How to Deal with Concentrated Stocks in Your Portfolio, Ep #157

Do you have concentrated stocks in your portfolio?

You may have inherited stocks from a loved one or maybe you receive stock options as part of your pay structure or a compensation package. Whatever the reason you have concentrated stocks, if you own more than you think you should of one company, it is important to understand what you could do with it. You may be surprised to hear all of the options that you have available, so listen in to hear what your choices are.


What is a concentrated stock?

You may be wondering if any of the stocks that you own would be considered concentrated stocks. Deciding whether you own any is easy. You don’t need to look at the percentage of the stock in your portfolio. It doesn’t matter if that stock is 5%, 10%, or even 50% of your portfolio. What matters is what would happen if that stock went to zero. If that would affect your financial life then you do own a concentrated stock.

You may argue that the richest people in the world gained their wealth through concentrated stocks, but you don’t hear about all those that have lost their wealth from putting all their eggs in one basket.

Individual stocks are volatile. Over a 40 year time period, 40% of individual stocks experienced negative absolute returns. The reason we choose to have a balanced portfolio is to balance the winners with the losers.

Why do we hold onto concentrated stocks?

There are different reasons that people choose to hold on to stocks for longer than they should. If the stock is from their employer, they may have a bit of bias thinking that they know their company and it will outperform the rest. Some people got into a position early and rode the wave. Others feel an emotional attachment to the stock and are hesitant to let it go.

Whatever the reason you may be hanging on, it is important to analyze your holdings to see if they fit into your overall financial plan. If not, it is time to find a strategy to divest from your position.

Strategies to mitigate the risks of owning concentrated stocks

Coming up with a strategy that fits into your overall financial plan requires some thought. The easiest thing to do when you aren’t sure of the right choice is to do nothing, but that, of course, is the worst thing you can do.

There are 4 options available to you when you own concentrated stocks: sell, hedge, diversify, or transfer the wealth.

  • If you need the money, then you may want to sell all or a portion of your stocks. Listen in to hear all the options available to you if you choose to sell your position.
  • Hedging will limit the downside, but it can be very expensive.
  • An exchange fund can help to diversify your portfolio which will help you lessen the risk.
  • You can gift family and friends up to $16,000 per year before you have to report it to the IRS.
  • You may also want to consider setting up a donor-advised fund if you are charitably inclined.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure it fits into your overall financial strategy

This episode has some advanced strategies to consider, so if you are wondering what you should do with your concentrated stocks you may want to listen twice or take notes as you listen so that you can discover what to do with your concentrated positions and how it could fit into your overall financial plan.

If you still think you need help coming up with a strategy, reach out to us so that we can help you come up with a financial plan that is right for you.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:58] What is concentrated stock?
  • [5:11] Why do we hold onto concentrated stocks?
  • [6:47] Strategies to mitigate your risks
  • [15:43] What you can do with your stock if you are charitably inclined

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