By Chris Dillow and Ben Yearsley , 21 January 2013
Susan Smith is 73 and has been investing for 10 years to fund her retirement.
She says: "I am married with three grown-up children, all self-sufficient, with three young grandchildren. My husband and I struggled a bit in our last working years after redundancies (without the benefit of any payouts) and losing a large chunk of our retirement pot in Equitable Life. However, we started our own business and when we retired at the ages of 63 and 64, we sold that business which formed the basis of our portfolio which you have seen.
"This is our only money, apart from a £5,000 cash individual savings account (Isa), some working cash in the bank, and the state pension. Most of this portfolio is in Isas and split between us both. We used to use an adviser but went it alone a year ago when we worked out how much we were paying him and how little advice we actually got. At least three of our investments were almost completely wiped out without him even noticing. In the last year, we have done a lot better ourselves.
"If we have any more money to invest we now go for ones with good dividends.
"We own our home without any mortgage and have no debt and are both in good health. At the moment, we are managing fine and reinvesting any dividends and our only unknown is whether in the future we have to find those massive care home bills if either of us needs care. We hope to have something left to leave to our children when we go."
She describes her attitude to risk as "moderate". "I prefer some risk to get gains and think that putting it all in bonds or cash because of my age is a bad idea (and also boring)," she says.