Portfolio Re-Balancing – Doing It Proactively

1176019_balancingIt is that time of the year when many of us reflect back on the year and start thinking about how we would re-balance our portfolios. We always read about re-balancing our portfolio on various blogs or investment wisdom. Almost all of these sources show us that we should have diversified asset allocation. Now, when it comes to actually doing re balancing, that’s where, I find such resources fall short of a methodology. If I am reading any literature from investment advisory houses or brokerage firms, then I find a fixed template, which ironically remains same for everybody (albeit with some minor tweaks). I have asked few certified financial planners or advisers and almost everybody just repeats the same tape of diversification but misses on how it should be done. There is a school of thought that says sell good ones that have increased value, and buy ones that have reduced in value. Now, why should I sell something when it is consistently giving me returns (and I expect it to continue), or why should I buy something that has reduced in value. The reduced value should be an indication that something is not working, right?

In my view, the process of re-balancing is an ongoing effort. It should be always be part of investor’s ongoing buy and sell decision making process. Depending upon your investment goals and risk profile, individuals should have a set of predetermined criteria which should guide them in making buy/sell decision. This way they are proactively managing their asset allocation. continue reading rest of the article….

Start Running Only After Knowing the Finishing Line

1132907_finish_directionFew weeks back I read an interesting comment to an article on seeking alpha; Investor’s sole objective is to maximize capital appreciation (or returns) and in doing so follow a path of minimum risk. This is not a quote but essentially what it meant. I pondered over it and came to conclusion that comments section is not a place to divulge or express the target and goal. In essence, it does sound right.

So I talked to few other folks about their investing objectives and almost everybody had a similar thought process. Maximize your returns within minimum risk, devoid of any target or methodology. Even after few probing questions, it was clear to me the lack of a target. I even gave examples like, I have 100K to invest, now what should I do and how should I grow this capital. With few exceptions, the response I got was; do this for x% return; do that for xx% return; or wait for this opportunity and then invest to xxx% in three years, etc. I was pretty surprised by this.

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Low Yield Dividend Stocks – What does it mean?

yieldIn last few weeks, I have looked at dividend stocks (aristocrats and achievers) that have dividend yields of less than 2%. There is a school of thought among dividend crowd that low dividend yields will take more than 10, 12, or even 15 years to match income from high yielding CDs or money market accounts. Furthermore, when low yield dividend stocks are compared to high yield dividend stocks, considering conservative dividend growth rates, low yielding stocks will often lag by significant amount. I agree that, mathematically, there is no argument for low yielding dividend stock providing lower income. Purely based on numbers, it is always good to go for relatively higher yield dividends stocks. In general, the cut off used by dividends investors vary such as 2% absolute dividend yield, 3% absolute dividend yield, or dividend yield higher than market (i.e. S&P500 yield).

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When to Initiate a New Position ?

If you are like any other do-it-yourself individual investor, you would have been through this dilemma. When should I initiate a position? As per our individual investing style, criteria and risk profile, we have done our due diligence and come up with price that we are ready to pay. Now if we are in bull market, we do not hesitate and take a plunge. However, if we are in the bear market (like these days), then we hesitate to initiate our position. We start contemplating, should we wait a little bit more? This dilemma is more in case of dividend investors because YOC is sensitive to initial yield.

I have been through this dilemma quite often. Let is think this through with some rational reasoning.

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Performance Measure for Risk-to-Dividend

The continued challenges and slow down in various sectors of the economy is putting stress on dividends paid by many corporations. During year 2008 and so far in 2009, investors have had to experience dividend reductions and/or dividend cuts, thereby affecting their continued dividend income. My dividend portfolio was also affected by dividend elimination/reductions by C, BAC, and PFE. In order to minimize the risk of dividend reduction/elimination from each stock, I have been using the pre-determined maximum limit of 5% of total dividends. This method does not provide a means to measure the changes in risk-to-dividend on continued basis. Therefore, I have come up with the method that I have started using for my dividend portfolio. Here I am discussing a measure of risk-to-dividends, which can be used by individual dividend investors. continue reading rest of the article….

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