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Shared by Strong Valley on August 4, 2023
Know your Risk Tolerance number.
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Know your Risk Tolerance number. It's a quantitative way to pinpoint how much risk you want, how much risk you currently have in your portfolio, and how much risk you need to take to reach your goals. Understanding your risk tolerance can help guide your investment decisions and help you sleep more soundly at night.

Important Disclosure: Content on our website and in our newsletters is for informational purposes only. The information provided may (or may not) directly apply to your situation. We recommend that readers work directly with a professional advisor when making decisions in the context of their specific situation.

Risk tolerance is a highly individual matter. A portfolio that keeps one investor awake at night may let another sleep soundly. However, investors must be willing to accept a certain risk level to receive investment returns in the form of interest or capital gains.

All investments carry a tradeoff between risk and return—generally, the higher the risk, the higher the potential return—or loss. Conversely, the lower the risk, the lower the potential return or loss. The goal is to find the right level of risk that provides the returns you need, while letting you get a good night’s rest.

Temperament, age, stage in life, investment experience, financial goals, and time horizons are all factors that affect one’s risk tolerance. Following is a brief discussion of some of these points to help you assess your own personal risk tolerance:

Know Your Risk Tolerance

  • Temperament. Not everyone is comfortable taking financial risks. Just because someone is a weekend extreme rock climber doesn’t necessarily mean that this risk-taking behavior extends to his or her finances. When selecting investments, it is important to bear in mind that different types carry different degrees of risk, and also that returns for specific investment types may vary over time. For instance, stock market returns that have historically risen over the long term have experienced wide short-run fluctuations. Looking back at the historic 1973–1975 recession, the stock market dropped by 46%. Ask yourself: “How well would I have weathered that loss?”
  • Age and Stage in Life. Single investors may be able to carry more risk than married couples with children. Individuals just embarking on their careers and building wealth can usually take on more risk than those nearing, or already in, retirement.
  • Investment Experience. Sophisticated investors, who understand capital markets and are knowledgeable about specific investments, can typically assume more risk than novices.
  • Financial Goals and Time Horizons. Another consideration is the amount of time you have to meet your financial goals—that is, your time horizon. For example, if you begin saving for retirement early, you can generally afford to assume a higher degree of risk. While it is not wise to take on more risk than you are comfortable with, remember that the amount of risk you are willing to carry may potentially affect the level of return you can expect.

Reassess Periodically

It is prudent to assess your risk tolerance before beginning an investment program. Then, reassess it periodically as you progress through life’s major stages, such as when starting a family, changing jobs, or approaching retirement. Understanding your risk tolerance can help guide your investment decisions, and help you sleep more soundly at night.

Follow up with a Strong Valley financial advisor to better understand the context of your unique goals and situation.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results or even estimates of actual returns a client may achieve. This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Opinions and estimates offered are subject to change without notice. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Please see other important disclosures related to

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