Add satellites to your core. Your core portfolio should be a basic mix of stocks and bonds. Once that's covered, add "satellite" investments to diversify further, says Hillsborough, N.J., financial adviser Robert Martorana.
These supplemental holdings should account for about 20% of your portfolio. So if you have $400,000 or so in core stocks and bonds, building a satellite -- without having to sell existing holdings -- would take close to $100,000. Start with these three:
• Foreign small caps: iShares MSCI EAFE Small Cap ETF ( )
• Foreign bonds: Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ( )
• Active managers: Stick with those that go off the beaten path. For stocks: FPA Perennial (, a )MONEY 70 fund that makes concentrated bets on only the most profitable businesses with low valuations and debt. For bonds: Pimco Unconstrained Bond (, which ventures into niche areas, like the emerging markets, while still delivering a less bumpy ride. )
Explore new cash options. Treasury yields are up, so why is it still so hard to earn anything on cash? Blame it on Bernanke. Even as long-term yields have risen, the Fed pledges to keep short rates near zero until at least mid-2015.
If that's the case, stash about a year's worth of expenses -- say, $50,000 -- in an accessible online account, such as GE Capital's (0.9%). Then put the remaining $50,000 in a two-year CD. Highest yield: Nationwide Bank (1.15%). You'd earn 1.03% overall, more than double what money-market accounts are paying. And when your CD matures, savings rates will hopefully be higher.
Ladder ETFs. A classic fixed-income strategy: Buy individual bonds with staggered maturities. If rates rise, you can reinvest cash from maturing debt at new, higher yields. Alas, you'll need more than $100,000 for a really diversified "ladder."
Enter term maturity ETFs. Unlike regular fixed-income funds, these ETFs hold hundreds of bonds that come due in the same year, when the fund returns your cash. So now you can ladder funds, says adviser Matthew Forester.
• Municipal debt: iShares AMT-Free Muni 2014, '15, '16, '17, and '18
• Corporate debt: Guggenheim Bullet-Shares Corp. 2013-22