A central tenet of asset allocation is that the risk profile of an investment portfolio should become more conservative over time. When a goal, such as retirement, is a long way off, you can afford to have a stock-heavy portfolio. As you get closer to the goal, your allocations to bonds and cash should increase as your allocation to stocks declines.

For those pursuing shorter-term investment goals, the advice has been much the same but with a heavier cash-and-bond starting point. In today’s low-rate environment, however, that general approach — starting somewhat aggressive and taming a portfolio over time — no longer holds for goals that have a timefrom of, say, two to 10 years.

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