The old adage goes: 'you're never too old'. When it comes to investing there is never a bad time to start – providing you're of sound mind.
In fact plenty of new retirees who've just received a pot of money from their superannuation buy equities or funds direct for the first time in their lives.
Traditional portfolio theory says that if your nest egg is going to last through a typical retirement then you need to keep a proportion of your money invested in growth assets throughout. Over time that proportion diminishes. So there's no reason why you can't start your growth portfolio near retirement or in retirement. Few people should ever be totally without growth assets.
I do personally know older investors who have their entire portfolio in growth assets – living off a mixture of the New Zealand Superannuation and dividends from equities. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, but it suits some.
As you get older your levels of energy diminish over time. You may not want, for example, to be an active landlord into your twilight years. Getting a call at 2am from a tenant whose toilet is overflowing is something you may want to deal with.
Having said that, I've recently interviewed an investor who in her 70s owns 56 properties. These days instead of finding tenants, doing her own DIY, and chasing weekly rent payments, she leaves that to a property management company, costing her around 8% of rent payments.
Equity and fund investing isn't as hands on as property investment and there's no reason why someone who reaches retirement shouldn't invest time into his or her portfolio. Armchair investing doesn't require a huge amount of physical energy, although it requires you to be of sound mind.
On retiring in the 1980s my own father threw himself semi full time into investing. Each morning he would pour over the share prices in the NZ Herald and enter them into his AMSTRAD PCW share market program , which he tailored to do all sorts of analysis.
These days you can download share and fund prices direct into a variety of software programmes, do charting and all sorts of clever things. I'm sure plenty of Raboplus customers do this type of analysis. I have to say, however, that there aren't that many really good websites with NZ share and fund data. Not like some of the US and UK ones I've used. Sharesight.co.nz seems quite good. But I don't use it personally.
As you age it's worth considering questions of setting up enduring powers of attorney as well as Wills and Trusts to ensure that your beneficiaries are looked after when you go. This is, however, notoriously riddled with fish-hooks.