Home » Share Market » Equity Vs Fixed Income: How to Rebalance Your Investment

Equity Vs Fixed Income: How to Rebalance Your Investment

Finding the right spot between riskier stocks and stable bonds is key to building a solid investment portfolio. While equities present higher growth potential, fixed income offers stability. Optimally combining both asset classes based on risk appetite and financial goals provides balance. As market movements skew allocations over time, periodic rebalancing helps restore original asset allocation, which is essential for aligned performance. Read on to learn the differences between fixed income vs equity.

Understanding equity investments

Equities or stocks represent a fractional ownership interest in a company. Investing in shares results in business growth and cash flows. However, the returns from equities carry higher volatility tied to company performance, industry dynamics and broader economic health. The debate on fixed income vs equity often centres around an investor’s risk tolerance and the time horizon for their financial goals. During bull runs, the opportunity for wealth creation is considerable but requires weathering storms, too.

Role of equities in portfolio diversification

The dynamic highs and lows of stocks deliver portfolios’ twin advantages. Over the long term, equity returns handily beat inflation, creating wealth, and short-term volatility gets smoothed within balanced portfolios. Diversifying across market caps, sectors, and economic sensitivities tempers risks further via varied covariance. Equities drive growth albeit demanding nerves of steel. When evaluating retirement plans, the balance between fixed income vs equity investments becomes a crucial consideration for ensuring both growth and stability.

Important variables in determining equity instruments

Diversifying your portfolio across fixed income vs equity can be a strategic move to mitigate risk while targeting growth. When evaluating equity investments, assess market capitalisation, business fundamentals, valuation metrics, and sectoral allocation to make informed decisions.

  • Market Capitalisation: Market cap represents the public market valuation of a company and is determined by the stock price and number of shares outstanding. The market cap size – large cap, mid cap or small cap – is an important factor in determining risks and returns.
  • Business Fundamentals: Analysing parameters like revenue growth, profitability, debt levels, management expertise, etc., of the underlying business is critical to making informed equity investment decisions.
  • Valuation: Equity valuations determine the extent to which stock prices fairly reflect the company’s intrinsic value and future earnings growth potential. Valuation metrics like P/E and P/B ratio should be assessed relative to peers, historical averages and expected growth.
  • Sectoral Allocation: Diversifying across market sectors can help mitigate equity portfolio risks. Certain sectors, like FMCG, Pharma, etc., offer stable growth, while cyclical sectors, like Capital Goods, Banking, etc., offer higher but more volatile returns.

Understanding fixed income investments

Fixed income comprises instruments like bonds, government securities, and bank FDs promising fixed returns until maturity. By lending capital, scheduled interest payouts and principal repayment occur. Hence, quality depends on credit ratings and issuer stability. Fixed-income funds offer diversity while easing access through varied duration, taxation and risk options. The current economic climate has sparked renewed interest in the fixed income vs equity allocation debate among savvy investors.

Role of fixed income in portfolio diversification

Adding high-quality fixed-income exposure stabilises portfolio value during stock market crashes. Bonds provide a low correlation to equities, reducing volatility and downside impact. Conservative investors aiming for capital preservation depend heavily on fixed income. Additionally, fixed-income investments deliver regular income that is useful for meeting expenses post-retirement. 

Depending on factors like time horizon and risk tolerance, most investors should consider allocating 20-40% of their portfolio to fixed income. Moreover, Understanding the differences between fixed income vs equity is essential for anyone looking to build a resilient investment portfolio.

Important variables in determining fixed income instruments

In periods of market volatility, the fixed income vs equity decision plays a key role in safeguarding an investor’s capital. When evaluating and selecting fixed-income products for your portfolio, some critical criteria include:

  • Credit Quality: Bonds and debt instruments issued by issuers with higher credit ratings offer lower default risk. Sovereign bonds issued by Central governments are perceived as safe.
  • Interest Rate Sensitivity: Longer duration bonds see prices fluctuate more with interest rate changes versus shorter duration bonds. Understanding bond duration to manage interest rate risk is vital.
  • Liquidity & Exit Options: Certain corporate and government bonds are actively traded on secondary debt markets, providing interim liquidity to investors. Other products like Bank FDs have to be typically held to maturity.
  • Return Profile: Yields across fixed-income products should be compared based on parameters like interest payment frequency, reinvestment rate assumptions and post-tax returns.  
  • Tax Treatment: Interest income tax rates vary based on product type and holding duration, impacting post-tax yields.

Fixed income vs equity: a comparative analysis

Equities and Fixed Income investments have differing risk-return attributes that drive portfolio construction for investors:

Performance comparison during different economic cycles

Equity returns improve significantly during economic expansions as corporate earnings and growth outlook turn positive. In contrast, bonds perform well when interest rates fall during economic slowdowns. Assessing how each asset class performed historically during different phases of business and interest rate cycles provides helpful pointers. Financial advisors frequently assess the fixed income vs equity mix to align investment strategies with evolving market conditions.

Risk and return trade-off between equities and fixed-income

Equities have delivered significantly higher inflation-adjusted returns over sufficiently long holding periods of 10+ years than more stable fixed-income investments. However, equities have higher volatility, as seen from beta or standard deviation metrics. An appropriate mix must be determined based on factors like time horizon and risk appetite.

How market conditions influence equity and fixed-income investments

When inflation spikes, central banks often raise interest rates to keep things in check. This makes newly issued bonds more attractive with their higher yields. Investors dump existing bonds to buy new ones, causing bond prices to drop. Stocks tend to move oppositely, at least initially. In contrast, rising rate environments are initially negative for equity valuations. Understanding this dynamic relationship helps tactically manage allocations.

Financial goal planning

Mapping portfolio asset allocation to specific goals is vital. Due to high growth potential, equities help drive long-term objectives like retirement corpus and child education/marriage. A stable fixed income ensures steady cash flow for meeting near-term expenses like kids’ education fees.

Importance of portfolio rebalancing

Over long periods, portfolio asset class weights tend to drift away from original allocation levels due to differing relative returns. Rebalancing helps restore the intended strategic asset allocation mix aligned with your risk, return, and investment horizon needs. Getting to know the difference between equity fund vs fixed income would be right for you in making decisions based on portfolio management.

Rebalancing also imposes the discipline of ‘buying low and selling high’. Trimming asset classes that have outperformed forces you to buy more of underperforming assets at lower valuations periodically.

Step-by-step guide on rebalancing your portfolio  

Follow these key steps for systematically reviewing and rebalancing your investment portfolio:

I. Assessing your current asset allocation   

Collating market values for all existing investments across equities, debt, gold, etc. to arrive at current portfolio allocation mix percentages for each asset class

II. Determining your ideal asset allocation

  • Reviewing risk profile in light of any change in time horizons for various goals 
  • Researching expected returns and volatility across different assets to finalise reference policy portfolio
  • Comparing current actual allocation versus reference policy mix to determine the degree of deviations, if any

III. Methods of rebalancing

  • Selling overweighted asset classes and buying underweight ones directly to realign percentages  
  • Utilising dividends, rent, interest income, etc., from existing investments for fresh purchase of unallocated assets
  • Deploying periodic SIPs and lumpsum inflows into asset classes lagging reference allocation levels.

IV. Timing and frequency of portfolio rebalancing

  • Rebalancing exercises should be done at least once annually. More frequent quarterly or bi-annual revisits may be required in volatile markets
  • Significant deviations from policy mix – 5% or higher for major asset classes – should trigger rebalancing

V. Considerations for tax implications

  • Selling decisions should factor in realised capital gains tax impact to determine the most optimal asset allocation strategy 
  • Transfer investments to tax-advantaged retirement accounts before withdrawals to defer tax liabilities


The fixed income vs equity composition of a portfolio is a dynamic element that requires periodic reassessment to maintain alignment with investment objectives. Judiciously investing across equity and fixed-income assets based on financial goals, timeframes, and risk tolerance levels is key to building diversified investment portfolios. Periodic reviews and rebalancing across asset classes ensure your money works towards your objectives despite changing market scenarios. 

Staying disciplined and following a structured approach to rebalancing while being mindful of taxes can help grow your wealth steadily to achieve important milestones like retirement, kids’ education, etc., over the long run.


What are the key differences between fixed income investments vs equity?

Equities represent ownership interest in companies and provide higher but more volatile returns. Fixed-income products like bonds offer stable and fixed returns but lower long-term growth potential. Equities aim for capital appreciation, while fixed income provides regular income.

Why is asset allocation between equities and fixed income important?

Balancing equity and debt provides a diversified portfolio aligned to investment horizons and risk appetite. Including some equity allows growth to beat inflation long-term. Adding bonds brings stability to manage volatility from frequent stock market changes.

How frequently should one rebalance their investment portfolio?

Rebalancing should be done annually. In volatile markets, more frequent quarterly or bi-annual rebalancing may be required. Revisit asset allocation when deviations from the policy asset mix exceed 5% for major classes.

What are the methods to rebalance a portfolio?

You can directly sell overweighted assets to realign allocations to buy underweighted ones. Alternatively, dividends and interest income can be used to purchase underallocated assets. Also, lumpsum money or SIP inflows can be deployed into lagging assets.

When is the right time to rebalance my portfolio?

No single right time. However, periods when major asset classes have diverged significantly in performance, offering attractive valuations, provide good opportunities. For example, use stock market declines to buy more equities.

How are taxes handled when rebalancing portfolio asset allocation?

Be aware of capital gains taxes when selling assets to rebalance. Consider moving investments to retirement accounts where sale attracts no tax. This defers your tax liability. Manage rebalancing methods to optimise post-tax returns.

Enjoyed reading this? Share it with your friends.

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *