Special Report

Morningstar's 2018 Portfolio Tuneup


Investors can be grateful to Vanguard founder Jack Bogle for drawing attention to the importance of limiting investment costs. They can also thank him for what is perhaps the best piece of succinct investment advice ever uttered: "Don’t peek."

Bogle's point is that the less attention you pay to your portfolio as it grows, shrinks, and otherwise goes its own way, the less likely you are to make changes that you'll regret later on.

He's completely correct that a policy of benign neglect invariably beats one that's too hands-on. But it's possible to be too hands-off, too. That's a particularly big risk as the market--and portfolio balances--continue to climb. Portfolios become too stock-heavy, which tends to amp up volatility and can lead to sequence-of-return risk for soon-to-be and new retirees.

Investors can also grow complacent in their savings habits, assuming that strong market returns will continue to do the heavy lifting for their plans. And portfolios can get unwieldy: Investors often end up with more accounts and holdings than they really need. 

Morningstar's 2018 Portfolio Tuneup is designed to help troubleshoot those problem spots and put your portfolio on track for the year ahead. Over the next week, we'll tackle the key steps to take to tune up a portfolio. On Friday, we'll focus on our model portfolios for retirement savers and retirees.

Monday: Check on Your Portfolio's Viability 

Accumulators: Is Your Retirement Plan on Track?
Rules of thumb won't cut it for this important question; how to customize based on your own situation.

Retirees: Are You Spending Too Much? 
The 4% guideline can put you in the right ballpark, but the best spending policies factor in time horizon, asset allocation, and market fluctuations.

Empty Nest Phase a Crucial Catch-Up Time Before Retirement
Raising children is expensive, so use the empty nest years to redirect your savings toward retirement and avoid lifestyle creep, says financial planning expert Michael Kitces.

How to Bridge a Retirement Shortfall
A combination of incremental, not revolutionary, changes can help bridge the gap.

Tuesday: Gauge Your Asset Allocation

Are You an Asset-Allocation Outlier?
From pensions to small-business ownership, how to know if your mix of stocks, bonds, and cash should not look like the others'.

Assess Your Asset Allocation for Retirement
Tips for customizing your own glide path.

6 Retirement Asset-Allocation Pitfalls to Avoid
Make sure your portfolio's stock/bond mix factors in your risk capacity, nonportfolio income sources, and nonretirement goals.

How to Allocate Assets for College
Families must contend with competing challenges: steep glide paths and high inflation.

Wednesday: Evaluate Holdings Quality

Find the Right Investments for Your Retirement Portfolio
Your knowledge level, desire to be hands-on, tax status, and tolerance for short-term volatility can help you identify the right investments.

Morningstar's Top Retirement Fund Picks for Minimalists
Whether you're seeking a single-fund option or using the building-block approach, here are some of our analysts' best ideas.

Do Your Retirement Investments Need an Upgrade?
Take these steps to see if your holdings could use some sprucing up.

Thursday: Conduct a Tax and Cost Audit

Are You Holding Your Assets in the Right Types of Accounts?
Taking care with asset placement can result in big tax savings.

Get a Tax-Smart Plan for In-Retirement Withdrawals
Consider these strategies to stretch out your tax savings during your retirement years.

Conduct a Cost Audit of Your Portfolio
We look at some investment-related expenses and share tips for avoiding them.

Conduct a Tax Audit of Your Portfolio
Future market returns may be muted. That makes 'small ball,' like tax-efficient investing, more important.

Friday: Model Portfolios for Retirement Savers and Retirees

A Conservative Retirement Portfolio in 3 Buckets
Geared toward retirees with shorter time horizons, this portfolio includes a heavy stake in bonds and cash.

A Moderate Retirement Portfolio in 3 Buckets
This portfolio is geared toward retirees with a 20-year time horizon and moderate risk tolerance.

An Aggressive Retirement Portfolio in 3 Buckets
This stock-heavy portfolio is appropriate for retirees with long time horizons and ample risk tolerance.

A Conservative ETF Bucket Portfolio for Retirement
This ETF-oriented portfolio is ideal for retirees with shorter time horizons.

A Moderate ETF Bucket Portfolio for Retirement
This portfolio is geared toward retirees with roughly 20-year time horizons.

An Aggressive ETF Bucket Portfolio for Retirement
This ETF-oriented portfolio is ideal for retirees with long time horizons.

A Conservative Retirement Saver Portfolio
Even with retirement on the horizon, our portfolio maintains a sizable equity weighting.

A Moderate Retirement Saver Portfolio
Its allocations illustrate that even 40-somethings should be mostly in stocks.

An Aggressive Retirement Saver Portfolio
We employ actively managed mutual funds and a stock-heavy portfolio mix.

A Conservative Retirement Saver Portfolio for ETF Investors
For a pre-retiree, our portfolio includes a larger--and better diversified--stake in bonds.

A Moderate Retirement Saver Portfolio for ETF Investors
This equity-heavy portfolio also includes a small dose of high-quality bonds.

An Aggressive Retirement Saver Portfolio for ETF Investors
An all-passive portfolio for investors with very long time horizons.