Every solid financial plan depends on one key component: having the necessary funds to meet one’s objectives.
Whether you are investing for retirement, college, or any other objective, we will create a customized portfolio to fit your personal financial situation. As we do so, we often rely on our access to state-of-the-art, independent research reports that help us evaluate current and future portfolio positions.
One of the most important aspects of selecting investments is setting expectations. Before recommending and buying an investment, we work with you to establish goals and anticipate performance. This enables us to lay the groundwork for a buy-and-sell discipline designed to guard against dramatic consequences to your portfolio.
The Basics of Asset Allocation
Asset allocation is the process of dividing your investment dollars among a variety of complementary asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and short-term, highly liquid vehicles – including money market funds – so that your portfolio is well diversified.
Key benefits of a sound asset allocation strategy include reduced risk, more consistent returns, and a greater focus on long-term goals.
A change in your goals, time horizon, risk tolerance, or personal financial situation may require a change in your strategic asset allocation, which is why it’s important to periodically review your asset allocation strategy.
Fluctuations in the financial markets may also necessitate a reassessment of your portfolio. For example, if you begin an investment program with 75 percent of your money in stocks, 20 percent in bonds, and 5 percent in money market funds, several years of strong bond market performance (as was the case from 2000 to 2003) could quickly shift your allocations. The resulting, unplanned overexposure—or in negative conditions, underexposure—to an asset class may not be in keeping with your risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon.
Strategic vs. Tactical Asset Allocation
Strategic allocation refers to the development of a portfolio that reflects a client’s long-term investment risk-and-return profile. Although we recognize that a client’s financial circumstances may require us to shift the allocation from time to time, the intent of this approach is for the allocation to remain stable for at least five years. And, we would expect to rebalance the portfolio periodically to maintain the determined distribution.
Tactical allocation refers to the active management of a portfolio, where we might change the asset allocation at frequent intervals in hopes of enhancing returns.
Strategic and tactical asset allocations are not opposing mechanisms. Rather, they are tools that can operate in tandem.
Emotions of Investing
Logic and emotion have never been a perfect pairing. It is logical for investors to stay focused on their long-term goals during volatile markets, but emotionally it is very difficult to follow this reasoning.
The chart below attempts to characterize the emotions of investors as market performance varies. This hypothetical scenario is for illustrative purposes only and does not reflect actual market performance, nor is it a prediction of future market conditions.