Ok...we're back at the asset allocation tool you played around with yesterday. Let's first have a look at some of the categories:
1. Stocks: large cap, mid cap, small cap, foreign stock. Large cap are large companies, mid cap middle size companies etc. Another tool: when confronted with a term you are not sure about (for example "mid cap") or for which you want more info, use investopedia . Adding the percentages for these categories, using the assumptions I have put in the allocation tool, gives me 68%. This is the recommended stock allocation.
Stocks represent the more volatile part of a portfolio. As we'll see, this is where historically the best performance has come from over long periods of time. Generally, the younger you are, the greater you want your exposure to stocks to be. For a 90-year-old, the allocation tool (and hopefully his financial advisor) will recommend a fairly small percentage investment in stocks.
2. Income: bonds, municipals, and cash. This category is generally referred to as bonds, fixed income or just income, as we have labeled it here. When I add these categories, I get 32%. The income portion of the portfolio is less volatile than the stock portion. As you age, you will increase your exposure in bonds. With the allocator tool, run the age up to 90 and watch the purple slice grow!
Asset allocation is, as I mentioned yesterday, a very important determinant of long term performance. There is an ongoing academic debate about how important it is, but nevertheless everyone agrees it is very important!
The bottom line is that it is very easy to use an online calculator to get at an asset allocation. We'll look at the calculator in more detail in the next post.
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