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Rebalancing is the process of periodically adjusting the composition of an investment portfolio to maintain its desired asset allocation. It involves selling over-performing assets and buying under-performing ones to maintain the initially established risk and return profile. This process helps investors stay on track with their investment goals while mitigating risk caused by market fluctuations.


The phonetics of the keyword “Rebalancing” is: /ˌriːˈbalənsɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Rebalancing is a process that involves periodically adjusting the asset allocation in an investment portfolio to maintain the desired level of risk and return. This is essential for ensuring that the portfolio’s performance continues to align with the investor’s financial objectives and risk tolerance.
  2. There are various methods for rebalancing, such as time-based, threshold-based, or a combination of both. Time-based rebalancing involves regular reallocation of assets at predetermined intervals (e.g., quarterly or annually), while threshold-based rebalancing occurs when an asset’s allocation deviates from the target allocation by a specific percentage.
  3. Regular rebalancing helps to manage risk in the portfolio by preventing the overexposure to certain assets or asset classes. It also allows investors to take advantage of market fluctuations by buying undervalued assets and selling overvalued ones, promoting a disciplined and systematic approach to investing.


Rebalancing is an essential practice in the realm of business and finance as it maintains an investor’s desired risk-reward profile within their investment portfolio. Over time, the value of different assets changes, leading to deviations from the original asset allocation. Rebalancing involves periodically adjusting these allocations by selling or buying assets to restore the intended proportions. This crucial mechanism not only keeps the investments aligned with an investor’s long-term goals and risk tolerance but also promotes disciplined investing by encouraging investors to buy low and sell high. Furthermore, rebalancing allows investors to capture gains from well-performing assets to reinvest in underperforming ones, resulting in reduced portfolio volatility and improved long-term performance.


Rebalancing, as a core aspect of portfolio management, serves the essential purpose of maintaining the desired risk-return profile, which is vital for investors to achieve their financial goals. Over time, market fluctuations cause asset allocation within a portfolio to deviate from its target, which can expose investors to unintended levels of risk or potential missed opportunities. By periodically adjusting asset allocation back to the desired targets, rebalancing ensures that a portfolio remains aligned with investor’s objectives, risk tolerance, and investment time horizon. This process involves trimming over-performing assets and reinvesting in those that have underperformed relative to their target allocations. Importantly, this tactic helps mitigate the emotional biases of investors and fosters a disciplined approach towards investing, making it a critical aspect in preventing unnecessary risks. In practice, rebalancing helps investors achieve diversification—a key principle in investment management that advocates reducing the overall risk of a portfolio by investing in various assets with little to no correlation. Rebalancing can be implemented through different methods, such as calendar-based, threshold-based, or using a combination of both strategies. By systematically repositioning the weights of portfolio components, rebalancing can harness the potential of various investments and ensure that no single asset dominates the portfolio’s performance. Furthermore, the regular practice of rebalancing can boost long-term returns by capitalizing on the “buy low, sell high” investment strategy. In essence, rebalancing serves as an indispensable tool for investors, aiming to maintain a well-diversified and risk-adjusted portfolio, thereby enhancing the likelihood of achieving their desired financial outcomes.


1. Retirement Portfolio Rebalancing: John, a 45-year-old professional, has a retirement portfolio consisting of 60% stocks and 40% bonds. He initially set this allocation to achieve a balance of growth and risk. Over the year, the stock market has performed well, and his stocks’ value has increased, causing an imbalance in his desired allocation. To rebalance his portfolio, John sells some stocks and purchases more bonds to return to his target allocation of 60% stocks and 40% bonds. 2. Rebalancing Mutual Funds: Many mutual funds are designed with specific target allocations, such as a 70% equities and 30% fixed income mix. After a period of strong stock market performance, the equities portion of the fund may exceed its target allocation, leading fund managers to rebalance the mutual fund. The fund managers sell some equities and purchase fixed-income assets to bring the fund back in line with its intended allocation. 3. Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) Rebalancing: ETFs are designed to track specific indexes or follow a certain investment strategy, which involves maintaining set allocations to different asset classes or sectors. For example, an ETF that tracks the S&P 500 index must rebalance periodically to accurately reflect the changing weights and components of the index. ETF managers achieve this by selling or purchasing assets to match the exact allocations required to mirror the performance of the index they track.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is rebalancing in finance and business?
Rebalancing is the process of adjusting the proportions of various assets in an investment portfolio to maintain the desired level of risk and return. It usually involves periodically buying or selling assets to maintain a preferred asset allocation consistent with the investor’s risk tolerance and investment goals.
Why is rebalancing important?
Rebalancing is essential for maintaining a consistent risk profile within a portfolio. As market values of assets change over time, the proportions of each asset class within a portfolio may deviate from the original allocation, leading to changes in the portfolio’s overall risk and return characteristics. Regular rebalancing helps bring the portfolio back to its intended asset allocation and ensures the investor’s risk tolerance and investment objectives remain aligned.
How often should a portfolio be rebalanced?
The frequency of rebalancing may vary depending on several factors like market volatility, asset type, and the investor’s preference. Common time-based approaches to rebalancing include quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Another alternative is threshold-based rebalancing, triggered when an asset allocation deviates by a predetermined percentage from the target allocation.
What are the costs involved in rebalancing a portfolio?
Rebalancing a portfolio may involve various costs such as trading fees, commission charges, tax implications, and potential market impact due to executing trades. While rebalancing is crucial for maintaining the desired asset allocation and risk tolerance, it is crucial to consider these costs and minimize them with a properly planned rebalancing strategy.
Can rebalancing improve portfolio performance?
Rebalancing is not primarily aimed at improving portfolio performance but maintaining the desired risk level and asset allocation. That said, it can indirectly contribute to better overall performance as it encourages a disciplined approach to investing and prevents overexposure to a single asset class. By systematically rebalancing a portfolio, investors may also benefit from buying low and selling high, as they sell appreciated assets and buy depreciated ones.
What is the difference between strategic and tactical rebalancing?
Strategic rebalancing refers to the process of adjusting the portfolio to maintain the original target asset allocation, without making significant changes to the allocation itself. It focuses on adhering to the long-term investment plan and risk tolerance. Tactical rebalancing, on the other hand, involves making temporary adjustments to the asset allocation based on current market conditions or opportunities, with the goal of enhancing returns or reducing risk over the short term.
Can rebalancing be automated?
Yes, many investment platforms and robo-advisors provide automated rebalancing services. These platforms monitor your portfolio and, based on your preferences and risk tolerance, automatically rebalance your assets when needed. This can help reduce the time and effort required to manage your investments while ensuring that your portfolio remains aligned with your investment goals.

Related Finance Terms

  • Asset Allocation
  • Portfolio Diversification
  • Investment Risk Management
  • Target Weight
  • Performance Monitoring

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