Updated: October 1, 2012
This post is the third part of the series on Personal Portfolio Management. Just in case you missed it, you can read the second part on Investment Diversification here.
After doing proper asset allocation and diversification, your next step in making sure that your investments are optimized to your needs is to rebalance your portfolio after a certain period.
Rebalancing simply means evaluating your investment objectives, and editing your assets portfolio to ensure that they are still in line with your financial goals and requirements.
This is a necessary task which you must regularly do as often as you believe necessary, but I suggest at least once a year.
Why do you need to rebalance your portfolio?
The foremost reason why you should do this is because investments don’t always perform as expected, some can experience stagnation, others can grow faster than usual, while some, end up performing poorly over time.
When that happens, your risk profile will change.
For example, let’s say you invested P20,000 in treasury bills (short-term low-risk); P50,000 in a balanced fund (medium-term moderate-risk); and P30,000 in the stock market (long-term high-risk). This means your total money of P100,000 has a risk profile of 20-50-30 (low-moderate-high).
After a year, the net value of your low-risk investments has grown to P21,000; meanwhile, your moderate-risk assets lost a little value and became P49,000; and lastly, your high-risk investments performed well and has grown to P40,000.
Your original portfolio has grown by 10% and is now worth P110,000. But if you calculate your risk profile, you’ll see that it’s now roughly 19-45-36.
If you want your original risk profile of 20-50-30, then you need to rebalance your portfolio by funneling some of your high-risk investments to lower-risk assets.
How To Rebalance Your Portfolio
If the percentage is less than what you want, then consider adding “new low-risk assets” to your portfolio. If it’s more than what you want, then sell some of it and invest in higher risk assets.
If the percentage is less than what you want, then consider adding “low-moderate risk assets” to your portfolio. If it’s more than what you want, then sell some of it and invest in lower or higher risk assets.
If the percentage is less than what you want, then consider adding “moderate-high risk assets” to your portfolio. If it’s more than what you want, then sell some of it and invest in lower risk assets.
Shouldn’t I sell poorly performing assets?
Low-risk assets rarely lose value, they usually just become stagnant (value remains the same, or don’t earn as much). When this happens, you have the option to sell it and buy another type of low-risk asset.
When your moderate-risk assets lose value, it may be a good idea to monitor them more regularly and set a price which you would be willing to sell at a loss. My personal preference is 10%.
In our example, our moderate risk assets went down to P49,000 from P50,000. I shouldn’t worry much about that, but I have to monitor them closely. If their value goes down to P45,000 (losing 10% of its original value), then I would sell those assets to prevent me from possibly losing more.
Lastly, when high-risk investments lose value, then it’s also wise to monitor them more closely and again, set a price which you would sell at a loss. With this, I set it at 20%. High-risk investments tend to be volatile, that’s why I give them “more space” to move down.
Personal finance is personal
I’d like to remind everyone that these are just suggestions. You should always set your own “stop loss” percentages that is in accordance to your personal risk tolerance.
Adding more to your portfolio
If you need to add more assets in your portfolio, always go back and consider the advise I gave in diversification.
When rebalancing, try to sell off investments from over-weighted categories and funnel them to new or under-weighted categories. Also, as long as an investment is not losing money, then my advise is to just let it run its term and grow.
Lastly, always remember to invest regularly. If you have a big amount of money to invest, don’t do it in one go – instead invest in smaller, more frequent, portions so you can take advantage of cost averaging.
I hope you found my three part-series on personal portfolio management helpful. This is exactly how I manage my own finances and I hope you were able to pick up a few tips from it.
End of Part 3 and Series.
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Disclaimer: The investing tips in this post is solely based on personal knowledge and experience. It does NOT constitute as professional financial advice. Consult with a certified adviser to address your specific financial concerns.