Understanding Your Risk Tolerance

Choosing which investment to commit to should be regarded as a thorough, and even tedious process. One of the critical factors to consider when selecting your investments is Risk Tolerance, generally defined as the degree of uncertainty that an investor can handle in regard to a negative change in the value of his/her portfolio. To get a better understanding of the attributes that compose Risk Tolerance, why it’s important and how to use it to your advantage, keep reading! Today’s blog comes to you from Mint.com

1. Investment knowledge and experience

The first aspect of risk tolerance is your familiarity with a particular investment market. Most people know that the stock market is “risky” when the economic outlook is uncertain. Price volatility of the averages translates to volatility in individual stocks. But beyond that, if you have gone through market swings in the past and you know how to recognize market swings, you are better equipped to remain calm during volatile times. For example, you may realize that a big dip in a stock’s price is going to be temporary because that company is a leader in its industry and is also well-managed.

2. Income and asset levels

Your risk tolerance is also defined by how much money you earn and how much you have in your portfolio. If you earn very little and have a small portfolio with just a few different assets, you cannot afford a large loss. If you have a diversified portfolio that you have built up over many years, you also know that you can afford a loss in one issue, because it will not impact the entire portfolio.

3. Age and living circumstances

If you are a young investor, you can afford to take bigger market risks. With more time to go until retirement, you also have more time to rebuild after a loss. However, if you are going to retire in only a few years, you cannot afford big risks. The same restrictions apply to your living circumstances. A young single person is going to invest differently than a married couple with children and a mortgage.

4. Long-term investment goals

What are you saving toward? The range of possibilities includes retirement security, a child’s college education, or a desire to start your own business — or all of these. Your priorities determine your risk tolerance. A few priorities, such as retirement, are critical, whereas others (such as traveling around the world after retirement) are optional. The more critical an investment goal is, the less risk tolerance it can bear.

5. Personal preferences

Finally, those personal preferences (Coke versus Pepsi, for example) are also important. It may be something as simple as a product preference or as broad as a market attitude. Some people love stocks but hate real estate, others love mutual funds but hate stocks. The reasons are not as important as that personal “comfort zone.” To succeed as an investor, you need to be happy with your choices.

No investor is immune from the often irrational and emotional actions or reactions within the market. In fact, that’s what makes investing and trading interesting. However, it certainly improves your chances for a satisfying and profitable experience if you also understand why some investments are better choices for you. Risk tolerance is much more than just exposure to possible losses. It defines who you are as an investor.

Do you have any additional tips for properly assessing Risk Tolerance? Share them in the comments section!