Should I Buy More Bonds as I Age?
By Judy Feldman

(MONEY Magazine) – Q. I plan to retire in 16 years and have 16% in bonds. I've heard that you should shift money into bonds as you get older. If interest rates start to rise, does that still make sense? --Gregory Martin, 43, computer systems analyst, San Diego

A. The old rule of thumb--subtract your age from 100 to get the percentage of your portfolio that you should have in stocks--never made much sense. It doesn't consider risk tolerance or goals. But unless you're rich, you'll need bonds in your portfolio to cut risk. "And 16% is low," says Lewis J. Altfest, a financial planner in New York City. The right range for most working-age people is 20% to 30%; gradually increase that over time. "Short-term and inflation-indexed bonds are the best game in town," adds Altfest. Inflation-indexed bonds may seem pricey, but he thinks they'll bring higher returns as inflation rises. --JUDY FELDMAN