She scored fairly well in her last divorce. Her children are grown and self-sufficient. Kay is roughly the same age as Jean in the previous example. And Kay, like Jean, is financially comfortable. But it would be a great mistake for Kay to take the same risks with her money. Unlike Jean, Kay does not have a spouse. Unlike Jean, Kay does not have a pension. Unlike Jean, Kay is not expecting a big inheritance.
Unlike Jean and Raymond, Kay cannot afford to lose any significant portion of her nest egg. She is dependent on that nest egg to stay economically afloat. At her current level of savings and with a fairly modest rate of growth in her portfolio, Kay should be able to retire comfortably within four to five years. On the other hand, if things work out as she plans, Kay may be spending 30 or more years in retirement.
Three years out of business school with an MBA, Juan, single and happy in his city condo, is earning an impressive and growing salary. But because he has been busy paying off loans, he has just started to build his savings. History tells us that a portfolio made up of mostly stocks will likely provide superior growth. Never married, with no children, Miriam wants to retire from her job as a freelance computer consultant while still young enough to fulfill her dreams of world travel.
But she knows that she has a long way to go. However, one commonality is that a mutual fund portfolio will work for all three investors. The three investor categories have differences in their risk tolerance and time horizons and will tend to gravitate towards different types of investment products and returns. The wide world of mutual fund products has something to offer investors of all types.
These portfolio samples are general and may not be appropriate for every investor. However, they do offer insight into the basic guidelines for building a portfolio. An aggressive mutual fund portfolio is appropriate for an investor with a higher-risker tolerance level and a time horizon—the time before you need invested sums returned—longer than 10 years.
Aggressive investors are willing to accept periods of extreme market volatility —the ups and downs in account value. They allow volatility in exchange for the possibility of receiving higher relative returns that outpace inflation by a wide margin. The reason aggressive investors need to have a time horizon longer than 10 years is to have a high allocation to stocks and riskier investments.
If there is a severe downturn in the market, you'll need plenty of time to make up for the decline in value. Put simply, the more allocation to stocks, the longer the period to invest is appropriate. Aggressive portfolios are most appropriate for investors in their 20s, 30s, or 40s because they typically have decades to invest and recoup any losses they may experience. To build your portfolio, all you need to do is choose the mutual funds to fit the respective categories.
Moderate investors are willing to accept periods of moderate market volatility in exchange for the possibility of receiving returns that outpace inflation. Most investors tend to fall into the moderate category, which means they want to achieve good returns but are not comfortable taking high levels of market risk. A conservative portfolio of mutual funds is appropriate for an investor with low-risk tolerance and a time horizon from immediate to longer than three years.
Conservative investors are not willing to accept periods of extreme market volatility and seek returns that match or slightly outpace inflation. Keep in mind that all investors are different. Even if you fall into one of these three broad categories, your financial situation may differ from that of others. Working with a trusted financial advisor or accountant is always recommended for those new to investing.
Jean and Raymond are both public school teachers and both will retire he in two years; she in four with healthy traditional pensions. The couple will also likely bring in supplemental income from private tutoring. Jean and Raymond are in the catbird seat. But given their pensions, is investing in stocks really that risky?
If Jean and Raymond desire to leave a large legacy to their children, grandchildren, or charity , a predominantly stock portfolio may be the way to go. Because equities tend to be so much more lucrative than fixed income in the long run, a greater percentage in equities would likely generate more wealth for the future generations.
Ignoring for the moment a slew of possibly complicating factors from the simple scenario above, they should feel comfortable with an aggressive portfolio: perhaps two-thirds in equity stocks and such and one-third in fixed income bonds and such. This breakdown is shown below. Kay, divorced twice, earns a very modest salary as a medical technician.
She scored fairly well in her last divorce. Her children are grown and self-sufficient. Kay is roughly the same age as Jean in the previous example. And Kay, like Jean, is financially comfortable. But it would be a great mistake for Kay to take the same risks with her money. Unlike Jean, Kay does not have a spouse.
Unlike Jean, Kay does not have a pension. Unlike Jean, Kay is not expecting a big inheritance. Investment platforms are online hubs that allow you to buy investment products and monitor their performance in a one-stop shop. Because you're doing all the hard work of picking your investment, you won't be paying the fees associated with going through a financial adviser.
Cutting these charges can have a significant impact on the performance of your investment portfolio over the long-term. We've reviewed all the major investment platforms and named a handful as 'Which? Recommended Providers'. You can find a full list of asset types and associated risks here. Each different type of investment carries a level of risk.
The riskier the asset, the higher the potential return - and greater the potential loss. We've given our portfolios a spicy theme - the hotter the chilli, the riskier your portfolio is going to be. But those riskier portfolios also have more potential for growth. These portfolios don't constitute financial advice, but can act as a helpful starting point for a conversation with a financial adviser.
The next step to take once you've decided on your ideal portfolio will be how to populate it with actual investments. The easiest way of doing this is through investments funds , such as unit trusts, open-ended investment companies Oeics , investment trusts and exchange traded funds. They're cost-effective, and allow you to further spread risk, compared to investing directly in shares.
Remember, the management costs of your investments can have a big impact on their performance. We suggest you use low-cost tracker funds to fill up your portfolio, although some assets, such as property, may be better suited to higher-cost, actively managed funds. Your approach to investing ultimately depends on your own risk appetite. A more cautious approach would be to wait, and only buy investments when the market enters a sustained recovery. But this means you could miss out on market growth.
In theory, the riskiest tactic — with similarly high potential for reward — is to invest a lump sum. But generally, you'll need to re-assess and rebalance your portfolio annually. This is necessary because, over time, your investments may fall out of sync with your original asset allocation; this tends to happen when one asset, usually equities, grows more quickly than the others. After five years, the whole portfolio had grown, but emerging market equities which are higher-risk have grown faster, meaning they represent a larger proportion of your portfolio, making the portfolio riskier.
You'd need to sell some of your emerging market equities holdings, and reinvest the cash in the other sectors, to return your portfolio's original proportions. Generally speaking, you would also check how your investments are performing and consider selling long-term underperforming assets.
The Money Advice Service has some advice on assessing the performance of your investments , although this should not be taken as financial advice. Money Compare content is hosted by Which? Limited on behalf of Which? Financial Services Limited. Coronavirus Read our latest advice. In this article. The Which? How do I choose investment products? Should I drip-feed or invest in lump sums? How do I rebalance my investment portfolio?