Whether your retirement is years away or right around the corner, your investment portfolio should be designed with your financial goals in mind. It needs to be forward-thinking enough to handle the whims of the market but flexible enough to make changes on the fly. One of the most important concepts for any investor to understand is asset allocation. Put simply, asset allocation describes the division of stocks, bonds, and cash that make up your investment portfolio. Although this concept is straightforward, it has one of the largest impacts on your financial future.