In the fourth and concluding part of his series on mutual fund investment, Sanjay Matai examines the need to be alert about your portfolio; as occasional changes are necessary to get the maximum long-term returns
It is true that investments should be for the long term; only then will you enjoy maximum benefits. But that doesn't mean that having made your investments you pay no attention to them.
There could be many reasons requiring you to make changes in your portfolio from time to time. So while your investment would be for long term, the specific investment options may keep changing.
However, the converse is also true - you don't have to pay too much attention. Frequent changes not only increase transaction costs, but are also cumbersome and tax-inefficient. In normal circumstances, reviewing your portfolio once in three to six months should be adequate.
Of course, you may have to make changes in the interim in case there is some significant event that is likely to affect your portfolio.
Even if everything else remains the same, the portfolio balance will get disturbed. This is because the returns from equity and debt are normally different.
Depending on how the equity markets have performed (returns from debt being stable) your portfolio will either become overweight or underweight on equity over time. Thus, you need to either sell equity and buy debt or sell debt and buy equity to rebalance your portfolio.
In fact, rebalancing is a brilliant way to keep emotions out of investments. It ensures that you do not become too greedy (when the markets are rising) or too fearful (when the markets are falling).