You may have come across the term “asset allocation” as you read about investing. It’s one of the most important concepts to understand, and isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
Even though almost anything we own is an asset (furniture, cars, education, art), the assets we’re addressing here are stocks, bonds, and cash.
Each asset type carries a certain amount of risk and reward (called return). Cash is the lowest risk – a $100 bill won’t turn into $50 if you put it in your sock drawer for a month. But it’s also the lowest return – that $100 bill won’t magically turn into $200, either. Stocks are the other end of the spectrum: high risk, high return.
If you’re not thinking “how can I get the highest return while taking the lowest risk?” you may be asleep at your desk. Pay attention! The goal is to maximize return while minimizing risk. Since there are virtually unlimited combinations of assets in a portfolio, you can choose the risk/return scenario that you feel most comfortable with.
Generally, the younger you are, the more stocks you should own. In fact, there’s a simple formula for calculating the percentage of stocks to own: 130 (or 120) minus your age. For most millennials saving for retirement, stocks are the way to go, with perhaps a minor allocation to bonds and cash.
Until next time,