5 Tips For Diversifying Your Portfolio
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Do Your Research

Think about what you'd really like to do on your vacation and create a list to narrow your choices - whether it's hitting the beach, going shopping, climbing a mountain or visiting a museum. Consider whether you can do this somewhere nearby, or whether you know anyone who has done your chosen activities before on a similar budget. Alternatively, travel agencies or even chat rooms on the topic can provide great advice on accommodations, places to dine, things to do and tourist traps to avoid. Internet sites such as Yahoo! Travel, Expedia and Priceline are often useful when seeking reasonable fares.

Diversification is a battle cry for many financial planners, fund managers and individual investors. When the market is booming, it seems almost impossible to sell a stock for any less than the price at which you bought it. When the indexes are on their way up, it may seem foolish to be in anything but equities.
But because we can never be sure of what the market will do at any moment, we cannot forget the importance of a well-diversified portfolio in any market condition.




1. Spread The Wealth

Equities are wonderful, but don't put all of your investment in one stock or one sector. Create your own virtual mutual fund by investing in a handful of companies you know, trust, and perhaps even use in your day-to-day life. People will argue that investing in what you know will leave the average investor too heavily retail-oriented, but knowing a company or using its goods and services can be a healthy and wholesome approach to this sector.

2. Consider Index Or Bond Funds

Consider adding index funds or fixed-income funds to the mix. Investing in securities that track various indexes make a wonderful long-term diversification investment for your portfolio. By adding some fixed-income solutions, you are further hedging your portfolio against market volatility and uncertainty. (To learn more about how index funds can help, read Why It Pays To Be A Lazy Investor.)

3. Keep Building

Add to your investments on a regular basis. Lump-sum investing may be a sucker's bet. If you have $10,000 to invest, use dollar-cost averaging. This approach is used to smooth out the peaks and valleys created by market volatility: you invest money on a regular basis into a specified portfolio of stocks or funds. (To learn more, check out Take Advantage Of Dollar-Cost Averaging.)

4. Know When To Get Out

Buying and holding and dollar-cost averaging are sound strategies, but just because you have your investments on autopilot does not mean you should ignore the forces at work. Stay current with your investment and remain in tune with overall market conditions. Know what is happening to the companies you invest in.

5. Keep a Watchful Eye on Commissions

If you are not the trading type, understand what you are getting for the fees you are paying. Some firms charge a monthly fee, while others charge transactional fees. Be cognizant of what you are paying and what you are getting for it. Remember, the cheapest choice is not always the best. (To learn more, check out Paying Your Investment Advisor - Fees Or Commissions.)

Conclusion

Investing can (and should) be fun. It can be educational, informative and rewarding. By taking a disciplined approach and using diversification, buy-and-hold and dollar-cost-averaging strategies, you may find investing rewarding - even in the worst of times. (To learn more, see our Introduction To Diversification.)


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