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Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Investment Portfolio Management

Published by Motley Fool Wealth Management on Wed, Sep 15, 2021
Investment management: Where the rubber meets the road

Overwhelmed with managing your investment portfolio? Unsure of what to do with your 401(k) after you switched jobs? Concerned about how to grow your wealth?

These are some of the questions that our clients have when they approach us for investment portfolio management. Because many individuals want to grow their assets, but are unsure of how or where to start. 

Each person's financial position and goals differ. You may want to retire at age 55 but your sister may have young children and need to save for college. Even if you know where you are—and where you'd like to be with respect to your money—getting from point A to point B can be daunting. An investment manager can help.

Investment portfolio management goals and objectives are unique to you

The objectives of portfolio management center around your wealth goals—which include your unique financial milestones. These are influenced by a discrete time horizon and attitude about risk—both tolerance and capacity.

Risk tolerance refers to how much potential downside you can stomach before constant worry keeps you up at night. On the other hand, risk capacity refers to your ability to afford potential losses. It’s important to consider both. If the risk of loss causes constant anxiety, then the risk level is above your tolerance. Likewise, if a significant market downturn could result in a devastating loss that you cannot afford, the risk level is above your capacity. The goal is to strike a balance between being too conservative and positioning for growth.

Investment management gives you potential performance and peace of mind

While your portfolio should reflect your attitudes and objectives, it has one ultimate goal: Giving you peace of mind while knowing that your money is hard at work. We believe that this is accomplished in a three-step process.


  1. Asset Allocation. Your goals inform your optimal investment portfolio allocation—the appropriate mix of equities, bonds, and cash. Depending on whether your investment objective is growth, income, or preservation of capital, asset allocation combines strategies aimed at achieving those results. For example, you may seek monthly income while looking to grow principal. In this case, you might see a portfolio constructed of dividend-paying stocks and investment-grade bonds. The mix might be 70% stocks and 30% bonds, or some other ratio depending on your age and risk tolerance. With investment portfolio management, as time passes and your goals change, the composition of your portfolio will be adjusted to reflect your new circumstances.
  2. Diversification. One of the best ways to mitigate risk is to spread it out. The more individual stocks you own, for instance, the less likely poor performance among two or three companies will drag down your overall investment returns. Diversification also involves investing in unrelated asset classes. If U.S. stocks are having a rough quarter, the same might not hold true with international stocks. Tangentially related to asset class diversification is broadening the scope of strategies employed within your portfolio. For example, some exposure to “alternative” strategies (such as hedge equity or “long-short” strategies) and private fund investments (e.g., hedge funds, private equity) may round out your portfolio, if you have the appropriate level of assets and financial sophistication. These concepts may help control the volatility—drastic up-and-down swings—of a portfolio.
  3. Rebalancing. This is an essential part of portfolio management. The mix of assets is continuously monitored and tweaked to make sure that it stays aligned with risk tolerance and financial goals. To illustrate, let's assume you chose to have 30% of your money in growth stocks. A robust economy moved the value of those stocks to 40% of the overall portfolio. An investment manager would rebalance the portfolio so the percentage of growth stocks falls back to 30%.

Alleviating stress with portfolio management services

Many individuals manage their own portfolios. But even if you’ve been successful in the past, as circumstances complicate or retirement looms, you might want to enlist the help of a professional financial planner and money manager to help strategize and aim to achieve your wealth plan. That way you could kick back and leave the money management to a skilled team of investment professionals. 


The content in this article is provided for informational purposes only, reflects our general views on investing, and should not be relied upon as recommendations or financial planning advice. We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues. 

Access to Motley Fool Wealth Management (“MFWM”) is only available to clients pursuant to an Investment Advisory Agreement and acceptance of MFWM's Client Relationship Summary (PDF) and Brochure (PDF - 204 KB). You are encouraged to read these documents carefully. All investments involve risk and may lose money. MFWM does not guarantee the results of any of its advice or account management. Clients should be aware that their individual account results may not exactly match the performance of any of our Model Portfolios. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Each Personal Portfolio is subject to an account minimum, which varies based on the strategies included in the portfolio. MFWM retains the right to revise or modify portfolios and strategies if it believes such modifications would be in the best interests of its clients.

During discussions with our Certified Financial Planners, they may provide advice with respect to 401(k) rollovers into accounts that are managed by MFWM. Such recommendations pose potential conflicts of interest in that rolling retirement savings into a MFWM managed account will generate ongoing asset-based fees for MFWM that it would not otherwise receive.