Do You Know Your Risk Tolerance?

Anybody who has even briefly dabbled in the market is undoubtedly familiar with the term “risk tolerance.” As applied to a stock-and-bond portfolio, risk tolerance comprises age, time till retirement, income requirements, and the “sleep at night” element, which refers to an investor’s level of market worry.

How should investors determine their risk tolerance? That can be a tough issue since a very worried person may put most of their assets in cash, which won’t yield the return most retirees require. Some may see bonds as more secure, yet fixed income underperforms equities.

Taking too little risk might lead to portfolio underperformance relative to what a retiree requires. Too much risk might result in significant declines at precisely the wrong moment.

Here are some elements to consider when establishing your risk tolerance and the mix of investments you wish to include in your portfolio:

  • What is investment risk tolerance?
  • How risk tolerance impacts investment objectives
  • When to do a risk assessment.
  • Adviser vs. self-evaluation of risk tolerance.
  • Conflicting risk tolerances in couples.

What Is Investment Risk Tolerance?

Amanda Kaphammer, an independent financial consultant and the creator of Sol Spyre in Bend, Oregon, defines risk tolerance as an individual’s willingness, capacity, and need to accept risks.

Willingness to take risks is a person’s attitude toward risk, she says. One person may be an adrenaline junkie willing to embrace risk with a devil-may-care attitude, while another finds the idea of bungee jumping off a bridge ridiculous and prefers to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground.

She adds that the capacity to accept risks accounts for an investor’s preparation to weather the unexpected. For example, do they have adequate emergency savings and suitable insurance coverage?

Taking risks is proportional to the anticipated return on investment necessary to accomplish a person’s financial objectives.

What is the objective, how much will it cost, and when do we want it to occur? asks Kaphammer. These are also known as the objective, the budget, and the timeline. She says that after these questions are addressed, an investor or financial advisor may devise a strategy to obtain the desired return.

How Risk Tolerance Impacts Investment Objectives

Scott Butler, the financial advisor with Klauenberg Retirement Solutions in Laurel, Maryland, emphasizes the importance of investors understanding how much money would be required to support their retirement completely.

Each dollar should be tied to a specific objective so that it may be invested following the time, he explains. This often implies that not every dollar should be at the same risk level. Even the most active investors should be careful with mortgage payment funds due next week.

He argues that there is a fundamental distinction between the amount of risk investors must assume to attain a goal and the amount of risk they are willing to assume. Being overly cautious may be the surest way not to attain your goals, he says. Conversely, if you can fulfill all your goals with a lower rate of return, you need to assess if it is worth taking on greater risk for a higher return.

When To Do A Risk Assessment

Investors must also note that risk tolerance might alter depending on the market and economic situations or circumstances particular to a person’s life, among other considerations. Joel Larsen, the partner at Navion Financial Advisers in Sacramento, California, believes the way to acquire a genuine tolerance for risk is to analyze it in or immediately after a rough down market.

He explains estimates created when everything is going well will be optimistic by default. His company, like many others, employs Riskalyze, a risk assessment tool, to measure risk and determine an investor’s projected return.

Risk tolerance by itself does not change with age, as it is a component of the client’s psychological makeup, explains Larsen. What may alter is the amount of risk you include in your portfolio at any one moment based on market concerns. Larsen stated that he does not set it and then forget about it.

According to Scott Sturgeon, founder and senior wealth adviser of Oread Wealth Partners in Leawood, Kansas, risk tolerance must be a shifting objective. Humans do not live linear lives, nor do they resemble the financial predictions that are provided in client meetings. “Life is chaotic, which is a good thing.” Individuals lose their jobs, leave their positions to establish their enterprises, children are born, parents pass away, people age, and numerous other life events occur in between. He adds that significant life events influence an investor’s financial condition, aspirations, and risk aversion.

Adviser vs. Self-evaluation Of Risk Tolerance

Investors engaging with a financial advisor can receive assistance in establishing a risk-appropriate, return-generating plan. Yet, the procedure might be more challenging for flying solo.

A partner at Running Point Capital Advisers in El Segundo, California, Michael Ashley Schulman, says investors without a financial advisor may examine their own financial goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance.

Yet, he agrees that objective self-evaluation is difficult.

Schulman states he has encountered numerous people who regard themselves as conservative yet are truly aggressive, and vice versa. Much depends on their point of view. He observes that people are frequently aggressive in certain facets of their lives and reserved in others.

According to Schulman, we’ve all seen the individual who speeds down the highway like a lunatic yet spends five minutes choosing a loaf of bread at the supermarket. Self-analysis without supervision is difficult; you may utilize online risk tolerance exams or consult a financial professional on a limited basis.

Schulman asserts that independent investors must comprehend the link between risk and reward and the worth of income streams and their tolerance for portfolio value declines.

Conflicting Risk Tolerances In Couples

It is typical for partners to have varied risk tolerance levels.

Andy Laino, a certified financial planner at Prudential Financial in Sarasota, Florida, says when two individuals in a relationship have different risk tolerance levels, it can lead to stress and conflicts that are difficult to handle.

Laino believes that the best approach to tackle this scenario is first to recognize and respect each other’s risk tolerance. It’s vital to remember that risk tolerance is a personal preference, and neither individual is wrong for having a different perspective.

Laino will do a risk assessment for each member of these couples before discussing how to execute the proper asset allocations. Once this level of communication is established, a negotiated degree of acceptable risk is established, he adds. A mutual agreement or compromise on money is a valuable learning lesson that may apply to other financial or familial matters. The key to achieving a balance that benefits both sides is negotiation.

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