By Scott Ronalds

September 12th was National Chocolate Milkshake Day. September 5th was National Cheese Pizza Day. August 26th was National Dog Day. August 13th was International Left-handers Day. August 6th was National Root Beer Float Day.

Something screwy is going on with the calendar. I seem to be informed of a new ‘National [Fill-in-the-blank] Day’ on an almost daily basis. It’s getting out of control (National Bean ‘n Franks Day. Really?). Although I have to admit my Labrador got a big rawhide on August 26th.

I don’t know how it all started, but my guess is that it’s a conspiracy by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al to increase their traffic by encouraging people to post pictures, witty comments and bizarre hashtags. #ijustthrewupbecauseiatetoomuchonnationalcheeseburgerday.

The calendar needs to trim the fat, which is why we’re willing to go up against butterscotch pudding and proclaim September 19th National Portfolio Simplification Day.

That’s right. Take a hard look at your portfolio and determine where you can simplify things.

  • Do you own a long list of investments? Cull it. You should be able to count the number of funds you own on two hands, or better yet, one. Owning too many investments runs the risk of diworsification. A few carefully-selected funds or ETFs will provide all the diversification you need and make it easier to monitor and manage your portfolio.
  • Do you have a Strategic Asset Mix (SAM)? If not, determine one. It will simplify your life by helping to keep your portfolio, and behaviour, on track. If your portfolio is out-of-line with your SAM, it’s a good time to rebalance.
  • Take a close look at your costs. When you’re paying fees for fund management and advice, make sure it’s something you need and if so, make sure you’re getting value for money. If you’re paying excessive, or multiple layers of fees, embrace simplicity and get out the axe.

We realize that butterscotch and whipped cream are much more tempting than asset mix and diversification. But remember: a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips. A moment on your mix, a lifetime of better picks.