Investment Risk – A Reality Check

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Top Risks to Consider in Investing


Stock markets and investment portfolios are inherently risky. Changes in headlines might cause stocks to move in one direction one day and another the next, mainly when economic data doesn’t come in as expected. But not all investment risks are the same, and accepting some investment risk could pay off.


Every investment has some level of risk. Risk is the term used in finance to describe the degree of uncertainty and/or potential financial loss a decision to invest entails. Investors typically want more significant returns when investment hazards increase to compensate for the increased risk.

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The profits and dangers associated with each saving and investment product vary. There are differences in how easily investors can access their funds when they do, how quickly their funds will increase, and how secure their funds will be. The hazards that investors encounter will be discussed in this section.


What is investment risk?

For someone like you who invests, investment risk is the degree of uncertainty and/or potential financial loss associated with a decision to invest. In other words, you can’t be sure if investing your money will result in the profits you want or unexpected losses.


However, the risk to your investments isn’t solely related to changes in the stock market. Your investments could be in danger due to the state of the economy, the duration of your investments, and more.


Investment risk is the likelihood of suffering losses compared to the anticipated return on your capital investments. When determining what to invest in, you must first consider your risk tolerance because different types of investment products have other dangers.


The key takeaway is that while everyone has a different level of risk tolerance, the same idea holds for investing in risk. If there is a secret to investing, it is that you must accept the dangers as well as the potential rewards.


When you know how much risk you’re willing to face, you may choose investments to help you achieve your objectives.


It would be best to consider risks regardless of the investments you select for your portfolio. But here’s the thing: not all dangers are the same. The key to assisting you in choosing the products most suited for your current risk appetite and ambitions is helping you understand the risk levels associated with various asset classes.


Types of Investment Risks

Risk is the chance that you could experience a bad financial outcome that matters to you. For analytical evaluations, there are many different risk categories and many other techniques to estimate risk.


The risk What it is Effect on investments
Inflation risk Price’s tendency to rise over time The purchasing power of money in the future (your assets) will be lower.
Liquidity risk The risk of investment, whether it can be bought or sold quickly enough Lowers earnings, which in turn causes a decline in stock return and lowers trading.
Market risk The risk of loss caused by the state of the financial markets Stocks fluctuate daily and from year to year, which can be detrimental to investments.
Interest rate risk The risk of changing interest rates to the rates on savings and loans Interest rate hikes are typically advantageous for the money you desire to grow (investments).
Credit risk (corporate bonds) The risk that the bond’s issuer will fail The full principal amount or the promised interest may not be paid to bondholders.


Inflation Risk

A broad increase in prices is referred to as inflation. Inflation diminishes purchasing power and poses a risk for investors receiving a fixed interest rate. Inflation-eroding returns is the main worry for people who invest in cash equivalents.


It is possible to lose buying power due to investments with values that do not keep pace with inflation. Over time, inflation reduces the money buying the same goods and services. Inflation risk is especially important to consider if you own cash or debt investments like bonds. Since most businesses can raise the prices they charge customers, shares provide some protection against inflation. Therefore, share prices ought to increase in step with inflation. Due to landlords’ potential to raise rents over time, real estate provides some security.

Liquidity Risk

This refers to the possibility that investors won’t be able to sell or acquire their securities when they want to due to a lack of a market. With the more complex investment products, this may be the case. It might also apply to goods like certificates of deposit (CD) that have penalties for early withdrawal or liquidation.


The risk associated with an investment’s inability to be bought or sold quickly enough to avoid or reduce a loss. To sell the asset, you might have to settle for a lower price to sell the investment. For any equities you want to buy, look into the bid-ask spread and daily trading volume to manage liquidity risk. Make sure your plan has enough liquidity elsewhere to cover any potential needs if you plan to hold illiquid investments.

Market Risk

Market risk refers to the potential for losses brought on by elements influencing the overall performance of assets in the financial market. These include fluctuating interest and currency exchange rates, inflation levels, political unrest, or a worldwide pandemic, such as COVID-19. These factors impact the performance of most businesses’ stocks.


The daily variation in a stock’s price is known as market risk. In the end, it can be reasonably difficult to protect against market risks, and even investing in various types of assets may not fully protect you from the effects of such broad macroeconomic issues. Stocks and options are the significant objects of market risk. Stocks often perform better during bull markets and worse during bear markets.

Interest Rate Risk

A bond’s value may alter as interest rates fluctuate. The face value of the bonds, plus interest, will be paid to the holder if they are held until maturity. The bond’s value could be more or lower than its face value if sold before it matures. When interest rates rise, new bonds will be more tempting to investors because they will pay a greater interest rate than older bonds. You might need to sell an older bond at a discount if you want to sell it because it has a lower interest rate.


When interest rates change, the value of investments like bonds, GICs, and mortgage-based investments will also vary. Fixed-rate investments lose value as interest rates rise. Fixed-rate investments gain value as interest rates decline.

Credit Risk

The risk of a company or the government defaulting on a bond it has issued is known as credit risk. The bond issuer may experience financial difficulties because it may not be able to pay the bondholders’ interest or principal, defaulting on its commitments.


The issuer of your investment runs the risk of defaulting on its obligations. Merely not getting what you invested in was promised. Regular coupon payments are made on government bonds. You wouldn’t get your refund if the government missed its coupon payments. The same is true of businesses and preference shares. Credit rating can be used to assess credit risk. A credit rating of AAA indicates the lowest credit risk.


What Benefits and Drawbacks Does Investment Risk Have?

Why, then, would you take on investment risk? Generally speaking, the benefits of investing may be greater than the benefits of ordinary savings accounts.


The amount of risk you take on is up to you because investing risk differs from one sort of investment to another. You’re probably okay with taking on some level of financial risk if you don’t mind temporary changes in the value of your investments. Taking less risk might be your style, though, if the idea of a loss in value—even for one day—gives you the shivers.


Additionally, some forms of investment risk work to offset those of other forms. Consider inflation, which over time, raises prices. You might need to take on some risk if you want your investments to stay up with the risk of such rises.


Risk vs. Reward

The balance between the desire for the lowest risk and the best profits is known as the risk-return tradeoff. Generally speaking, high levels of risk are linked to high potential returns, while low levels of risk are linked to low potential returns.


Each investor must determine the level of risk they are prepared and able to take in exchange for the desired return. The variables include age, income, investment objectives, liquidity requirements, time horizon, and personality.


The risk/return trade-off for investment is illustrated visually in the accompanying graphic, where a higher standard deviation indicates a higher risk level and a higher possible return.


It’s crucial to remember that increased risk doesn’t always translate into more significant rewards. The risk-return tradeoff suggests that investments with more considerable risks may result in better profits, but it makes no guarantees. The risk-free rate of return, or potential rate of return on a risk-free investment, is on the lower end of the risk spectrum. It represents the rate of interest you might anticipate from a completely risk-free investment over a specific time frame. Theoretically, you should expect the risk-free rate of return as the minimal return on any investment because you wouldn’t take on additional risk unless the possible rate of return were higher.


Risk Tolerance

Calculating investment risk requires more than just numbers. Every investor has a different threshold for accepting risk. Risk tolerance is referred to as this. Your age, financial circumstances, emotional state, and financial objectives may all impact how risk-tolerant you are.


You and your registered investment adviser will determine your risk tolerance and create a risk profile. They use this data to identify the combination of investments most appropriate for your investment portfolio. With your registered investment expert, you should routinely reassess your risk tolerance significantly if your financial or personal position changes.


Keeping your investing professional updated on any changes to your situation (for example, moving jobs, having a baby, or changing your marital status) may affect how much risk you are ready and able to take on.


Investment Risk Management

Even while investing carries some risk, and this risk may be managed and limited. Risks can be managed in a variety of methods, including

1.     Diversification:

Spreading investments among various assets, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.  This benefits the investor because, even if one investment underperforms, he will still profit from other investments. Diversification can be accomplished between and within assets (e.g., investing across various sectors when investing in stocks).

2.     Consistent Investing (Averaging):

The investor can average his investment by regularly committing small sums of money at regular intervals. He will occasionally buy at a premium and a discount while keeping the investment’s initial cost in mind. He will make money on the entire investment, though, if the investment’s value increases in the market.

3.     Long-term Investing:

Compared to short-term investments, long-term investments offer better returns than short-term investments. Despite short-term market volatility, securities often rise in value when invested over a longer time horizon (5,10, 20 years).


Important Points

  • It is the possibility of losing the money invested if the security’s fair price drops.
  • Riskier securities offer higher returns.
  • Market risk is a major component of the risk, but it is not the only one. Other risk categories include inflation risk, reinvestment risk, and credit risk, among others.
  • Although investment risk is a factor in almost all types of investments, it can be minimized by diversification, investment averaging, and long-term planning.



Investment risk is the possibility of losing the amount invested. All investments involve some degree of risk of loss, but the investor may be able to control these risks by better comprehending and diversifying the risk. The investor can achieve promising financial riches and objectives by practicing improved risk management.



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