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Risk Tolerance – How to Determine What’s Yours

September 28, 2022
6 min read

How much risk are you willing to take? It’s a simple question, but the answer can get tricky.

When it comes to investing, there is no single correct answer. Your risk tolerance plays a significant role in determining what investment strategies are right for you.  

Understanding your tolerance before investing is essential because it can help you avoid making ill-advised decisions that could jeopardize your long-term investment goals.

What’s Risk Tolerance?

Risk tolerance is the level of risk an investor is willing to accept, given the volatility of an investment’s value. To put it simply, tolerance is the ability to handle losses without becoming emotionally distraught.

Tolerance is essential for investors because it allows them to stay calm when the market is volatile, and their investments lose value. A lack of tolerance can lead to panic selling, exacerbating losses.

How Risk Tolerance Works

Risk tolerance is not a static quality; it can change over time based on factors such as age, investment experience, and life circumstances. 

For example, someone who is young and has a long time horizon for investing may be more willing to take on chances. On the other hand, someone nearing retirement may want a way to grow and still preserve their capital. 

Knowing your risk tolerance is essential for building a portfolio that aligns with your objectives. If you are too risk-averse, you may miss out on potential returns.

Levels of Risk Tolerance

There are three levels of risk tolerance: conservative, moderate, and aggressive. 

Which level is right for you depends on your circumstances and goals. Some people are naturally inclined toward taking more chances, while others are more comfortable with slow but steady gains.

1. Conservative

The first level is conservative. You’re only comfortable investing with little risk. You want to know that your money is safe and sound, even if it means sacrificing returns. 

As a conservative investor, you focus more on capital preservation than capital appreciation. You are willing to accept lower returns in exchange for not worrying about your investment losing value. 

A few different factors can contribute to someone having a conservative portfolio. One is age – as people get older, they tend to become more averse and have less time to recover from losses. 

Another factor is investment experience. Investors burned in the past by volatile markets may be more hesitant.

2. Moderate

The second level is moderate. You’re willing to take on a little more risk for the chance of higher returns. You understand that there’s always some element of risk with investing, but you’re okay with that. 

As a moderate investor, you are willing to take measured stakes to achieve your financial goals. You understand the potential for loss, but you are comfortable with this possibility. 

When building a moderate portfolio, you usually seek a balance between capital preservation and capital growth. You’re willing to accept higher levels of volatility to achieve higher returns. However, you will typically not invest in assets that you consider too volatile.

A moderate portfolio can be an excellent strategy for building long-term wealth. It can also help you reach your financial goals sooner than if you have lower risk tolerance. 

3. Aggressive

The third level is aggressive. You’re willing to take on a lot of risk for the potential of high returns. You know that there’s a chance you could lose everything. Still, you’re comfortable with that because you believe in your ability to pick winners. 

Investors willing to take on more risk to achieve higher returns have aggressive risk tolerance. This type is common with younger investors, as they generally have a longer time horizon and can afford to weather the ups and downs of the markets. 

However, building an aggressive portfolio is not for everyone and comes with its own set of risks and rewards. 

If you want to manage an aggressive portfolio, it is essential to remember that there is always the potential for loss, no matter how well the market is doing. You must be okay with losing some or all your investment. 

While the potential for loss may seem scary, it is essential to remember that it is difficult to achieve higher returns without taking on some level of risk.

How to Assess Your Risk Tolerance

When it comes to investing, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone has a limit when making an investment decision.

So, how can you assess your risk tolerance when you start investing? Here are a few factors to consider:

1. How much are you willing to lose? 

No one likes to lose money, but when it comes to investing, there is always a certain amount of risk involved. Before making an investment, ask yourself how much money you are willing to lose. This will help you determine your overall tolerance.

2. What is your time horizon? 

Are you investing for the short term or the long term? Your time horizon will affect how much risk you’re willing to take. If you are investing for the long term, you can afford to ride out the ups and downs of the market. However, if you are investing for the short term, you will need to be more conservative with your investments.

3. What is your end goal?  

Are you looking to grow your money, or are you looking for something more speculative?  

If you’re willing to be more aggressive, you may be interested in speculative and fast-paced markets. However, if you want to manage a conservative portfolio, you may want to stick with more traditional investments.

It’s important to know what your goal is before investing. Otherwise, you could take on more risks than you’re comfortable with and lose money. So, take some time to think about what you’re looking for before making any decisions.

4. What’s your experience with investing? 

How much experience do you have with investing in the past? When trying to assess your tolerance, it’s a pivotal question.  

If you don’t have much experience, you may want to pause a little and study the markets you want to invest in. On the other hand, if you’ve been investing for years, you’re likely more comfortable with taking more risks.

Risk Tolerance vs. Risk Capacity

Investors often conflate risk tolerance with risk capacity, but they are distinct concepts. 

Tolerance is your willingness to lose money on an investment. In contrast, capacity is the maximum amount of money you can afford to lose. 

When it comes to investing, tolerance is vital. Potentially profitable but risky assets, such as cryptocurrencies, need careful consideration, and your fortunes can quickly change for the worse if you’re reckless. 

That said, even the most tolerant investors should know their capacity. No one wants to lose more money than they can afford to, no matter how much they’re willing to take on in terms of risk. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to separate risk tolerance from risk capacity when making investment decisions.

Determine Your Risk 

When building your portfolio, you should directly align the level of risk you’re willing to take on with your investment goals. 

Suppose your goal is to grow your money over time. In that case, you’ll likely be more tolerant of volatility and willing to hold for the long term. On the other hand, if your goal is to make a quick profit, you may be more comfortable taking on short-term investments. 

Before investing any money, you must understand your goals and what level you’re comfortable with. Once you have a clear picture, you can start doing your research and investing accordingly. 

Once you determine your risk tolerance, stick to it. Don't let emotions get the better of you, and don't chase after gains. Only invest what you're comfortable losing and always have an exit strategy in mind.

Turn Your Risk Tolerance Into an Investment Strategy With Peccala

When it comes to investing in crypto, your risk tolerance is critical. Peccala is a platform that allows you to manage your risks better and turn them into an investment strategy.

As one of the world’s first tokenized investment services, Peccala has created a one-of-a-kind automated trading technology that actively trades crypto around the clock.

With Peccala, you input your desired level of risk, and the app does the rest. It automatically allocates your funds across various cryptocurrencies based on your profile. Moreover, you can custom-build your profile by distributing funds across our various risk strategies, without worrying about picking individual coins or managing your portfolio.

Peccala takes care of everything for you, so you can focus on enjoying crypto’s benefits without any hassle.