Given a wide variety of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to choose from, even the most experienced investor can make mistakes at times. However, these errors should be avoided as much as possible because it can dent your wealth-building plans towards retirement. This is why instead of merely picking according to what sounds like a good idea, you should take time to consider what would be the most suitable mix of holdings for you, which is a process dubbed as asset allocation.

Primarily, this is done to diversify and balance risks by categorizing your holdings as each of them has a different level of returns and risk at certain periods of time. For example, a set of assets may be on the rise, while others are on a downturn. While some experts see this negatively due to moderate yields, this is actually a way to shield against a massive loss in case of a decline. In fact, many professionals consider this as the most important decisions, which should come first before the selection procedure.

Realistically, there is no specific formula on how to spread your assets, but there are points that can serve as guidelines. Some of these are:

1. Risk-Returns as a priority

This is the end point of allocating what you own. Despite every investor wanting to get the highest possible return, this is not achieved simply by picking assets with the highest potential. Having the ability to weigh in these two factors is the crucial part of the whole course as it will determine your tolerance and where you should angle your focus on. For instance, if you cannot keep with constant shifts in the market, you should avoid exposure to equities.

2. Independent planning

Although softwares and survey sheets are convenient ways of managing your finances, do not rely solely on these. One illustration of these is a method used by some advisors in determining how much you should allocate to stocks, which is by subtracting your age from a hundred and using the answer as your distribution percentage. If you are currently 35 years old, minus the figure to a 100, meaning you should stash 65% of your money into stocks.

However, note that these methods do not take into account other important factors such as whether you are a parent or living alone. Keep in mind that these strategies are not laid out for you merely because you will benefit from them, but because it is an easy way for financial institutions.

3. Stick to your original goals

Know whether your targets are for long or short-term. If you want to own a property in 20 years, then there is no need to worry about brief market fluctuations. However, if you are preparing for a college tuition that is 4 to five years away, it will be wiser to focus on safer, fixed-income holdings instead.

4. Avoid delays

For every decade you postpone investing, you would have to save three times more per month in order to catch up. Aside from this, you also miss out the opportunity provided by compounding interest, and waste your chance to be able to opt for high-risk/return investments as well.

5. Implement

After getting the right mix of assets, do a further breakdown of your portfolio and arrange them according to types of stocks and maturity. However, if you have mutual funds into the picture, it can be more complicated, as their names do not give a full information and you have to exert more effort to find out where the assets are invested.