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A Fourth-Quarter Portfolio Checkup in 4 Simple Steps

'Tis the season to review your stock/bond mix, check your portfolio's risk level, and see how you did.

Christine Benz 13.12.2013

As stocks have soared so far in 2013, it's hard to blame investors for checking up on their portfolios more frequently than usual. After more than a decade's worth of financial crises and market shocks, it's comforting to see portfolio balances headed in the right direction.

Soaring portfolio balances and steadying home values can stoke the so-called wealth effect, prompting investors to spend more than they should because their financial assets look better on paper. And let's face it, the kind of rally we've had so far in 2013 can also stoke greed, prompting investors to chase hot-returning stocks and funds and to take risks they'd normally avoid.

My advice is to be disciplined and surgical in your portfolio checkups, focusing on the fundamentals of your holdings--especially your asset allocation--as well as other factors that are within your control.

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About Author

Christine Benz  Christine Benz is Morningstar's director of personal finance and author of 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances and the Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success. Follow Christine on Twitter: @christine_benz and on Facebook.

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