What's up with risk and return?
In an ideal world, you could save money and prepare for retirement without any risks or threats. Unfortunately, risk is a natural part of any financial strategy. There are a wide range of risks that could potentially derail your plan. Medical emergencies, disability, job loss, and more could cut into your savings and limit your ability to retire comfortably.
Your savings and investments also face market risk. Volatility is a component in nearly every financial market. Assets rise in value, but they can also fall. Depending on your allocation, those declines could put your investments at risk.
Risk and return also tend to go hand-in-hand. Many of the assets that have the highest long-term historical returns also have the high levels of volatility. Assets that tend to have little risk exposure also may have limited return potential.
How do you grow your assets without taking on too much risk exposure? One effective strategy is to align your allocation with your risk tolerance. Your risk tolerance is your own personal threshold for downside movement. Everyone’s risk tolerance is different. It should be based on your specific needs and goals, as well as other factors.
Is your allocation aligned with your risk tolerance? Do you know your risk tolerance level? If not, now may be the time to review your plan. A financial professional can help you determine how much risk is right for you. Below are a few factors to consider as you get started:
Any risk tolerance analysis should start with a review of your goals. Why are you saving money? The size of your goal will influence your strategy.
For example, assume you’re saving for retirement, which is a sizable goal. You’ll likely need to grow your money over a long period of time to reach your objective, so you may need to take some risk to get your desired level of return.
However, assume you’re saving for a down payment for a home purchase. In this case, growing your money may not be as important as simply protecting it. An account or asset with little or no risk could be more appropriate for a goal of that size.
When will you actually need to use your savings? The amount of time you have until you need to use your assets is known as your time horizon. The longer your time horizon, the more tolerance you may have for risk.
Assume you intend to retire in five years. You may not have much tolerance for market loss. If the market declines, you may not have time to participate in the recovery. On the other hand, assume you aren’t retiring for 30 years. If the market declines, you have plenty of time to recover, so it may make sense to take on greater risk exposure in the pursuit of higher returns.
Every person is different, so there’s no universal correct answer on how much risk is appropriate. Your personal preferences should be an important consideration. Some people are naturally more comfortable with risk than others.
How do you feel when your investments decline in value? Does it cause stress and anxiety? Or does it barely register on your radar? If your risk level keeps you up at night or causes you to question your strategy, that could be a sign that you are allocated too aggressively.
Ready for an allocation that is right for your risk tolerance? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Carstens Financial Group. We can help you analyze your needs and implement a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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