Investor’s Edge: Leveraging Age for Effective Asset Allocation

WealthBasketOct 11, 2023

Mastering the art of investing can be a bit tricky, especially when you’re trying to figure out where to put your money based on your age. Whether you’re in your 30s, just getting started, or nearing your 50s and thinking about retirement, understanding how to allocate your assets is crucial. 

In this quick guide, we’ll break down the concept of asset allocation, why it’s a big deal, and how it changes as you grow older. Get ready to see how adjusting your investment plan to match your age can help you reach your financial goals with ease.

What is Asset Allocation?

Asset allocation involves splitting your investment portfolio into distinct asset classes. The main purpose is to create a well-rounded portfolio that aligns with your chosen risk tolerance and expected returns.

Asset classes include financial assets like stocks, fixed-income securities, commodities, and real estate. Asset allocation strategies can be shaped by various factors, including your age, risk appetite (both capacity and willingness), or your preferred investment approach.

Why is Asset Allocation Important?

Here are some key reasons why asset allocation matters:

  1. Risk Reduction

Implementing asset allocation, a time-tested strategy, effectively mitigates risk. By distributing your funds across diverse asset classes, you achieve portfolio diversification, reducing vulnerability to individual investments or asset classes. 

Furthermore, within each asset class, you have the option to enhance diversification by investing in multiple assets of the same category.

  1. Optimized Returns

Asset allocation empowers you to construct a portfolio tailored to meet your financial goals, ensuring it generates the desired returns. 

Your asset choices are determined by your return expectations and the frequency of anticipated returns.

  1. Effective Liquidity Management

Allocating a segment of your portfolio to liquid assets guarantees access to funds when financial needs arise.

  1. Streamlined Tax Planning

Tax regulations may vary depending on the asset classes within your investment portfolio. 

By maintaining organised records of your invested asset classes, you can accurately compute taxes on your investments

Asset Allocation by Age

As you age, your remaining years of earning potential decrease, while your responsibilities tend to mount. This results in you as an investor becoming less inclined towards high-risk, high-return investments over time. This principle serves as the fundamental basis for age-based asset allocation.

When you embrace age-based asset allocation, your portfolio will gradually transition resources from riskier to more secure investments. During your younger years, when you can rebound from losses, your portfolio may allocate a higher proportion to assets with growth potential. Conversely, as you age, a portfolio with a greater emphasis on secure assets becomes more appropriate.

Rule of Thumb for Age-Based Asset Allocation

A rule of thumb for age-based asset allocation suggests that you should calculate the percentage of your portfolio allocated to equities as 100 minus your age. Hence, your age would then represent the percentage of your portfolio dedicated to safer investments.

Equity allocation percentage = 100 – Your Age 

Safer asset allocation percentage = Your Age

AgeEquity allocationAllocation to fixed-income assets

Age-based asset allocation suggests that individuals in their 20s often adopt a growth-oriented portfolio, while those at age 50 may opt for an evenly balanced allocation. Individuals nearing 80 often lean towards a retirement-focused portfolio with a more conservative allocation.

Nonetheless, it is important to consider, that the age-based asset allocation strategy detailed above is based on a limited set of factors. Adjustments may be necessary based on your risk tolerance, income, and future goals. 

Limitation of Age-based Allocation

The primary drawback of this approach lies in its assumption that all young investors possess a high appetite for risk and that this appetite diminishes with age. However, this assumption may not hold true for everyone, as it overlooks other important factors.

It’s essential to recognise that asset allocation isn’t a one-time decision but requires ongoing adjustments and refinements throughout your lifetime. While this process varies from person to person, a few straightforward guidelines can assist you in managing your investments to suit your changing needs as you progress through different life stages.


In conclusion, understanding asset allocation, especially considering age as a factor, is a key element for achieving financial success. This brief guide has highlighted the importance of constructing a well-rounded investment strategy, aimed at managing risks and optimizing returns. Keep in mind that your financial path is personal, and staying flexible and making changes as life unfolds is crucial to reaching your financial goal.


  1. What happens if I don’t adjust my asset allocation as I age?

If you don’t adjust your asset allocation, you might be exposed to more risk than you can tolerate, potentially leading to significant losses that could impact your financial security, especially in retirement.

  1. What should I do if my risk tolerance doesn’t align with my age-based asset allocation?

If you find that your risk tolerance doesn’t match your age-based allocation, it’s essential to strike a balance. You may want to adjust your allocation gradually over time to align with your comfort level.

  1. What are the key differences between aggressive and conservative age-based asset allocation strategies?

An aggressive strategy typically has a higher allocation to stocks and may seek higher returns but also comes with higher risk. While, a conservative strategy focuses on capital preservation and income generation, with a higher allocation to bonds and cash.

  1. How does my expected retirement age impact my asset allocation strategy?

Your expected retirement age plays a significant role in your asset allocation. If you plan to retire early, you may need to maintain a higher allocation to growth assets to support a longer retirement period.

  1. How does my risk tolerance change as I age, and how does it impact asset allocation?

Risk tolerance tends to decrease with age as the need for capital preservation grows. This can lead to a more conservative asset allocation with a greater emphasis on less volatile investments.