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Wednesday 24th July 2024

Word of the week – Portfolio  

Investing in a portfolio. Pictured an ipad with investing graphs.


A portfolio is a collection of different investments that an individual holds. Think of it as a basket that holds various types of financial assets, each contributing in its own way to your overall financial health. 

What’s inside a portfolio? 

A typical portfolio includes a mix of investments, each serving a different purpose and carrying its own level of risk and return. 

  1. Stocks: These are essentially slices of ownership in companies. When you buy a stock, you’re buying a piece of that company. If the company does well, your slice increases in value. Stocks can be a great way to grow your money, but they can also be quite volatile, meaning their prices can go up and down. 
  1. Bonds: These are like IOUs from companies or governments. You lend them money, and they promise to pay you back with interest. Bonds are generally safer than stocks, and they provide regular income, making them a good choice for those who want steady, reliable returns. 
  1. Cash and cash equivalents: This includes savings accounts and other short-term investments. While they don’t offer much in the way of returns, they are very safe and easily accessible. Having cash on hand can be a good way to ensure you can quickly respond to emergencies or opportunities. 
  1. Real estate: Investing in property can provide rental income and potential appreciation in value. It’s a more tangible form of investment and can be a good way to diversify your portfolio. 
  1. Mutual funds and ETFs: These are pooled funds that allow you to invest in a broad range of assets. Managed by professionals, they offer diversification without requiring you to pick individual investments yourself. 

Having a portfolio is crucial because it helps you manage and balance risk. The idea is that by diversifying your investments, you reduce the impact of any one investment performing poorly.

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If you only invested in one company’s stock and it did poorly, you could lose a lot of money. But if you have a mix of different investments, the others might perform well and help offset the loss. 

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Managing your portfolio 

Managing a portfolio isn’t just about picking investments and forgetting about them. It involves regular maintenance to ensure it stays aligned with your financial goals and risk tolerance. 

  • Asset allocation: This is about deciding what proportion of your portfolio to put into each type of investment. For example, if you’re younger and can take more risk, you might have more stocks. If you’re closer to retirement, you might shift more into bonds and cash to reduce risk. 
  • Rebalancing: Over time, the value of your investments will change, and this can shift your portfolio out of balance. For instance, if your stocks perform really well, they might make up a larger portion of your portfolio than you originally planned. Rebalancing involves selling some of the better-performing investments and buying more of the others to keep your portfolio aligned with your goals. 
  • Tax efficiency: In the UK, you can use tax-efficient accounts like ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) to shelter your investments from taxes. This means you won’t pay tax on the returns you make, which can help your money grow faster. 

Photo by Burak The Weekender

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