It’s been over a year since I came up with my current asset allocation mix, and I should really rebalance my current portfolio to match those percentages again. It really should only take a few minutes of spreadsheet math and some clicking online, but I’ve been plotting out a few long-term asset allocation changes in the meantime and I’ve been putting it off. I really must do one or the other soon.
Rebalancing is a way to maintain the risk/reward balance that you have chosen for your investments, and also forces you to buy temporarily under-performing assets and sell over-performing assets (buy low, sell high). How often one should re-balance their portfolio depends on a few factors. In taxable accounts, rebalancing will create capital gains/losses and therefore tax consequences. In some brokerage accounts, rebalancing will incur commission costs or trading fees. As for me, the vast majority of my retirement portfolio is in tax-sheltered accounts and in mutual fund accounts which are not subject to transaction fees. Some of my funds have redemption fees, though.
After that, some people rebalance on a certain time-based schedule – for example, once every 6-months, every year, or every 2 years. Others wait until certain asset classes shift a certain amount away from their desired targets. I will dig up some good articles on this topic later (here is one math-intensive article to start), but after my previous research I had settled on an annual rebalancing schedule. Of course, that was almost 15 months ago.
If you rebalance, what is your criteria?