NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- OK, 2014 is here: Another financial year begins. What needs to be done?
Here are a few reminders, most pretty simple ways to make finances more efficient and profitable.
First, keep a close eye on the mail, as year-end statements from banks, brokers and mutual fund companies will start flowing soon. You'll need them for your tax return, and they'll provide tidy summaries of information useful in such things as rebalancing an investment portfolio.
Rebalancing, or restoring the mix of stocks, bonds and cash to match your master plan, can take place at any time, but now is as good as any. Because the Standard & Poor's 500 rose about 30% last year, while bonds did poorly, many investors will now have more money in the stock portion of the portfolio than they intend.
But before restoring the intended balance, revisit the plan to make sure the asset mix still makes sense. Your brokerage or mutual fund company probably has an asset allocation tool on its website, such as this one from Vanguard .
Keep in mind that bonds, traditionally meant to be a relatively safe holding, are rather risky right now. Bond yields remain very low, and bond prices could fall dramatically if prevailing interest rates rise as they are expected to, since investors would not pay full price for older bonds with stingy yields. So investors should think about whether to trim their bond allocation for the time being.