Skip to main content

Smart investment strategies

There's no magic formula for managing your investments—but these few things come pretty close.


  • When it comes to your investment strategy, building your portfolio the right way is half the battle. Focus on things you can control, like asset allocation and costs.
  • For most investors, once your portfolio is set, there are only a few things you need to do to stay on track.

Make sure you're doing these 3 things first

If you've already started investing but aren't sure you're doing it right, check out these tips for becoming a successful investor.

Start with your asset allocation

Of all the decisions you make, your asset allocation could have the biggest impact on the performance and volatility of your investments.

Protect yourself through diversification

The more bonds and stocks you own, the smaller the impact each one individually can have on your overall portfolio, which lowers your risk.

Don't let high costs eat away your returns

The amount you pay to invest has a direct impact on your returns.

Then add these 4 additional steps

Keep performance in perspective

The length of time you have until you need the money from your investments is inversely proportional to the amount of time you should spend focusing on your performance.

Monitor your risk level & rebalance

Remember how important asset allocation is? It continues to play a critical role in keeping you on track.

Make regular investments

If you're trying to increase your portfolio to meet a specific goal, making small investments consistently makes a big difference.

Tackle multiple financial goals in the right order

Most people have multiple demands on their money. We believe there's a right order in which to attack them.

Get more from Vanguard. Call 800-962-5028 to speak with an investment professional.

Custom financial plan
Ongoing portfolio oversight
Investment coaching
Real-time goal tracking
All at a low cost
Reach your goals with advice from Vanguard

Saving for retirement or college?

See guidance that can help you make a plan, solidify your strategy, and choose your investments.

Already know what you want?

From mutual funds and ETFs to stocks and bonds, find all the investments you're looking for, all in one place.


Layer opened.

Asset allocation

The way your account is divided among different asset classes, including stock, bond, and short-term or "cash" investments. Also known as "asset mix."

Layer opened.


The measure of how much an investment has paid off, also known as return.

Layer opened.


The degree to which the value of an investment (or an entire market) fluctuates. The greater the volatility, the greater the difference between the investment's (or market's) high and low prices and the faster those fluctuations occur.

Layer opened.


A bond represents a loan made to a corporation or government in exchange for regular interest payments. The bond issuer agrees to pay back the loan by a specific date. Bonds can be traded on the secondary market.

Layer opened.


Usually refers to common stock, which is an investment that represents part ownership in a corporation. Each share of stock is a proportional stake in the corporation's assets and profits.

Layer opened.


The sum total of your investments managed toward a specific goal.

Layer opened.


Usually refers to investment risk, which is a measure of how likely it is that you could lose money in an investment. However, there are other types of risk when it comes to investing.

Layer opened.


The profit you get from investing money. Over time, this profit is based mainly on the amount of risk associated with the investment. So, for example, less-risky investments like certificates of deposit (CDs) or savings accounts generally earn a low rate of return, and higher-risk investments like stocks generally earn a higher rate of return.