

Regards..Pixy
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I think it would be a very very very bad idea. Very bad. Very bad.
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mphipps,

There are good reasons for a retiree not to switch from a CD into stocks: volatility, giving up a guaranteed gain, potentially higher costs of investing, higher risk of fraud. I think a stronger argument can be made by listing these and other concrete factors, rather than by just using the emotional ones. I try to stay as far away from fear-mongering as possible when making an argument.
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