Old Town Crier

Decipher Your Investment Puzzle

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce

 

Decipher Your Investment Puzzle

 

When you set up your investment portfolio, you probably also settled on an asset allocation strategy — for instance, 60% stocks and 40% bonds. You, perhaps with the help of your Financial Advisor, determined that this particular balance of investments could help you generate average returns that would help you meet your financial goals and match your personal tolerance for risk.

 

As the economic market shifts, though, everyone’s financial portfolio naturally drifts out of balance to some degree, says Tracie McMillion, CFA®, Investment Research Manager, and Head of Asset Allocation for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. During a market downturn, for example, the stock allocation of your portfolio could shift from the 60% you originally envisioned to just 50% because the value of those stocks decreased while the value of the bonds remained steady. To get your portfolio back to its original allocation, you might need to sell some bonds and buy additional stocks at their current, lower prices.

 

The importance and timing of rebalancing

This practice, known as “rebalancing,” is a critical part of maintaining a healthy financial portfolio. “Rebalancing is intended to both control the risk in your portfolio and help potentially enhance your returns over time,” she says. It’s not, however — as some people believe — a way to try to maximize your portfolio’s earnings, notes McMillion. “It’s simply meant to take your investments back to that original, well-balanced asset allocation you, with the help of your Financial Advisor, determined was correct for you,” she says.

 

So how do you know your portfolio needs a refresh? There are two primary “trigger strategies” for rebalancing your investment portfolio, explains McMillion. The first is time: You regularly rebalance your portfolio on a specific schedule — quarterly or annually, for instance. The second is threshold: You routinely readjust your investment mix when your allocation is out of balance by a particular amount — such as 5%. It’s also possible to use a combination of the two strategies.

 

Choose a strategy

McMillion believes that no single approach — time, threshold, or a combination — is significantly more effective than another. What’s most important is to pick a consistent rebalancing strategy and stick with it. Work with your Financial Advisor to choose a regular rebalancing structure that meets your needs.

 

Some factors to consider when selecting your personal rebalancing approach:

 

 

Get it in writing

One way to stick to your strategy and make sure it’s not just a one-time rebalancing attempt is to put your asset allocation plan in writing and discuss it with your Financial Advisor. Once you’ve developed the strategy, many advisors with discretionary authority will do the actual rebalancing on your behalf according to your agreed schedule or guidelines.

 

Having a set schedule is a great start, but McMillion notes there are a couple of situations in which you may want to rebalance even if it’s not your normal time to do so:

 

 

Overall, McMillion says, keep in mind that creating a healthy asset allocation strategy should not be a “set it and forget it” activity.

 

Wells Fargo Investment Institute, Inc. (“WFII”) is a registered investment adviser and wholly-owned subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company and provides investment advice to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Wells Fargo Advisors and other Wells Fargo affiliates. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is a bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

 

All investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. There is no assurance any investment strategy will be successful.

 

Asset allocation cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices and uncertain returns.

 

Our firm is not a legal or tax advisor.

 

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Carl M. Trevisan, Managing Director-Investments and Stephen M. Bearce, First Vice President- Investments in Alexandria, VA at 800-247-8602.

 

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

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