Some analysts are predicting a “lost decade” for stocks—meaning that by 2033, the market could wind up well below its current levels. But there is a simple and clever strategy to invest in the market for the next 10 years without risking your money.

Say you start with $100,000 in an IRA. Use the Zero-Risk Investment Calculator at to figure how to split your money between a 10-year FDIC-insured certificate of deposit (CD) and a fund that tracks the S&P 500 index. A recent 10-year CD from paid a 4.25% annual percentage yield (APY), so an investment of $65,953.73 in the CD would accrue to $100,000 in 10 years. Put the remaining $34,046.27 in the fund. Three scenarios…

Even if you lost every penny in your stock fund, you’d still wind up with your original $100,000 after a decade.

If total stock returns are flat, you’d have $134,046.27—the $100,000 from the appreciated CD plus the original $34,046.27 in the stock fund.

If stocks returned an average of 8% annually, you would have $173,503.34.

But perhaps you don’t want to be this risk-averse—after all, protecting your downside from a stock loss limits your upside. And is the entire S&P 500 really going to become worthless?

Alternative: Plug a 20% loss worst-case scenario into the calculator. Investing $27,924.60 in the CD and $72,075.40 in the stock market guarantees the safety of your $100,000. And if the stock market is flat over 10 years, you would get back $114,415.08. But with an 8% annualized gain, you’d nearly double your portfolio to $197,945.08.

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