Declutter Your Portfolio

Getting organized will help you take control of your investments.

Does your portfolio look a bit like your junk drawer, with all sorts of odds and ends that don’t seem to fit with anything else? Does tax season take on nightmarish qualities when you try to pull together dozens of disparate investment statements to calculate gains and losses? Then it’s time to declutter your portfolio, making it smart, simple and easy to manage.

First figure out what you have. The simplest way to do that is to pull out a notebook and make a grid to show the name of each stock, bond or fund you own and the amount you have invested in it. With funds, you’ll also want to note the fees they charge and where they fit on a style grid. That is, do they invest in the stocks of large, undervalued companies or small, fast-growing ones? Treasury bonds or “junk” bonds? Finally, note whether you’ve got a gain or loss in the holding.

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Kathy Kristof
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kristof, editor of SideHusl.com, is an award-winning financial journalist, who writes regularly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and CBS MoneyWatch. She's the author of Investing 101, Taming the Tuition Tiger and Kathy Kristof's Complete Book of Dollars and Sense. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is that she was once a Jeopardy question: Kathy Kristof replaced what famous personal finance columnist, who died in 1991? Answer: Sylvia Porter.