After the market turmoil in the past few weeks, retirement portfolios could have easily become unbalanced. Huge gains in the mining industry offset losses in the financial sector, while technology stayed near flat. Now is the best time to even out your portfolio for the long term, and here are factors to consider:
1. Overexposure to your employer
The first place future retirees go to for an investment is usually their own employer. While you might work for one of the fastest growing businesses, it is never a wise decision to invest in the source of your income. Bad times might mean your business goes under, costing your income and a large portion of your retirement fund. Never invest more than a few percentage points of your overall portfolio in your portfolio. Investing heavily in your employer is the worst sign of too many eggs in one basket.
2. Watch overseas
Chances are that your retirement portfolio has profited nicely from overseas investments. Differences in exchange rates and the movement of money to the developing world have created some very large gains. It is also likely that you are now too exposed to what happens outside the borders of your home country. Take some money off the table, out of foreign investments and into some domestic commodity investments. You’ll still have the exposure to a worldwide commodity market, but you can keep your investments at home in your own currency. The currency markets are extremely volatile, and thus, keeping long term money overseas might not be the best investment at this point in time.
Oil stocks are having some of the best runs in history, but the happy days might come to an end. New legislation in the US means that the big oil firms will pay $1.8 Billion more in taxes than they have previously. As the world starts to take notice of the record profits, it is likely that other countries will start taxing the industry at a higher rate. Oil stocks are overbought, and thus, it might be smart to take profits off the table and let the principle roll. The oil market looks strong right now, but $102 oil might not be sustainable. Pull back into alternative energy stocks, which will profit in any market.
Financial stocks were hit hard in the last financial quarter. This is one area where you should definitely minimize your exposure. It is hard to predict if the recent drops are creating a new bottom, or if complete financial sector fallout is in order. Limit your exposure to financial stocks, particularly in companies that hold high amounts of consumer debt.
5. All long
While the markets have historically gone up, it might be time to invest a percentage of your savings into a bear fund, or a fund that sells short the market. In times like this, bear funds do very well and outpace the inverse return of the S&P500. An overall market downtrend means greater returns for short funds.