What is Portfolio Diversification?

Managing portfolio risk is one of the most important considerations for investors.

Diversification is a risk management strategy that mixes a wide range of investments types within a portfolio. This practice is designed to protect against market volatility. The reason behind this technique is that portfolios constructed of different kinds of assets can yield higher long-term returns while lowering the risk of any individual investment. 

There are a number of ways to go about diversifying your portfolio. Continue reading to learn more about portfolio diversification, components of a diversified portfolio and strategies for achieving true diversification with APO Financial Strategies.

What is Diversification? 

Diversification is a long-term investment strategy that aims to increase returns and decrease overall risk by allocating capital across different investment types and industries. The key to building a diversified portfolio is looking for investments whose returns haven’t historically moved in the same direction or at the same degree. So even if a section of your portfolio is declining, the rest of your investments could still be gaining. 

Primary Components of a Diversified Portfolio

Your diversified portfolio should include the following mix:

Domestic Stocks

Stocks are the most aggressive portion of your portfolio and provide the opportunity for higher growth over the long term. However, this greater growth potential also carries a greater risk, particularly in the short term. Stocks are generally more volatile than other asset types and if you decide to sell, it could be worth less than when you purchased it.


Bonds generally provide regular interest income and are generally considered to be less volatile than stocks. They can act as a cushion against the ups and downs of the stock market. Investors focused on safety, rather than growth, often favor high-quality bonds. While you may have to accept lower long-term returns, you do not have to deal with the high risk of short-term loss. However, some fixed income investments, such as high-yield bonds or international bonds, can offer higher yields, but also come with greater risk. 

Short-Term Investments

Short-term investments include money market funds and short-term certificates of deposit (CDs). Money market funds are a more conservative investment that offer stability and easy access to your money. These generally offer lower returns because they provide a high level of safety. While they are low risk, they are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as CDs are. However, when you invest in CDs, you may sacrifice the liquidity that’s usually offered by money market funds. 

International Stocks

Stocks issued by non-US companies provide opportunities not offered by US securities. While these can be higher risk, they also have the potential for greater returns. Foreign stocks often perform differently than their US counterparts and aren’t susceptible to the volatility of the US stock market. 

Strategies to Diversify Your Portfolio

  1. Diversify across asset classes

Diversification of your portfolio through this technique involves investing in several types of asset classes. This can include traditional assets such as stocks, bonds and cash, that operate in the public market. You could also consider going a step further and adding alternative investments into your portfolio as well. This includes hedge funds, private equity, real estate commodities and collectibles. Alternative investments primarily operate in the private market and are largely unregulated. These can be beneficial because they tend to have low correlation with traditional assets and the volatility of the stock market. 

  1. Diversify within an asset class

One of the most common strategies for portfolio diversification is investing in various assets within the same asset class. There are a few different ways to go about this. For instance, you can invest in only stocks, but diversify the industry in which the companies reside in. If you invest in bonds you might look for bonds from different issuers and with different maturities. This could also be as simple as buying the market index to ensure a variety of high and low risk stocks across different industries that are equally represented in your portfolio. 

  1. Diversify by location

As mentioned above, another strategy is to start looking abroad. If your country’s market starts to take a downturn, this could save your portfolio by having some international investments. Keep in mind, though, that other countries may have different rules, regulations and processes for investing than your country does. 

Creating an Investment Plan That’s Right for You

Diversification is not a one time task. It takes management, and your strategy should be adjusted if your financial situation changes. Additionally, there are a number of factors that should go into your investment decisions, like time horizon and risk tolerance. 

The closer you are to retirement, the less risk you want to be taking when it comes to your investment portfolio. This is because you won’t have the time to make up for losses in the event of a down market. You might even consider reallocating your assets to reduce exposure to high-risk, more volatile investments. As they near retirement, many investors start their investments in more conservative assets, such as bonds and money market funds. 

Getting Started

Looking to begin building a strong portfolio? Or maybe you want to build upon your current investment portfolio?

At APO Financial, our Fiduciary advisors are here for you. Whether you’re currently in retirement, or just getting started investing, APO Financial has a tailored plan just for you. Schedule a call with us here today to get started so your retirement can be as fulfilling as you want it to be.

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Information relating to annuities is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as comprehensive or all-inclusive. Therefore, it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed and should not be used to make an investment decision.

Annuities can be an important part of an overall portfolio but may not be appropriate for everyone. Before purchasing an annuity, it is important to understand the details of the product. Certain products may not be available in your state. The terms of each indexed annuity varies. It is always important to speak to a financial professional. about an annuity’s features, benefits and fees, and whether an annuity is appropriate for you, based on your financial situation and objectives. Participation rates, cap rates and/or index spreads may be subject to change by the insurance company according to the annuity contract provisions. If the insurance company makes such changes, this could adversely affect the return. Guarantees of an indexed annuity are backed by the claims-paying ability of the underwriting insurance company. The surrender charge period for a product may be longer, and the surrender charges may be higher than other annuity products. Indexed annuities are long-term investments. If the annuity contract is surrendered early, there is the possibility of a surrender charge being imposed and/or the funds may be subject to income taxes. The IRS may also impose a 10% penalty on withdrawals prior to age 59 ½, depending on the circumstances. With indexed annuities, there is the potential to lose money, depending on the product charges and minimum guarantee contract provisions. For additional information on annuities, reference the following websites: The FINRA (www.FINRA.org), the Securities and Exchange Commission (www.SEC.gov), Insured Retirement Institute (www.irionline.org), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.NAIC.org) or your state's insurance department.