Portfolio Management

Portfolio management is a diverse topic that investors can dive into as shallow or deep as they want. Learn the basics of portfolio management—what it is, how it works, and the beginning and advanced strategies—so you can feel confident enough to build and maintain your portfolio.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does past performance guarantee future results?

    No. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Just because a stock had a great year doesn’t mean it will match that growth the following year. An asset’s performance tends to change often, and its performance is open to interpretation. Avoid trying to time the market, and perform due diligence to get a sense of who the company is and where it’s headed.

  • How do you build a complete financial portfolio?

    You can build a complete portfolio by going through a series of steps in several areas. You can start by creating a balance sheet for your finances. Once you understand how much money is coming in, what’s going out, and what you owe, you can move to investing and saving strategies like 401(k)s, an emergency fund, paying off debt, and funding a Roth IRA.

  • What can you do to hedge against inflation?

    There are a couple of traditional ways to make sure you protect your portfolio from inflation. Investing in treasury inflation-protect securities, floating-rate bonds, stocks, real estate, and commodities are a few options. You can also consider gold, which investors typically believe moves in step with inflation.

  • Do a company’s annual reports matter?

    Yes, they do. Annual reports show you key information about a business’s inner workings, such as how the business operates, what its culture is like, and who its leaders are. Other clues to look for are the tone and content included in a company’s annual report. You’ll also want to look for a clear dividend policy, sensible executive salaries, and transparency.

  • What’s the difference between a 10-Q and 10-K?

    10-Qs are financial statements that a company files every quarter, per SEC rules. They’re unaudited and don’t share the same level of details as their 10-K counterpart. 10-K’s are filed yearly, are granular in their detail, and are audited. Whereas 10-Q’s provide an ongoing view of the company’s financial position, the 10-K gives you a comprehensive look at the company’s finances. 

Key Terms

how to read a balance sheet
How to Read and Analyze a Balance Sheet
Image shows icons that represent this equation: "current assets - current liabilities = working capital. $1.75 million in assets - $550,000 in liabilities = $1.2 million." Title reads: "How to calculate your working capital"
What Is Working Capital?
Image shows three images, an accounts receivable invoice, a triangle with an exclamation point in it, and a desk with stacks of cash on it, next to a computer monitor, representing a headline that reads, "What to Know About Accounts Receivable," and text that reads, "the term represents money that is owed to a company by its customers for products or services that it has delivered but for which it has not yet received payment. Money in a/r is money that's not in the bank, which exposes the company to a degree of risk. Normally, companies build up a cash reserve to prepare for such anticipated losses"
Why a Company's Accounts Receivable Are Important
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A Beginner's Guide to Income Statement Analysis for Investors
Financial experts look at a computer to see the gross profit margin of a company.
Here's How to Calculate Gross Profit Margin
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Boards of Directors Protect Shareholder Assets and Investment.
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Where to Place a Stop-Loss Order When Trading
An investor looks over a 1099-DIV.
What Is Return of Capital?
Gross Profit on an Income Statement
What Is Gross Profit on an Income Statement?
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Depreciation and Amortization Expense Basics
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What Is the Net Profit Margin?
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Company's Determination of Its Dividend Payout Policy
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Use Four Asset Classes to Diversify Your Portfolio
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Balance Sheet Current Ratio Formula
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What Is Negative Working Capital on the Balance Sheet?
Balance Sheet
Long-Term and the Debt-To-Equity Ratio on the Balance Sheet
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Interest and Expense on the Income Statement
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Investment Mandate
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Balance Sheet Formulas
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What Are Current Liabilities?
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Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) on the Income Statement
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Long-Term Investment Assets on the Balance Sheet
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Form 10-K
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Income Statement Formulas
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Bouncing Back After a Big Trading Loss
Tokyo, Japan
The Best Ways to Invest in Foreign Markets With ETFs and ADRs
Text reads: "How to build a complete financial portfolio: craft a balance sheet, contribute to your 401k, pay off credit card debt, open a roth ira, purchase a home, build six-month emergency fund, look into other investments, invest in yourself, save for your children's education, stay the course"
Here Are Some Tips on Building a Complete Financial Portfolio
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What Slippage Is, Its Effect, and Avoiding It While Day Trading
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Market-Neutral Investment Strategy
Balance sheet
How to Calculate Double Declining Balance Depreciation
Diluted earnings per share, or diluted EPS as it is often called, is a more accurate version of how much profit is left for you, the owner, for every share of stock you have in a company.
What's the Difference Between Basic and Diluted Earnings per Share?
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How To Hedge Against Inflation
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Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT)
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Stockholders Equity
The board of a company discusses treasury stock and how it affects the bottom line.
Understanding Treasury Stock on the Balance Sheet
A woman views the annual report for company she is interested in.
Annual Reports: What They Are and Why Investors Care
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Couple discussing finances at a table while working on a laptop
Strategic Asset Allocation
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An Introduction to Diversifying Among Asset Classes
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Secrets To Making Money During a Stock Market Crash
An advisor listens to her client talk about his investment choices.
How Do You Calculate Portfolio Beta?
SEC Archives Preferred Stock Encore Bancshares, Inc.
What Preferred Stock Is and How it Affects the Valuation of a Company
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10-Q vs. 10-K vs. Annual Report: What Are the Differences?
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Prime Brokerage
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Is a Half-Million Dollars Enough To Retire On?
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Investment Pyramid
An investor's pile of stock portfolio data and charts.
How Much Cash Should You Keep in Your Portfolio?
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Operating Income and Profit Margin Explained for New Investors
An investor looks at her portfolio.
Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results
A business woman reviews a balance sheet while talking on the phone.
Understanding Capital Surplus and Reserves on the Balance Sheet
1% Risk Rule, Risk Management Trading Strategy
Why Day Traders Should Stick to the 1% Risk Rule
Fidelity Investments
Investing Is Easier Than Ever, Thanks to These Companies
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Your Best Choices for Capital Preservation
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Understanding Current Assets on a Business Balance Sheet
Investors look at a chart and discuss inventory of a potential investment company.
How to Recognize Risks of Large Inventory Using the Balance Sheet
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Analyzing Accumulated Depreciation
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Portfolio Analysis for Beginners
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SG&A: Selling, General, and Administrative Expenses
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Managing Your Portfolio During A Recession

Page Sources

  1. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "How to Read a 10-K/10-Q."

  2. Internal Revenue Service. "Topic No. 404 Dividends."