Investment planning addresses an individual's investment needs, asset allocation, and the suitability of different types of securities in light of your goals and risk tolerance.
In today's world, there are common needs and desires people seek to accomplish. To protect their ability to earn and accumulate wealth, many people choose to hold insurance, as well as maintain an emergency fund, to guard against depleting savings that are intended for other goals.
Asset allocation is used to distribute your investable assets among a variety of investment categories. This process aims to:
- Reduce overall investment risk
- Create more reliable investment forecasts
- Improve the risk/return tradeoff of your portfolio
Investment planning also involves the choice of securities for your investment portfolio. Basic securities are stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Separately managed accounts, option strategies, short-term assets, and annuities also may be used to optimize your portfolio.
Alternative investments may also be an option for the right investor. One of the premier features of alternative investments is diversification, resulting from the inclusion of investments that react differently to the markets than more traditional investments. Managed futures, hedge funds, oil and gas, tax shelters, and real estate are all examples of alternative investments. These products generally involve substantial risk and limited liquidity.
Some situations require different expertise than typical stock and bond portfolio implementation. These situations usually pertain to employer-related retirement plans and stock options, margin strategies, and real estate exchanges.
Most investors understand that as risk increases, the potential for return also increases. But there is a point for every individual where the level of risk is not worth the potential return. The goal of asset allocation is to provide you with the risk/return scenario that is most comfortable for you.
Investors should note that diversification and asset allocation do not assure against market loss and that there is no guarantee that a diversified or allocated portfolio will outperform a non-diversified or non-allocated portfolio.