Special Report

Morningstar's 2019 Portfolio Tuneup

Morningstar.com

Investors can be grateful to the late Vanguard founder Jack Bogle for drawing attention to the importance of limiting investment costs, and driving costs down throughout the industry. 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 has climbed for the better part of a decade. (Stocks have returned nearly 15% on an annualized basis over the past decade!) 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 2019 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

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

The Bucket Investor's Guide to Setting Asset Allocation for Retirement
Use anticipated spending needs and probabilities of a positive return over your time horizon to back into the right mix of cash, bonds, and stocks.

Invest for Short- and Intermediate-Term Goals
For goals that are close at hand, how do you balance loss aversion with return potential?

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.

Wednesday: Evaluate Holdings Quality

Morningstar's Top 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.

Morningstar's Top Fund Picks for Taxable Portfolios
Traditional mutual funds and ETFs for tax-efficient exposure to domestic and international stocks as well as bonds.

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.

Thursday: Can Your Portfolio (and You) Withstand Volatile Times?

A 7-Point Risk Drill for Your Portfolio
A calmer market provides the ideal backdrop for a systematic checkup on your portfolio's risk factors. 

12 Battle-Tested, Low-Volatility Funds
When the going has gotten tough, these stock, bond, and allocation funds have held up better than their peers.

Guess What? It May Actually Be Different This Time
In volatile market environments, tune out the pundits and take a look in the mirror.

Friday: Model Portfolios for Retirement Savers and Retirees

The Bucket Approach to Retirement Allocation
Christine Benz shares her model portfolios for savers and retirees.

Christine's Model Portfolios