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Investing Basics

What Is Rebalancing? We Explain

Rebalancing is smart because it reduces your risk exposure by maintaining your desired asset allocation. To make your life simpler, we do it for you—automatically.

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: November 1, 2011

Rebalancing prevents you from making the classic behavioral mistake of buying high and selling low.

At Betterment, we automatically rebalance your account so you never have to worry about doing it yourself.

What is rebalancing?

Rebalancing is recognized as smart practice in investing. It realigns your portfolio back to its original asset allocation. A portfolio is rebalanced by selling “extra” stocks and buying more bonds to recreate your original stock/bond ratio. A portfolio is rebalanced by selling “extra” stocks and buying more bonds to recreate the original stock/bond ratio.

At Betterment, we rebalance your portfolio dynamically, efficiently and automatically as you invest. Every time you receive a dividend or deposit more money, we invest it into the part of the portfolio that needs rebalancing. For the most part, this negates the need to sell stocks or bonds to balance out the portfolio. It’s an extremely tax efficient way to rebalance.

For example, when you signed up for Betterment you may have decided that the right allocation for you is 60% stocks/40% bonds. If stocks perform well during a certain period, your portfolio allocation might move to 65% stocks/35% bonds. Inadvertently, your investment is now exposed to more risk (especially if this compounds over time to create an even larger allocation gap). So we take your new deposits or dividends and use them to top up the part of your portfolio that has moved out of balance.

Why is more risk a bad thing? Because when you set your original allocation, you did so with a particular goal in mind. A shift in allocation might make it difficult for you to reach your goal in your desired time frame because suddenly, your investment will be more susceptible to market volatility.

The Best Part

Rebalancing prevents you from making the classic behavioral mistake of buying high and selling low. It takes emotion out of the equation because you adjust your portfolio to its original state, regardless of whether the market’s up or down (remember, it’s all about the long game).

We know how hard it is to align “should do” with “do,” so we’ve automated this in your Betterment account. And because Betterment doesn’t charge for automatic rebalancing transactions, this feature costs you nothing.

Get Started with Betterment

Betterment handles your investments so you don’t have to. We make it easy to roll over your retirement accounts (or get new accounts set up), and everything we do is designed to help you achieve your long-term investment goals in the most tax-efficient way possible.

You can also easily sync your outside investment and retirement accounts so we can give you better advice around your entire financial picture. Our customer support team is available seven days a week to answer any questions. Get started today.

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