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In today’s complex financial markets, you have an impressive array of investment vehicles from which to select. Each investment also carries some risks, making it important to choose wisely if you are selecting just one.
The good news is that there’s no rule that says you must stick with only one type of investment. In fact, you can potentially lower your investment risk and increase your chances of meeting your investment goals by practicing “asset allocation.”
Asset Allocation Can Work
For instance, at age 25 you may decide to invest with the goal of retiring in comfort within 40 years. Most likely, your investment goal is to achieve as much growth as possible growth that will outpace inflation substantially. In aiming to reach this goal, you may allocate 70% of your assets into aggressive growth stocks, 20% into bonds, and 10% into money market instruments. You have years to ride out the wide fluctuations that come with stocks, but at the same time, you potentially lower your risk with your bond and money market holdings.
Because your goals and circumstances are unique, you may want to talk with an investment advisor who can help you tailor an allocation strategy for your needs. Generally, your asset allocation will change as you reach different stages in your life, as your investment goals also change along with these shifts in lifestyle.
If you have been investing aggressively for retirement for more than 20 years and are now less than 10 years from retiring, protecting what your investment may have earned from market ups and downs may become more important. In this case you may want to gradually shift some of your stock allocation into your bond and money market holdings. Keep in mind, however, that many financial experts recommend that stocks be considered for every portfolio to maintain growth potential.
A Simple Process, Some Dramatic Potential Results
Asset allocation is a simple concept, yet vital to long-term investment success. In fact, a landmark study cited in Financial Analysts Journal shows that about 90% of the variability of average total returns earned by balanced mutual funds and pension plans over time was the result of asset allocation policy.3 For many individual investors, the asset allocation decision amounts to choosing what types of mutual funds to invest in and the amount to invest in each type of fund. Others may want to add individual securities to this mix after exploring their investment options.
Regardless of the asset allocation strategy you choose and the investments you select, keep in mind that a well-crafted plan of action over the long term can help you weather all sorts of changing market conditions as you aim to meet your investment goal(s).
Points to Remember
1.Asset allocation is the way in which you spread your investment portfolio among different asset classes, such as stocks and stock mutual funds, bonds, and bond mutual funds.
2.When prices of different types of assets do not move in tandem, combining these investments in a portfolio can help reduce the variability of returns, commonly referred to as “market risk.”
3.Mutual funds are pools of securities, usually offering diversification within a single asset class. Some mutual funds may include several asset classes.
4.The asset allocation that is right for you depends on your investment time frame, goals, and tolerance for risk.
5.As your investment time frame and goals change, so might your asset allocation. Many financial experts suggest reevaluating your asset allocation periodically or whenever you experience a milestone event in your life such as marriage, the birth of a child, or retirement.
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Hypo Venture Capital is an independent investment advisory firm which focuses on global equities and options markets. Our analytical tools, screening techniques, rigorous research methods and committed staff provide solid information to help our clients make the best possible investment decisions. All views, comments, statements and opinions are of the authors. For more information go to www.hypovc.com