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A Beginners’ Guide To Investment Diversification

Why Invest?

Very few people will just stumble into financial security. Often, the sole way to achieve financial security is investing over a long duration. Also, saving is another option. But, what is investing? It’s getting your money to work for you. With that said, there are two ways through which your money would work for you.

Money Earns Money

First, your money can make more money. Someone will pay you to make use of your money for a particular period. Eventually, you’ll get your money back plus the interest. Say you purchase stock in a firm which pays dividends to its shareholders. That company will then regularly pay you a portion of its earnings. In such a case, your money will be making an ‘income’.

Invest in Property

Secondly, you can purchase something whose value will increase. You’ll own something which will hopefully increase in value. Then, you sell it when you require that money back. That’s in the hope that someone else will purchase it for more.

Compound Interest

Compound interest is among the key aspects of investing. It earns you interest on the amount you save, as well as on the interest earned by that particular money. Over time, small amounts of savings will add up to big money. You’ll, therefore, be able to realize your financial goals.

Save $1 Each Day

For instance, let’s assume you save $1 every day. That’ll add up to $365 in one year. Invest that $365, earning 5% annually. Finally, it’d grow to $465.84 in five years and $1,577.50 in 30 years. That’s the power of ‘compounding’. Remember, all investments involve risk. For example, you might want to purchase securities like bonds, stocks, or mutual funds. It’s vital that you understand that you can potentially lose some or all of that money.

The Risk Here

Money that’s invested in securities isn’t federally insured. That’s in contrast with deposits made at NCUA-insured credit unions and FDIC-insured banks. You can lose the principal (the amount spent). That remains true even if you buy securities through a bank. Then, what’s in for you for taking the risk? It’s the potential for greater investment returns.

Do you have financial goals with a long-term horizon? Then, you can make money by investing in high-risk assets. Such include bonds and stocks. However, investing solely in cash-based investments would be appropriate for a short-term financial goal. Inflation risk is the principal concern for investing in cash equivalents. That’s the risk that inflation might outpace, and thus erode returns.

One Basket for All Your Eggs Isn’t a Good Idea

It’s not a great idea when it comes down to investing. As an investor, diversifying your portfolio is thus necessary. It’ll help protect yourself from losing substantial portions of your assets in down markets. The idea here is that in a case where one investment loses money, others will make up for that loss.

To diversify correctly, you ought to spread the risk between different asset classes. For example, you can select bonds, stocks, or cash between sectors within asset classes. Choose among the various asset sectors and classes. But, creating a successful strategy is dependent on your financial goals. Also, it depends on comfort with volatility.

Counter Risk by Building a Diversified Portfolio

You’d want to create a diversified portfolio and reduce risk. Then, you’ll need to incorporate different assets within your portfolio. The much you place in bonds for income and market funds for liquidity is dependent on time horizons. In fact, that’s the key determinant to achieving your investment goals. Also, it’ll help you achieve risk tolerance.

An easy rule of thumb here is to place in your stocks versus bonds and subtract your age from 100. Then, put that percentage in stocks. Place the rest in bonds. For example, if you’re 30 years old, place 70% of your investments in stocks. Put the remaining 30% in bonds. Bonds will help provide stability and income to your portfolio.

Diversifying with each kind of investment is good. Therefore, your portfolio ought to contain various assets. All shouldn’t be affected the same way by any market events. A potential loss in one kind of investment will be offset by a gain in another. You can also achieve further diversification by adding assets. For instance, consider commodities, real estate funds, and international funds.

Besides, diversifying by market capitalization, domestic, or international markets is an excellent idea. Other worthy sectors include energy, technology, and utilities. Briefly put, spread your assets across varying parts of the stock market. In turn, it’ll help reduce risk. You should take into consideration different maturities, durations, and credit qualities. Such are directly related to the interest rates.

Stocks may provide a higher opportunity for growth over a long term. But, bonds promise to cushion against unpredictable movements of the stock market. While there could be a downturn in a particular category, you’ll have reduced the risk. Spread your investments across various categories to achieve that.

Market Downturns

Let’s assume you had invested all your money in 2007 in the U.S. stock market. You’d then have lost over 30% the following year. But, what if you had diversified your portfolio, say half in bonds and the other half in stocks? The loss would thus have been 17%. Yes, that’s not great, but it’s much better than a 30% decrease.

You can’t define which market class will be up or down. Diversifying your assets hence promises you the best risk-adjusted return. A diversified portfolio will have a better long-term investment result. It’ll help insulate your portfolio against financial losses.

Diversification doesn’t promise that your investments won’t suffer in case of market drops. But, it’ll increase the probability that you won’t lose your money. And in case you do, it’ll not be as much as it would if you hadn’t diversified.

Investment Strategy

Look at your investment strategy. Then, determine whether you’re investing well for your risks and needs. The stability of blue chips can be tempting. But, you ought to have some in active investments. Putting all your money into high-risk investments is among the recipes for disaster. The key here is the balance.

Stocks

Have you got enough stocks? You might be tempted to invest in one or two companies which are stable. However, that’s another recipe for disaster. It’ll prove futile in case one of those firms takes a nosedive. Having many companies in your portfolio would be wise.

It’ll enable you to catch the wave on others even when some under-perform. How many businesses are enough? We’d recommend 10-30 stocks as adequate diversification. If you’re a beginning investor, starting with ten would be perfect. But, more seasoned investors can incorporate more as required.

Which stocks are under-performing? You’d not mind the blue-chip investments with small growth. But, there should be some action with your high-risk investments. Shed under-performers. Look out for stocks that you’re selling when they’ve earned a good profit. Do you see the prices getting any higher?

Invest in New Industries

Consider new industries which you can invest in. There’s a lot of information to accumulate from the world around you. First, look at people around you. What new products are they using? Also, look at the products you find the most or least useful in your life. Then, determine whether those brands are publicly traded. If they’re worth your dollars for use, they would then be worth your investment dollars as well.

The Battle Cry of Diversification

You need to establish a strategy which tempers potential losses. One common thing is preached in the real estate market – location. Similarly, that applies when it comes down to diversification. It proves to be a battle cry. It has proven to be so for individual investors, financial planners, and fund managers.

It’ll seem impossible to sell a stock for less than the price at which you had purchased it. That might be more difficult when the market is booming. You can never be certain of what the market will do at the next moment. You wouldn’t thus forget the necessity of a diversified portfolio in any market condition.

We can decide to enjoy the luxury of hindsight. We can sit and critique the reactions and gyrations of the markets. They started stumbling after the 90s. They stumbled again in 2007. But remember, investing isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. It’s an art form.

Therefore, you need to practice disciplined investing with a well-diversified portfolio. That’s even before diversification becomes a necessity. A suitable offense is your only defense. Combining a diversified portfolio with a 3-5 years investment horizon will weather most storms. We’re going to feature some handy diversification tips which you can follow:

  • Spread Your Wealth: Yes, equities are excellent. But again, don’t place all your investment in one sector or one stock. Design your virtual mutual fund through investing in different companies that you trust. Perhaps, businesses that you use in your life now and then would be a better idea. Some might want to argue against investing in companies you know. They assert that it’d leave the average investor heavily-oriented. But, knowing a company is a healthy, wholesome approach to this sector.
  • Index or Bond Funds: You can consider adding fixed-income or index funds to the mix. It’s a fantastic long-term diversification idea to invest in securities which track various indexes. Also, add some fixed-income solutions. As a result, you’ll further hedge your portfolio against the market uncertainty and volatility.
  • Build, Build, and Build: Keep building! Add to your investments. A sucker’s bet would be lump-sum investing. For example, say you’ve got $10,000 to invest. In such a case, you can make use of dollar-cost averaging. It’s an approach you can use to smooth out valleys and peaks created by market volatility. Invest your money into a particular portfolio of funds or stocks.
  • Know When It’s Right to Get Out: Dollar-cost averaging, buying and holding are sound strategies. But, you shouldn’t ignore forces at work simply because you’ve investments on autopilot. Stay in tune with market conditions. Strive to know what’s happening to the companies you’ve invests in. Simply put, stay updated about your investments.
  • Commissions: Maintain a keen eye on those fees. Say you’re not the trading kind. Then, understand what you’re getting for fees you’ve paid. Some firms charge transaction fees while other charge monthly fees. Therefore, stay cognizant of what you’re paying, as well as what you’re getting for it. Bear in mind that the cheapest choices aren’t always the best.

Is There Need for Improving Your Diversification?

Look at your investments’ list. You might realize that you’ve concentrated your portfolio in one area. Here are several common problems:

  • Don’t stash all you cash in one savings account. Consider spreading it between instant access savings accounts and other alternatives. For instance, consider an investment fund or cash bonds.
  • Do you’ve lots of money which are worth more than six months of your living expenses? If so, then consider placing some of that excess cash into investments. Consider fixed interest securities and shares. You should especially do that if you intend to invest the money for five or more years. Do it if you’re unlikely to need access to your capital over that time.
  • Are you heavily invested in one company’s shares? That might be your employer. Then, you ought to seek ways to add diversification.

How’s Your Appetite for Risk?

Yes, diversification is important. But, bear in mind how much risk you’re prepared to approve on your money. Is it so important for you to avoid losses? Then, you’ll want a portfolio which has less in shares. It needs to have much more in cash and several fixed interest securities.

Diversification is a topic that’s widely known in finance. However, most people don’t understand what true diversification of an investment portfolio entails. Additionally, most individuals find it difficult to ensure that their investments are properly allocated.

Financial Advice

In case you’re uncertain on how you ought to diversify, then you can always seek a financial advisor. They’ll provide you with invaluable tips on how you can diversify your portfolio. Changes you intend to put in place to your portfolio might seem complicated. You might be needing help in understanding diversification and risk. You ought to consider seeking help from a financial advisor.

Begin Right Now!

Investment ought to be fun. It’s rewarding, informative, and educational. Take a disciplined approach and use diversification strategies. You’ll find investing to be rewarding, even in those worst times. Investment diversification will protect your money from any adverse stock market conditions. Life often starts at the end of the comfort zone. Similarly, that principle applies to investment. You thus need to begin diversifying and saving right now!

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