How to Effectively ReBalance Your Portfolio During Good Times & Bad

In previous posts, I’ve stressed the importance of diversification and finding an asset allocation that reflects an investor’s risk tolerance. The following chart illustrates the rates of return of the major assets categories, both during the market decline that began in October of 2007 and during the market rebound that began on March 9th.

Diversification, Rebalance

Several points here. First, although we have all enjoyed the recent rally in the stock market, don’t trick yourself into believing the market will quickly recoup your losses. Recall the pain-to-gain ratio (previous post) which illustrated how a 50% loss would require a 100% gain in order to break even. As enjoyable as the past three months have been, most asset categories aren’t even a third of the way to recovering the losses suffered during the 15 month downturn.

Second, an appropriate asset allocation is crucial. An investor with a significant portion of a portfolio invested in bonds clearly came out ahead of the market during the down time, and now has much less to go in order to break even. For instance, a portfolio of 50% stocks and 50% bonds was likely only down 20% during the market pullback, and would only need a positive return of 25% to break even. This investor is close to getting back to even already.

Lastly, as many financial professionals predicted, many of the asset categories that were hit the hardest during the recession have come back the strongest. Mid cap, small cap, and international stocks, all big losers during the market decline, are the biggest winners since the turnaround. Consequently, investors who were committed to their investment approach utilizing a diversification and rebalancing strategy have been rewarded. Individuals who didn’t stick to their strategy sold at or near the bottom, and have missed the bounce.

About the author

Lon Jefferies, CFP®, MBA
Lon Jefferies, CFP®, MBA

Lon Jefferies is an investment advisor representative with Net Worth Advisory Group, a fee-only financial planning firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). He possesses an MBA and bachelor's degrees in Finance and Marketing from the University of Utah. Lon writes articles for local magazines such as Utah CEO, Business Connect and Utah Business Magazine, and he consistently contributes articles to online magazines such as FIGuide.com and FILife.com (by The Wall Street Journal). Additionally, Lon is an expert author at EzineArticles.com. Lon has been quoted nationally in publications such as the NY Times and Investment News.

Lon can be contacted at (801) 566-0740 or lon@networthadvice.com. Learn more about Net Worth Advisory Group at http://networthadvice.com and visit Lon's blog at http://www.utahfinancialadvisor.blogspot.com.

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