How Much Risk Is Too Much In Your Portfolio?

By Brett Gottlieb

From a global pandemic and a contentious election season to unprecedented market headlines and international unrest, it’s no surprise we have seen increased market volatility over the last year and a half. And when it feels like our world is spinning out of control, it’s tempting to panic, especially over our finances. After all, human beings are naturally averse to loss, and the pain of losing is more powerful than the potential to achieve gains.[1]

But here’s the irony: when we make emotional decisions and act irrationally in an attempt to avoid loss, we can lose even more. Just ask any investor who has sold stock when the market dropped and missed the recovery, only buying back in when the markets were high again.

What’s the solution? We know we need to invest to grow our money into a nest egg that will sustain us in the future, but how can you ensure you don’t take on too much risk in the process?

What Type of Risk Are We Talking About?

In the financial world, risk tolerance is defined as a measure of one’s financial ability to withstand losses. While you can’t completely eliminate risk in your portfolio, you can ensure that the amount of risk you take correlates with the level of potential reward for you to gain. It is more than possible to match your investments to your goals while still being able to sleep at night during market downturns.

Here’s the thing we need to remember when we’re tempted to get out of the market ASAP: some risks are avoidable, some are not. Avoidable risks are those that occur when your portfolio leans too heavily on stocks or bonds that have been unstable in the past or when your holdings are not diversified appropriately. For example, you may be putting too much of your company’s stock in your 401(k) plan. Or you may have an overabundance of overlapping U.S. stock mutual funds instead of being more globally diversified. Avoidable risks often occur when we underestimate risk and believe we can tolerate more than we actually can.

On the other hand, unavoidable risks are those that occur because our world is ever-changing, volatile, and we can’t predict everything. As much as we wish they weren’t, unavoidable risks are simply out of our control. This type of risk includes unfortunate events like geopolitical issues, global pandemics, and dramatic election seasons.

The third category of risk is often unseen, but it can impact your portfolio just as intensely as an obvious risk: the risk of being too conservative and not achieving your future goals as a result. By overestimating risk and trying to avoid loss at any cost, you could be unintentionally sacrificing your future dreams.

What Can You Do About Risk?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as telling your advisor you feel comfortable with “moderate” risk. Everyone has their own risk tolerance level, based on their age, life circumstances, and time horizon. The key is using a quantitative approach to pinpoint how much risk you are comfortable taking, how much risk you need to take to reach your goals, and how much risk you currently have in your portfolio.

That’s where an experienced financial advisor comes in and can make a world of difference. Here at Comprehensive Advisor, our goal is to help you discover your risk limits before you’re overcome with fear and tempted to panic. We’d love to chat with you, talk through your goals, and work toward your dreams while working within your personal risk level. Reach out to us at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com or call (760) 813-2125 to get started.

About Our Advisors

Brett Gottlieb is the founder of Comprehensive Advisor and a financial advisor with nearly two decades of industry experience. He graduated from California State University-Chico with two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Economics. Brett is Life Insurance licensed in several states. He is passionate about guiding his clients on retirement income planning, helping each client pursue their specific retirement goals and defending the assets his clients have worked so hard to achieve. Brett is a California native and currently resides in San Elijo Hills with his beautiful wife and three children.

With a combined experience of over three decades in the financial services industry, our advisors hail from some of the largest independent broker/dealers and banking institutions in the country. They have dedicated their professional careers to creating personalized financial solutions for individuals and families who seek successful retirement planning and currently offer investment advisory services through AE Wealth Management, LLC. Our advisors take a common-sense approach to the planning process and work with clients to create a retirement road map to help ensure their assets are protected and they receive the income needed to enjoy their future. Based in Carlsbad, California, they work with clients throughout San Diego County and beyond. Learn more by connecting with Brett on LinkedIn or email them at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com.Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. Any references to protection benefits, safety, security, lifetime income, etc. generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investment products. Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Neither the firm nor its representatives may give tax or legal advice. This material is intended to provide general information and is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Comprehensive Advisor, LLC is an independent financial services firm that utilizes a variety of investment and insurance products. Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Comprehensive Advisor, LLC are not affiliated companies. C.A. Financial & Insurance Services, CA Ins. Lic. #6000262. 10/21-01061068


[1] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/loss-psychology.asp

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