Do You Know How to Allocate Your Portfolio?

Matthew Mullowney |

You've been told time and time again that you need to invest in a diversified portfolio. But what does that mean, exactly? And more importantly, how do you achieve it? Diversification is important because it helps protect your portfolio from losses in any one particular asset class.


Why is asset allocation important?

Asset allocation is important because it helps you manage risk. By diversifying your investments across different asset classes, you can help balance out the ups and downs of the market. This can provide you with a smoother ride to reaching your financial goals.

There is no perfect asset allocation for everyone. It will vary based on the factors like age, investment goals, and risk tolerance. But working with a financial advisor to develop the right mix of investments for you can help you sleep better at night, knowing that your portfolio is well diversified and prepared for whatever the market might throw.


How to determine your asset allocation

The asset allocation for a portfolio is the distribution of assets in different asset categories. The main asset classes are stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents.

Each asset class has different characteristics and risks. For example, stocks tend to be more volatile than bonds, but they also have the potential for higher returns.

The suitable asset allocation for a portfolio depends on the investor's goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. An investor's goal may be to preserve capital, generate income, or grow capital.

The time horizon is when an investment is expected to be held. A short-term investment has a time horizon of fewer than five years, while a long-term investment has a time horizon of more than five years.

Risk tolerance is the ability to stomach losses in the value of an investment. An investor with a high-risk tolerance can handle swings in the value of their assets and is comfortable with a higher degree of volatility.

On the other hand, an investor with a low-risk tolerance may prefer fewer volatile investments with more predictable returns.


The different types of assets

There are many different types of assets that you can include in your portfolio, and the mix that is right for you will depend on your investment goals. Some common asset classes include stocks, bonds, cash, and real estate.

Your asset allocation should be based on your risk tolerance and time horizon. For example, suppose you are saving for retirement. In that case, you may want to allocate a more significant portion of your portfolio to stocks since you have a longer time horizon to ride out market volatility. If you are closer to retirement, you may want to shift some of your assets into bonds or cash equivalents to preserve capital.

The important thing is to create a diversified portfolio that meets your needs and helps you reach your financial goals. Talk to a financial advisor if you need help determining the suitable asset allocation.


Rebalancing your portfolio

When it comes to investing, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The best way to allocate your portfolio will vary depending on your circumstances, including your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

That said, some general guidelines can help you determine the right mix of investments for your portfolio. A good starting point is to consider what percentage of your portfolio should be in stocks versus bonds.

As a general rule of thumb, you should have a higher percentage of stocks in your portfolio if you're younger and have a longer time horizon until retirement. This is because stores tend to be more volatile than bonds, but they also offer the potential for higher returns over the long run.

If you're closer to retirement or have a shorter time horizon, you may want to shift more of your portfolio into bonds. This is because bonds are generally less volatile than stocks and can provide a source of stability and income during retirement.

Once you've determined your stock/bond allocation, you can further diversify your portfolio by adding other asset classes, such as real estate or commodities. And finally, don't forget to rebalance your portfolio to your target allocation periodically. This will ensure that your portfolio stays diversified and aligned with your goals.

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

Stock investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal.​

Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price.

Rebalancing a portfolio may cause investors to incur tax liabilities and/or transaction costs and does not assure a profit or protect against a loss.