'Age' Old Considerations: Asset Allocation Strategies
We have heard individuals ask how age should impact investment decisions. This is a great question and a timely one. Unfortunately, many Americans are not investing appropriately for their age--including millennials, who are often investing too conservatively.1
As a rule of thumb, we know that younger investors should be more aggressive and older investors more conservative--but we want to go into a little more detail on age-based strategies.
After determining investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance/capacity, investors then configure a blend of various asset classes within a portfolio. This is known as asset allocation, which is a key factor in a portfolio’s overall return as well as its volatility.
The primary asset classes are equities (stocks), fixed income (bonds), and cash (money market accounts, and commercial paper and T-bills (cash equivalents)). When further diversification is desired, there are also precious metals like gold and real estate investment trusts (REITs)--and for some investors, more volatile assets like cryptocurrency. The key is determining the correct allocation and being able to stick to it.
Designing the Right Mix
For the sake of simplicity, let’s talk about a portfolio’s main components; stocks, and bonds. There are a few basic tenets for a starting point for allocation based on age.
Conservative Risk Tolerance: Age in Bonds -- This would entail a 30% allocation to fixed income products for a 30-year-old, a 50% allocation for a 50-year-old. However, this may be too conservative for many investors.
Moderate Risk Tolerance: Age Minus 20 in Bonds -- In this strategy, a 60-year-old investor would have a 40% allocation to bonds, while a 25-year-old investor would have a 5% allocation.
Aggressive Risk Tolerance: Age Minus 40 Multiplied by 2 in Bonds -- Here, a 50-year-old investor would have a 20% allocation to bonds and 80% to stocks. This configuration showcases how a target-date mutual fund dynamically shifts asset allocations over time.
Rule of 110 in Stocks -- This is simply taking your age and subtracting it from 110. So, a 30-year-old investor would have an 80% exposure in stocks, while a 60-year-old would have a 50%.
A Task Best Done With Professional Guidance
While these mathematical concepts are great starting points, they do not factor in each individual’s risk tolerance/capacity or investment objectives. That is one of the reasons we are here -- to help determine what is right for you.
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions regarding asset allocation, the stock market, or your specific investments.
1 Avoiding the Stock Market May Cost Millennials $3.3 Million - NerdWallet
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