Keeping a portfolio with a healthy mix of assets that are properly diversified may allow you to weather market shocks more easily.
5 Action Items to Consider for Your Portfolio Review
More than 60 percent of respondents to Scottrade’s 2014 American Investor Survey said they were either “somewhat stressed” or “very stressed” about their financial situations. The most cited reason for stress is something that investors have almost no control over: the U.S. economy.
“You can’t change the economy or the direction of the market,” said Joe Correnti, senior vice president of brokerage product at Scottrade. “But if you periodically review your portfolio, you can work on making sure that your portfolio is in sync with your financial goals.”
Broadly, such a review involves assessing your investments and comparing them to your financial plan. More specifically, here are five items you might consider including in your investment portfolio review.
- Review your financial goals. Your financial goals can be altered by everyday life events, so your review should be based on any updates to your goals. “If you’ve made some changes in your life, or in how you view your future, you might want to reconsider your financial goals as well,” Correnti said.
- Don’t forget your HSA. Many people have health savings accounts, which are investment accounts that can be tapped for health expenditures now or in the future. (Some employers even partially fund employees’ HSAs.) HSAs come with certain tax advantages, and many providers offer long-term investments. If you’re treating your HSA as a long-term investment, you might to include it in your portfolio review.
- Look for old 401(k)s. Do you know where all of your retirement accounts are located? That’s not a trick question, because you could have quite a few retirement accounts, making it relatively easy to lose track of one or two. This could be especially true if you or your spouse have switched jobs in recent years and you have 401(k)s with previous employers. “If you’re not considering those old 401(k)s in your portfolio review, you might not be getting the full picture,” Correnti said.
- Adding in education accounts. Education investments accounts come in several varieties, such as Coverdell accounts or 529 plans, and each has distinct tax advantages. Because they can be long-term investments, your education accounts might be worth adding to your portfolio review.
- Time for a rebalancing act. More than four out of five respondents to the American Investor Survey said they know how their assets are allocated and diversified. Although that’s a heartening statistic, it’s important to move from there and determine whether your asset mix is aligned with your financial goals. If there is a run-up in the stock market, your portfolio could be riskier than you want. If the stock market falls, your potential returns could suffer. “Rebalancing periodically could be one of the most important steps you take to keep your portfolio in line with your financial goals,” Correnti said.
What resources do you use to assess your portfolio? How often do you rebalance your portfolio?
Next Step: If you want to review your portfolio, you can log in to your Scottrade account and access the Portfolio Review Tool.
About the 2014 Scottrade American Investor Study
The study was commissioned by Scottrade and conducted online between July 25 and August 4, 2014, with a nationally representative sample of 1,081 investors with at least $500 in investments. All participants were at least 18 years of age, and were required to be involved in making investment decisions in their household. Margin of error for the overall poll is +/- 3 percent at 95 percent confidence.
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