I’m often asked about asset allocation and whether or not there is a correct way to go about allocating asset groups in your portfolio. Before we can answer that question, it helps to learn a thing or two about the asset allocation process in general – and that is what we will do today!
To learn more about asset allocation and other investing processes, be sure to visit Investopedia.
What is ‘Asset Allocation’?
Asset allocation is an investment strategy that aims to balance risk and reward by apportioning a portfolio’s assets according to an individual’s goals, risk tolerance and investment horizon. The three main asset classes – equities, fixed-income, and cash and equivalents – have different levels of risk and return, so each will behave differently over time.
What is the appropriate asset allocation for me?
There is no simple formula that can find the right asset allocation for every individual. However, the consensus among most financial professionals is that asset allocation is one of the most important decisions that investors make. In other words, the selection of individual securities is secondary to the way that assets are allocated in stocks, bonds, and cash and equivalents, which will be the principal determinants of your investment results.
Investors may use different asset allocations for different objectives. Someone who is saving for a new car in the next year, for example, might invest her car savings fund in a very conservative mix of cash, certificates of deposit (CDs) and short-term bonds.
Another individual saving for retirement that may be decades away typically invests the majority of his individual retirement account (IRA) in stocks, since he has a lot of time to ride out the market’s short-term fluctuations. Risk tolerance plays a key factor as well. Someone not comfortable investing in stocks may put their money in a more conservative allocation despite a long time horizon.
What is Age-based Asset Allocation and how does it work?