The conservative
abbas million

Syed Abbas, 49, Ambler, Pa.
Occupation: IT Manager
Net worth: $1.7 million

The strategy: Abbas and his wife, Saleha, cut losses in a couple of ways. By sticking with low-cost funds -- 0.2% to 0.3% of assets vs. the industry average of more than 1% -- they reduce what they lose to fees.

"Given that, I am able to save more money," Abbas says. "This allows me to be less aggressive."

The couple, who save 20% of their income, keep only about 50% of their portfolio in equities. (Many planners say a 50-year-old should have closer to 65% in stocks.)

Related: Track all your investments in one place

The payoff: In the past seven years their portfolio gained about 5% a year. They would have done slightly better with more stocks. But bad years like 2008 -- when a 65% stock/35% bond strategy lost more than 21%, vs. a 14%-decline for a 50/50 approach -- would have been much more discomfiting.

  @Money - Last updated July 30 2013 10:38 AM ET
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