With most of 2013 still ahead, investors should not overlook the opportunity to review their portfolios to make sure they are still aligned with their short- and long-term goals. While it is easy to get wrapped up in other priorities, the beginning of a year is an ideal time for investors and their advisors to spend some time going over current holdings and possible future allocations. Although most fund investors are focused on long-term investing, a year or several without such a review can create disconnects in a portfolio's positioning versus the expectations of the investor.

But before we start to think about what has changed in our lives, it may be good to review what has taken place in the markets over the past year or so. For many, an understanding of the markets and their trends most often comes from what is reported in the news or talked about in investment-based media. And, while much of the information presented in these sources can be useful, it can also be narrowly focused and/or based on short-term events. This focus often results in a fragmentation of the larger investment picture and creates noise that can distract people as they make important investment decisions.

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