The purpose of investing is to produce a reliable cash flow. This applies to charitable foundations, university endowments and municipal pension funds just as much as it does to individuals. Building a portfolio to produce the best returns in bull markets is only half the story; come the inevitable downturn the portfolio will still be expected to fund ongoing expenses. A return/risk balance must be drawn.
Constructing and Managing a Portfolio
To get started, you must decide on the asset classes that you will invest in. Equity, debt, real estate, commodities and cash cover most of the viable options, and the pros and cons of each (both in the US and internationally) need to be examined carefully.
Next, how ambitious are you? Will you try to beat the market or “settle” instead for just being average? It turns out that being average will often perform best over periods of many years; building a relaible core portfolio is a step that must be established before seeking out active managers to provide alpha.
After this, you will need to choose an investment vehicle. As with asset classes, many options are available and care must be exercised when choosing.
Now that you’ve decided on the asset classes and investment vehicles, which specific securities are best suited to your goals, and how many positions should you hold? The key point to remember at this step is that broad diversification is critically important.
The next part of the process is to determine asset allocation. There is of course no “one-size-fits-all” portfolio, but the examples below are good starting points and can be adapted to suit the needs of a wide range of investors. Click the buttons to take a look.
The final step is to manage the portfolio using Portfolio Rebalancing. This is not only one of the most vital techniques in all of of investing, it is also one of the most misunderstood. Done correctly, it holds the key to capturing investment gains as well as providing the most tax-efficient way to produce cash
To read about portfolio rebalancing, please refer to the Portfolio Management section.