We\u2019ve all heard the old adage, \u201csell in May and go away\u201d until November. And as we enter the summer months with more time on our hands to get our financial affairs in order, we\u2019re asking ourselves: does this investing advice hold true in bringing better financial returns?\r\n\r\n\u201cSell in May and go away\u201d is an age-old investing strategy warning investors to begin selling stock holdings in the month of May, to hedge against the risk of seasonal market declines throughout the \u201csummer slump\u201d. The goal is to stay out of the market during the more volatile months between May and October, and re-invest around November. According to some, investors who follow this strategy will earn higher returns than those who do not.\r\n\r\nCurious to find out how many people actually follow the advice to sell in May and go away until November, we first dug through our user data for some hard numbers. For starters, check out the chart below. We reviewed the average stock holding sales transaction amounts month over month, from Q1 of 2013 to the end of 2014, and low and behold sales spiked in May of both years.\r\n\r\nPersonal Capital*\r\n\r\nClever sayings aside, what does jumping on cookie cutter investing advice like \u201csell in May and go away\u201d mean for your financial potential? The risk of selling in May specifically is that while markets may arguably be unpredictable during summer months, you could be missing out on longer-term returns year over year by selling in May.\r\n\r\nHistorically, it has been proven that the \u201csell in May\u201d strategy has not performed better than simply buying and holding investments long-term, as seen here:\r\n\r\nForbes**\r\n\r\nWhile it can be tempting to follow \u201ctrusted\u201d or seasonal advice to revamp your portfolio, you might want to take our advice instead. Before you head off on your summer vacations this year, set time aside to build a holistic investment strategy that can take longer-term factors into account.\r\n\r\nReady to get started? Make sure to incorporate these 5 things in your investing plan:\r\n1. Diversify\r\nWe all know the market has gone through ups and downs, both in summer and every other season. To protect your investments as best as possible while you\u2019re hitting the beach this month, diversify your portfolio composition first by asset class. Within stocks, further diversify by sector, size, and style. Also, make sure you have a significant number of different stocks, not just a few big companies making up the majority of your portfolio.\r\n2. Personalize\r\nWhat are your financial goals? If you\u2019re planning that once in a lifetime summer vacation, or budgeting for the purchase of your dream summer home, your portfolio strategy should reflect that. Be honest about your risk tolerance, time horizon, and liquidity needs. If, for example, you need liquid assets to remodel your house in 6 months \u2013 make sure you\u2019re realistic about how much money you tie up today.\r\n3. Rebalance\r\nRebalancing your portfolio is also a key piece of a successful investing strategy, used to keep long-term goals on track, avoid emotional mistakes, and minimize risk. It can be helpful make a plan to rebalance your portfolio when any given asset class deviates more than a certain, pre-determined percentage.\r\n4. Tax optimize\r\nA solid tax optimization strategy could mean 1% higher annual returns for your portfolio, a substantial addition if you\u2019ve set your sights on a couple of luxurious summer getaways. A few good options to optimize taxes are to avoid mutual funds, implement tax loss harvesting, and choose tax efficient investment vehicles.\r\n5. Monitor\r\nWhen you\u2019re firing up the grill with family and friends this summer, it\u2019s easy to put your financial plans on the back burner. But don\u2019t forget to monitor your spending and investments, easily done from any vacation destination with the help of a mobile personal finance app. With financial tools like Personal Capital\u2019s Investment Checkup, you can see how your investments are performing today, and get expert recommendations for how they could do even better in the future.\r\n\r\nThis summer, take a step back and think twice before you follow on the heels of seasonal investing advice. Get your investing strategy in order with our 5 simple steps here, and take a few of our other posts below along for some beach reading!\r\n\r\nTake The Emotion Out Of Investing For Better Returns\r\nOverworked? Here\u2019s How To Achieve More Balance In Your Life\r\nIs Early Retirement More Attainable Than We Think?\r\nHow Multitasking Can Work Against You When It Comes To Your Finances\r\nShould I Buy A Vacation Property? \r\n\r\n*Data based on information available from Personal Capital software users.\r\n**Data available from Forbes.