Absolutely no malice intended here, but I do not believe you should be investing any of your Roth money in the markets. There is no “safe” way to profit from the markets. You must be able to pour money into index funds and rarely, if ever, look at the statements. Even your question “At 53 how do we invest our Roth$ SAFELY” reeks of fear. The only way to outpace inflation and obtain larger gains long term is to take RISK. It’s the nature of investing.
The index funds you mentioned are great funds but they can AND WILL decline in value from time to time.
Had you left your investments alone during a the last major downturn, they would be worth in excess of 1-2 million dollars most likely. You have humbly already admitted you all made a mistake.
In a nice tone here not condecsending…What makes you think, in the face of another major meltdown, including the 24 hour news cycle, that you will be able to not only stand pat but even continue to contribute (especially since you are “long in the tooth”)?? Investing in downturns is the primary formula for long term gains.
I think the likelihood is even higher that you will sell at the exact wrong moment and get out again preciely because you are older.
One of the sure ways to make money investing in the stock market (judging from the Dow 30 since 1900 including the 1929 crash = 10% ish) is to set up regular investments from your paycheck or checking account and completely DISREGARD the TV news and your statements or on-line balances.
I do alot of reading abouit the psychology of investing and humans LOVE to make money. But they HATE losing money 20 times more. Which causes them to do the wrong thing at precisely the wrong time.
To quote an article from WorldQuant.com “Twenty years after Daniel Kahneman received the Nobel Prize in economics for applying behavioral psychology to economic decision making, the Princeton researcher’s work on dual-process theory continues to provide insight into the factors that shape our thinking when it comes to investing.” Gary Becker won in 1992 and Richard Thaler in 2017. The same award. for the same subject.
Dual process is when the part of your brain that measures risk is in conflict with the part that seeks well being.
Of all Warren Buffets (supposed) sayings, my favorite is “The market opened at 60 points in 1900, now its at 34000. How could anybody possible have lost money??”
Reevaluate if investing is right for you and your husband.
Hope this has not been too boring.
Jim in Charlotte