Investors are of all kinds - the dare-devil-come-what-may sorts that are willing to take high risks for high profits, the let's-not-get-carried-away- conservatives that are only willing to take the minimum-most risk in exchange for assured capital return, and the most common sort - the moderate-in-betweeners. Moderate investors are those who walk the line between risk and surety, volatility and stability, hoping to get the most out of their money with the least chances of loss. Veteran investors will know that this is perhaps the best line to walk, as many choose to do. This involves placing your money in both equity and debt investments, ensuring a balance between the two. There's more to asset allocation than just picking a few equity and debt investments, placing your money there, though. You need to understand that your money needs supervision. Your investments need correction every now and then.
Your targets will likely change over time; you need to ensure that you change your investments accordingly. If your retirement is still quite a far off thing, then you can afford to lean towards long-term equities in your portfolio. On the other hand, if you're likely to retire in a few years, best to play it safe and stick to the debt funds for the most part. Bear in mind that your investments won't always react the same way to various situations. Some will behave profitably while others don't. You need to keep a sharp lookout and steer your portfolio through troubled waters. You can choose to re-balance your portfolio either on a time bound basis or on a performance threshold basis. Time bound rebalancing would mean that at a particular period, regardless of the performance, you would re-arrange your investments. On the other hand, performance threshold ensures that when your investments go beyond a particular point from your target, you can rein it back in.
The best would be to combine the two, check at particular points of time and see if it veers off the target beyond a particular point. At this point, you can choose to re-allocate your investments. Remember that frequent re-allocation would mean you would lose money on the taxes and sales load. It's best that you only allocate your investments as and when necessary and only if it goes beyond a set point in your financial mappings. Investing in amutual fund is a serious matter, which requires a good deal of thought. Make sure that you do a thorough research and give a great deal of thought to your potential investments.