Now that spring has officially sprung, you might look around your home and decide it’s time for some sprucing up. But you don’t have to confine your efforts to your house and yard — you can also engage in a little “spring cleaning” in your investment portfolio.
Here are a few suggestions for doing just that:
- “Dust off” your investment strategy. Dusting is a big part of spring cleaning. Light fixtures, shelves, windowsills — they can all acquire layers of dust and grime that need to be whisked away. And if you’ve left your investment strategy unexamined for a long period, it too may need to be “dusted off” and reevaluated. Over time, your financial goals, family situation and even risk tolerance can change, so it’s a good idea to review your overall strategy to make sure it’s still appropriate for your needs.
- Get rid of “clutter.” Once you start tidying up your house, you might be surprised at all the “duplicates” you find — a broom in a bedroom, another broom in the laundry room, a third in the garage and so on. Just as you probably don’t need multiple brooms, so you may find that you have many versions of the same type of investment in your portfolio. If you own too many of the same investment, and a market downturn affects that particular asset, your portfolio could take a big hit. You may be better off by selling some of the too-similar investments and using the proceeds to diversify your holdings. (However, while diversification can reduce the impact of volatility on your portfolio, it can’t guarantee profits or protect against loss.)
- Remove “stains” on your portfolio. As you clean your carpets and furniture, you might notice some stains that should be removed. And when you look through your portfolio, you might find some “stains” in the form of chronically underperforming investments. Instead of holding on to these vehicles with the hope that they will eventually turn around, you might consider selling them and using the proceeds to purchase new investments, which can help fill any gaps you may have in your holdings.
- Consolidate your accounts. Have you ever discovered a stapler in one drawer, a roll of tape in the linen closet and a bunch of marking pens on your desk? All these items may be useful, but for the sake of efficiency (and to cut down on frustrating searches), you might want to consolidate them in one place. And you could do something similar with your investments. Specifically, if you have some stocks here, a couple of certificates of deposits there and some IRAs at still another place, you might consider consolidating them with one financial services provider. With all your investments in one place, you could possibly reduce the fees and paperwork associated with maintaining your accounts. And when you eventually start taking withdrawals from your IRA and 401(k), you may find it easier to calculate these required distributions if they’re coming from just one place. But just as importantly, when you consolidate your investments with one provider, you may find it easier to follow a single, unified investment strategy.
So, there you have them — some spring-cleaning ideas to help you update and energize your investment portfolio. And you won’t even need a dustpan.