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How Often Should Your Rebalance Your Portfolio?

November 4, 2023 Walt Butler By Walt Butler

Portfolio rebalancing is a crucial aspect of investment management that aims to maintain a target asset allocation. Rebalancing involves periodically adjusting the portfolio holdings to ensure they align with predetermined target allocations set by the advisor and investor.

Rebalancing offers several benefits, including risk control, opportunities for tax harvesting, and potentially enhanced returns. By regularly reviewing and readjusting the portfolio, investors and advisors can mitigate concentration risks and maintain their desired level of diversification. Additionally, rebalancing allows for capitalizing on market opportunities (selling overweight assets and buying underweight ones) and tax-loss harvesting (selling taxable investments at a loss to counteract realized gains).

Several factors need to be considered when deciding how frequently to rebalance a portfolio. These include individual risk tolerance, investment goals, time horizon, market conditions, tax implications, and transaction costs. Moreover, advancements in technology have facilitated more efficient ways for advisors to manage portfolios and automate the rebalancing process.

Furthermore, tax efficiency plays a vital role in rebalancing decisions as rebalancing can have undesired tax consequences if executed inefficiently. Investors and advisors must consider these tax implications when determining the optimal frequency of rebalancing.

Understanding how often to rebalance a portfolio is essential for maintaining a well-diversified investment strategy that aligns with individual objectives and optimizes long-term performance.

What is Rebalancing?

Rebalancing is the process of adjusting the asset allocation in a portfolio to bring it into alignment with its target allocation.

Both approaches aim to maintain an optimal level of risk and return in the portfolio over time.

Multi-period rebalancing

Optimal portfolio performance can be achieved through the implementation of multi-period rebalancing, ensuring a systematic approach to maintaining the desired asset allocation over time.

Multi-period rebalancing involves adjusting the portfolio’s asset allocation at regular intervals, typically based on predetermined criteria or thresholds. This strategy aims to bring the portfolio back to its target allocation by buying or selling assets that have deviated from their desired weights.

The frequency of multi-period rebalancing depends on various factors such as investment goals, risk tolerance, and market conditions. Some investors may choose to rebalance annually, while others may prefer more frequent adjustments such as quarterly or monthly.

The advantage of multi-period rebalancing is that it allows for a disciplined approach to managing the portfolio’s risk and return characteristics. By periodically reviewing and adjusting asset allocations, investors can potentially capture gains from outperforming assets and mitigate potential losses from underperforming ones.

Multi-period rebalancing is an effective strategy for maintaining a desired asset allocation within a portfolio over time. It helps ensure that investments are aligned with long-term objectives and can contribute to optimizing overall portfolio performance.

Single-period rebalance

A single-period rebalance involves adjusting the asset allocation of a portfolio at one specific point in time, typically based on predetermined criteria or thresholds. This approach allows investors to maintain their desired level of risk and return by periodically readjusting their holdings.

Here are three key considerations for implementing a single-period rebalancing strategy:

  1. Time horizon: The frequency of rebalancing will depend on the investor’s time horizon and investment goals. For long-term investors, rebalancing once or twice a year may be sufficient, while short-term traders may need to rebalance more frequently.
  2. Thresholds: Investors should establish predetermined thresholds for asset allocation deviations that trigger the need for rebalancing. These thresholds ensure that adjustments are made when deviations become significant enough to impact the portfolio’s risk and return characteristics.
  3. Transaction and tax costs: Rebalancing often involves buying and selling securities, which can incur unwanted transaction and tax costs. Therefore, it is important to consider these costs when determining how often to rebalance in order to optimize portfolio performance.

By following these guidelines, investors can effectively manage their portfolios through single-period rebalancing strategies.

Benefits of Rebalancing

Rebalancing your portfolio offers many benefits, including adjusting the target allocation and providing risk management advantages.

Adjusting the target allocation ensures that your investments remain aligned with your long-term goals and objectives.

By rebalancing regularly, you can also manage risk by reducing exposure to overperforming assets and increasing exposure to underperforming assets, thereby maintaining a diversified portfolio.

Rebalancing allows investors to maintain a disciplined approach to investing while minimizing potential losses and optimizing returns.

Correcting a target allocation

To maintain a desired target allocation, periodic adjustments need to be made to ensure the portfolio remains aligned with long-term objectives, minimizing risk and maximizing potential returns as a result. For example, as investors age, they may want to take on less risk over time.

Adjusting the  target allocation offers several benefits:

Maintaining a proper target allocation over time ensures that investments stay on track toward long-term objectives.

Factors to Consider When Rebalancing

When considering portfolio rebalancing, there are several factors to take into account.

First, one must consider how to realign the portfolio after a withdrawal. Selling off assets to fund a withdrawal often leads to portfolio drift requiring a “post-withdrawal” adjustment to the asset allocation to maintain a desired level of risk and return.

Additionally, when making a deposit, you typically introduce an over-exposure to cash. It’s important to rebalance the portfolio in order to maintain the desired asset mix.

Lastly, during market shifts, rebalancing becomes crucial as it allows investors to adjust their portfolios according to changes in market conditions and ensure that the original investment objectives are met.

The Role of Technology for Advisors

Technology plays a crucial role in empowering financial advisors to efficiently manage and optimize portfolios, enabling them to leverage data-driven insights, advanced analytics, and automated processes for more effective decision-making. With the advent of innovative tools and platforms, advisors can access a wealth of information that was previously inaccessible or time-consuming to gather.

LifeYield offers one of these innovative tools for firms and advisors. Using LifeYield technology for rebalancing, advisors can take into account a client’s total household assets to optimize their rebalancing in a more efficient and accurate way.

This makes it possible for advisors to rebalance client portfolios at the household level instead of the individual account level. Taking this further, after a rebalance, each account will have different holdings and a different mix of assets – all rolling up to one household target asset allocation. This approach lets advisors and investors create tax alpha, ultimately reducing investment taxes and increasing after-tax returns.

The technology also emphasizes how the placement of different assets in taxable or tax-advantaged accounts can impact an investor’s overall tax liability and maximize after-tax returns. Using these resources, advisors can make well-informed decisions regarding portfolio rebalancing for all clients across their book of business.

Technology like LifeYield’s facilitates seamless communication between advisors and clients, allowing for timely adjustments based on portfolio performance and investment strategies. The availability of such financial technology has revolutionized the investing landscape by streamlining processes and enhancing tax efficiency, ultimately benefiting both advisors and their clients.

Portfolio Rebalancing with Lifeyield

LifeYield offers a comprehensive solution for implementing portfolio rebalancing strategies with efficiency and precision. This platform provides investors with the tools needed to optimize their portfolios by analyzing tax implications, incorporating investment goals, and considering market conditions.

The following benefits make LifeYield an attractive option for portfolio rebalancing:

By using these features, LifeYield empowers investors to implement effective portfolio rebalancing strategies that maximize returns while minimizing risk and tax liabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the frequency of rebalancing differ for different types of portfolios, such as conservative versus aggressive portfolios?

The frequency of rebalancing portfolios varies based on their risk profiles. Conservative portfolios may require less frequent rebalancing to maintain a stable asset allocation, while aggressive portfolios may need more frequent adjustments to manage higher volatility and potential returns.

Are there any potential risks or downsides to frequent rebalancing?

Frequent portfolio rebalancing may lead to increased transaction costs and taxes, potentially reducing overall returns. Additionally, it may result in missed opportunities for gains if the market continues to perform favorably.

Is there a recommended threshold or percentage deviation from the target allocation that should trigger a rebalancing?

There is no universally recommended threshold or percentage deviation that should trigger a portfolio rebalancing. The decision depends on individual risk tolerance, investment goals, and market conditions.

How does rebalancing affect the performance and returns of a portfolio over the long term?

Rebalancing a portfolio can impact long-term performance and returns. Academic studies suggest that regular rebalancing helps maintain the desired asset allocation, reducing risk and potentially improving returns by capitalizing on market fluctuations and minimizing the impact of overexposure to specific assets.


Rebalancing your portfolio is an important strategy to maintain a balanced and diversified investment approach. It involves periodically adjusting the proportions of different assets in your portfolio to align with your investment objectives. Rebalancing offers benefits such as risk management, maximizing returns, capitalizing on asset location, and maintaining discipline in investing.

Factors like market conditions, time horizon, and personal financial goals should all be considered when determining the frequency of rebalancing. But most importantly, tax implications and future portfolio growth should be front of mind.

When using LifeYield’s approach of rebalancing at the household level:

  1. Investor portfolios become more tax-efficient and balances compound more over time.
  2. Advisors grow client portfolios faster, which increases assets under management (AUM) without the need to acquire new clients.
  3. Firms grow revenue as their advisors implement household-level rebalancing and realize the benefits of asset location and tax-smart investment management.

Take your rebalancing to the household level today.

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Walt is the VP of Product Development at LifeYield.