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4 Reasons Why You Need To Rebalance Your Portfolio


Creating a well-diversified portfolio is a pivotal task in investing. However, your work is far from complete, even after drafting a diversified portfolio. It is also essential to recheck your allocation from time to time. Rebalancing is a critical step that can help you optimize your portfolio’s performance. This practice involves periodic adjustments to your investments to ensure they align with your financial objectives. Rebalancing your investments can help you navigate the dynamic nature of the markets. It ensures that your portfolio aligns with your risk tolerance and enables you to establish the desired equilibrium between stocks and bonds. This helps you maintain a risk profile that resonates with your financial goals. Portfolio rebalancing also acts as a preventive measure against impulsive decisions. By adhering to a systematic approach of periodically readjusting your portfolio, you avoid succumbing to market fluctuations and making rash choices that may compromise the overall stability and performance of your investments. However, it is vital to know the right time to rebalance your portfolio. Doing it too often or rarely will likely not offer you the same benefits.

Consider consulting with a professional financial advisor who can help you understand how often to rebalance your portfolioThis article will discuss the reasons to rebalance your portfolio so you can adjust your investment allocations at an appropriate time to stay on track for attaining your financial objectives.

What are the reasons for rebalancing your investments?

The need and timing of portfolio rebalancing can vary among investors. There are no strict guidelines on when and how often you should be rebalancing your portfolio. Some people prefer regular reviews and may schedule rebalancing once or twice a year, while others may address the imbalances as they arise. Typically, an annual rebalancing can suffice for most investors. However, a more frequent assessment may be prudent at certain times. For instance, if market conditions become exceptionally volatile and your portfolio shows significant deviations from your target allocations, it is advisable to conduct a reassessment sooner rather than later. You can also consult a financial advisor to get help implementing appropriate portfolio rebalancing strategies or use DIY (do it yourself) portfolio tracking tools.

Below are 4 reasons, scenarios, or methods to rebalance your portfolio:

1. Regular rebalancing

Regular rebalancing is a common strategy that most investors adopt. It is also referred to as time-based rebalancing or calendar rebalancing. It involves the systematic adjustment of your portfolio at predetermined intervals throughout the year, commonly on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. Unlike other methods, this strategy adheres to a fixed schedule and is employed irrespective of the prevailing market conditions. The primary objective of regular rebalancing is to maintain a consistent alignment between your portfolio and your investment objectives. Calendar rebalancing instills discipline in your investment approach. The predefined schedule encourages regular reviews and adjustments and promotes consistency in managing your portfolio. Your portfolio consistently reflects your long-term investment goals if you habitually rebalance it at set intervals. It allows you to realign your asset allocations as your financial objectives evolve. Moreover, this method is straightforward and simple to implement. It does not require constant monitoring of market fluctuations, which makes it suitable for investors who prefer a more hands-off approach.

However, calendar rebalancing may lead to overtrading, particularly in stable market conditions. Constant adjustments at regular, frequent intervals can also result in transaction costs and tax implications, ultimately impacting your overall returns. Moreover, this strategy pays little attention to current market conditions. For example, adhering strictly to a calendar-based rebalancing schedule may be challenging in situations of heightened volatility or rapid market changes.

2. In times of market volatility

Rebalancing can be a pertinent strategy in the face of market volatility. If your investments exhibit noticeable trends, whether upward or downward, it may be a good time to review your portfolio. This proactive approach can allow you to respond to evolving market conditions. Rebalancing during market volatility can help you mitigate risk by ensuring that your portfolio remains aligned with your risk tolerance. This can prevent overexposure to volatile assets and reduce the potential consequence of market downturns on your investments. During upward trends in the stock market, rebalancing can allow you to capitalize on emerging opportunities. This can lead to increased returns when stocks are performing well. Rebalancing also prevents portfolio drift by maintaining your preferred target allocations. For example, if your stocks outperform and exceed the predetermined percentage, rebalancing can help you bring the portfolio back in line with the original asset allocation. This is also known as percentage-based rebalancing. Suppose your stock allocation grows to 70% of your total allocation. Rebalancing your portfolio can help you bring it back to a percentage ideal for your goals and risk appetite.

It is important to note that this method may have some pitfalls. Frequent rebalancing in response to short-term market movements may lead to higher transaction costs. You must weigh these costs against the potential benefits before making any decisions. Reacting to short-term market movements may also lead to overreactions, especially during periods of heightened volatility. You may risk making decisions based on temporary fluctuations rather than considering long-term fundamentals.

Moreover, attempting to time the market for optimal rebalancing can be challenging. Predicting the duration and intensity of market trends is almost impossible and inherently uncertain. This can result in poor decision-making, especially if you lack enough experience in the market.

3. Before major life events

Aligning your portfolio with significant life events can help you accommodate your changing priorities. As you age, grow in your profession, approach retirement, expect a child, buy a house, or experience a significant health event, you may need to make changes to your investment strategies. Regularly reviewing and rebalancing your investment portfolio can help you do this. Rebalancing during major life events allows your portfolio to adapt to shifting financial goals. If you are saving for a child’s education, securing a home, or planning for retirement, aligning your investments with these milestones can ensure your portfolio remains in sync with evolving priorities.

Major life events often coincide with changes in your risk tolerance. Rebalancing enables you to manage risk by adjusting your asset allocation to match your current risk appetite. This ensures that your investment strategy aligns with your comfort level. Proactively reassessing and rebalancing your portfolio before significant life events helps you enhance your financial preparedness. This helps ensure that your investment strategy is optimized to meet the upcoming financial challenges or opportunities associated with these milestones.

While adapting your portfolio to significant life events is a prudent strategy, you should approach it with careful consideration. It is important not to overreact to short-term financial needs associated with major life events and to avoid emotional decision-making. People are often emotional as they approach major milestones. These times may lead to impulsive changes in your portfolio that may not align with your long-term financial objectives. Therefore, it may be advised to consult a financial advisor and understand how to rebalance your portfolio correctly.


4. If you need to diversify your portfolio

Diversification is a fundamental principle of a sound investment strategy. You can rebalance your portfolio if you believe your portfolio lacks diversification or if you are contemplating the addition of a new asset class. An under-diversified portfolio is susceptible to concentrated risk. Depending heavily on a few assets or sectors increases your portfolio’s vulnerability to poor performance in those specific areas. This exposes you to higher levels of risk. It also leaves the portfolio more susceptible to significant losses.

On the other hand, a well-diversified portfolio can help you earn returns from various assets. It increases the potential for overall portfolio growth. Different asset classes may perform differently under varying market conditions. This provides opportunities for positive returns.

You can also rebalance your portfolio if you suspect your portfolio is over-diversified. Over-diversification can lead to the dilution of potential returns. Holding too many assets may limit the impact of the strong performers on your overall portfolio. Moreover, managing an excessively diversified portfolio can become complex and time-consuming. Monitoring numerous holdings may require more attention and effort and potentially lead to suboptimal decision-making.

Rebalancing can allow you to maintain your target asset allocation and ensure that your portfolio remains in sync with your age, risk tolerance, and investment goals. It can provide the opportunity to capitalize on market opportunities. Selling underperforming assets and reallocating to overperforming ones can enhance the overall portfolio performance. However, keep in mind that rebalancing may involve transaction costs, particularly if you end up doing it frequently. You should carefully consider the impact of these costs on your overall returns.

Some frequently asked questions about portfolio rebalancing:

1. Should I rebalance my 401(k)?

Yes, similar to your overall investment portfolio, your 401(k) retirement account may also benefit from periodic rebalancing. Periodic reassessment and adjustment become particularly crucial during significant life events and changing employment circumstances. When you change jobs, you may have the option to roll over your 401(k) from your previous employer into a new one. This can be an excellent opportunity to reassess your investment strategy. It is also essential to evaluate whether your 401(k) allocation aligns with your evolving goals at crucial milestones, such as when you get married, have children, or retire. Rebalancing during market fluctuations can also help you bring your portfolio back to its target allocation and prevent over-concentration in one area.

2. How often to rebalance a 401(k)?

The frequency of rebalancing your 401(k) is a subjective decision and depends on your individual preferences. Some investors may opt for quarterly or annual rebalancing, while others may rebalance more or less frequently based on market conditions and personal circumstances. There is no fixed rule, and you can choose a frequency that aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance.

3. Why should I rebalance my portfolio?

You may need to rebalance your portfolio for several reasons, such as market fluctuations, changes in your risk tolerance, major life events, such as marriage, childbirth, or retirement, or when specific asset classes deviate significantly from their target allocations. Regular portfolio reviews help identify these triggers and make changes to your investment strategy.

4. Can I rebalance my portfolio on my own?

Yes, you can rebalance your portfolio independently. Many online platforms and brokerage accounts offer tools that let you rebalance your portfolio. However, working with a financial advisor can provide you with personalized guidance based on your current financial situation. They can assess your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon to develop a customized rebalancing strategy that aligns with your objectives. In times of market volatility, having a financial advisor can help you stay focused on your long-term goals and navigate market fluctuations without succumbing to impulsive decisions driven by emotions.

5. Are there drawbacks to frequent portfolio rebalancing?

Frequent rebalancing involves buying and selling assets. Each transaction incurs costs, including brokerage fees and other associated expenses. Cumulatively, these transaction costs can erode the overall returns of your portfolio. Rebalancing may also trigger capital gains taxes. Short-term capital gains, in particular, are taxed at a higher rate than long-term gains.

Frequent portfolio rebalancing also demands a more active approach to monitoring the market, economic trends, and individual asset performance. This level of engagement may be time-consuming and require a deep understanding of market dynamics.

To conclude

Maintaining a well-balanced and diversified portfolio is a fundamental aspect of investing. Periodic reassessment and adjustment through portfolio rebalancing are essential to optimize the performance of your investments and align them with your financial objectives. Rebalancing provides a systematic approach to navigating the dynamic nature of the market. It also ensures that your risk tolerance is consistently maintained. Having said that, the decision of when and how often to rebalance your portfolio is subjective. You can choose a frequency that suits your financial goals and risk tolerance.

A financial advisor can help you select an appropriate time to rebalance your portfolio. You can use WiserAdvisor’s free advisor match service and hire a financial advisor who can help you with portfolio rebalancing. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions based on your financial needs, and the match tool can help connect you with 2 to 3 advisors best suited to meet your financial requirements.




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