Risk Tolerance in Investing

Investors knew that they were bound to face risks in the world of investing. It is also a matter of how much of it they can stomach and how can they endure them. When building a portfolio, investors should learn about risk tolerance. It is a measure of the degree of failure that one is willing to face.

What is risk tolerance?

Every investment you get into will always be linked to a risk of some degree. Knowing how much risk you can tolerate can guide you in planning your whole portfolio and determining how big you can invest.

Risk tolerance is your ability to handle a decline in your investments, whether minor or extensive. In determining how much risk you can tolerate, evaluate yourself first on maintaining your positions when there is a decline in the stock market.

Several factors could influence risk tolerance. Here are some:


Age is usually related to risk tolerance, but not all the time. Young investors tend to have a higher risk tolerance than older ones. Since younger investors have more working years for earning, saving, and investing, they can easily tolerate adverse movements.

On the other hand, older investors are more prone to being greatly affected by downward shocks, making them turn to financial planning as a backup plan. Sometimes, they base their investing decisions depending on their past experiences.


People’s level of risk tolerance can sometimes be determined by how important or the size of their goals. Investors with big goals like retirement and college will likely have higher risk tolerance.

Others who need to reach their goals quickly, like down payments for their home or loans, have a lower risk tolerance. Individuals with a lower risk tolerance are suggested to avoid the market since unexpected fluctuations occur.

Level of comfort

Understandably, some investors cannot stand negative movements in a stock market which causes their portfolio values to drop. The level of comfort that you have when facing this type of struggle can show how high your risk tolerance is.

Portfolio dependence

Individuals who heavily depend on their investments for everyday expenses are likely to have a lower risk tolerance. For people that live off investments, it is wise to have at least a few years’ worth of living expenses aside when facing unpredictable financial challenges.

Types of risk tolerance

Conservative risk tolerance

Conservative investors dislike dealing with high volatility in their investment portfolios. Investors of old age are mainly in this category. They have a low willingness to risk a loss in their primary investment. Those with this mindset would instead get lower returns than risk dealing with wild swings. Typically, they would choose money market funds, tangible assets, and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Moderate risk tolerance

Moderate investors like to have a balanced strategy. They evaluate opportunities and risks. Most of the time, they have a mixture of stocks and bonds in their portfolio. Also, they opt for an even or near-even share of risky and safer assets.

Aggressive risk tolerance

Aggressive investors possess high-risk tolerance and are prepared to lose money to get better results potentially. They have a deeper understanding of the volatility of securities and high knowledge about the market. Their investments highlight capital appreciation instead of income or maintaining principal investment.

Risk tolerance VS Risk capacity

Risk tolerance is defined as an investor’s attitude when facing an investment risk. It is their willingness to have negative changes in their portfolio. It is qualitative because emotions play a part in investing.

Risk capacity is your ability to handle financial risk from a quantitative side. This usually depends on what stage of your life is in. It points to the number of risks you can take.

It is common that your risk tolerance is not in line with your risk capacity; if that ever happens, it is okay. Stepping back to a comfortable level of risk can show a sign of maturity. There is nothing to feel upset about if you must admit to yourself that you had enough, even if it means having a lower net worth.

Determining your risk tolerance

Know your objectives in investing. Assess how regularly you invest and your value growth. Learn if you seek to preserve what you built and live off tits generated income. Every objective that you have will show various tolerance.

Study the time horizon you are working with. If you need the money as soon as possible, you may have insufficient space for risk tolerance. But if you still have a decent amount of it, like several years from needing the money, you can still face a handful of risks.

Your reaction to every possible scenario is vital. If you cannot handle even a little slide in your investments, you probably cannot tolerate risks. Solid strategies that can solve almost any hurdle your way increase your risk tolerance.

Combining all the factors mentioned can help you identify how high or low you can tolerate risks.

For some investors, experience comes into play whenever they want to determine how much risk they are willing to take. Of course, investing knowledge is a big part of the process. But other times, they look at their past experiences or movement history that they went through. This can make them hesitant to take risks. Sometimes they go with their guts, hoping things will turn out how they want.

Sure, people have a lot of what-ifs when they dive into the world of investing. Knowing that you will face negative shocks along the way and preparing yourself to deal with them can build up your confidence. It is a positive aspect of investing that can help you have a peaceful experience.

Before you start investing, always have a backup plan in case of emergencies or unexpected unfortunate events. Anticipate every possible risk that you can possibly face. Keep in mind that sometimes it is okay to play it safe if you know you are not able to handle declines well, that does not necessarily mean that you will not be successful.

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