Do You Know Where Your Investments Are?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

A survey of those who own mutual funds found about 40 per cent didn’t know the names of the funds they bought. Even if you are a pro when it comes to rattling off the latest mutual fund you purchased, you still may not have a clue about the mix of stocks, bonds and other investments. Sadly, mutual fund names don’t always tell the entire story. You have to dig deeper in the prospectus to figure out where fund assets are invested.

Your goal should be to create a balanced asset allocation with the mutual funds you won. Asset allocation is an investment portfolio technique that aims to balance risk and create diversification by dividing assets among major categories such as cash, bonds, stocks, real estate and derivatives. Each asset class has different levels of return and risk, so each will behave differently over time. For instance, while one asset category increases in value, another may be decreasing or not increasing as much. For most investors it’s the best protection against major loss should things ever go amiss in one investment class or sub-class.

There is no simple formula that can find the right asset allocation for every individual. You will need to assess your goals and risk tolerance to find out which asset allocation is best for you.

Savvy Ladies’ Tip: To figure out where fund assets are invested use Morningstar’s Instant X-Ray tool.

Stacy Francis is president and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only wealth management practice dedicated to investment advisory services for women, couples and those experiencing divorce. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies®, a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers women to take control of their finances.

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