What influences your risk profile?

Posted on

Risk profile is something we mention a lot when looking at investments and other key financial decisions. But what has an impact on your risk profile?

Investing naturally comes with some level of risk and values will rise and fall over time. However, the amount of volatility experienced varies hugely. Typically, the greater the level of risk and volatility you take on, the higher the potential returns, but there is a greater chance that values will fall. For some, the potential returns of a higher risk profile will outweigh the drawbacks, whilst others will prefer the relative stability of lower risk investments, even if potential returns are reduced.

It’s important to keep in mind that all investments involve some risk. But you also need to look at the long-term picture where volatility is considered. Over the years, stock markets have experienced significant dips, which can be a cause for concern for investors. However, historically, markets have recovered to deliver returns over the long term.

There are five key factors to consider when weighing up your risk profile:

1. Your goals

The first area to think about is what you’re investing for. Having a clear goal in mind, allows you to build an investment portfolio that suits you.

What you’re investing for is likely to have a significant impact on how you feel about risk. Let’s say you’re investing to pay for a child’s education, security may be a priority for you and investments with a relatively low risk may be more attractive because of this. In contrast, if you’re investing to enhance your lifestyle in retirement, but you know you already have the assets to be comfortable, you may decide to increase exposure to volatility.

2. Investment time frame

This one links directly to what your goals are; when do you plan to access your initial investment and the returns it’s hopefully generated?

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t invest if your time frame is less than five years. This gives you an opportunity to ride out dips in the market and recover from potential downturns. In turn, if your time frame is longer, you’re in a better position to take on more risk when you take a long-term view. Investing for retirement is a good example of when a long time frame may mean a higher risk profile is appropriate. When you first start saving for retirement, it’s likely to be a milestone that’s decades away. As a result, short-term volatility should have little impact when you focus on the end goal.

3. Other assets

Financial decisions shouldn’t be made in isolation. They should look at your overall financial plan and the other assets you have. This will influence your risk profile too.

For example, if you hold a significant amount in cash and other low-risk assets, you may decide to take a higher risk with new investments. It’s important to keep in mind here that not all your investments should be the same in terms of risk. Diversifying and holding a range of investment assets, with various risk profiles, can help smooth out market volatility and limit potential losses.

4. Capacity for loss

No one wants to think about losing money when they invest. However, it’s an important consideration to make. If your investments were to perform poorly and decrease in value, how would this impact your lifestyle?

You shouldn’t invest capital that you can’t afford to lose. However, there’s more to it than that. If your investments were to fall, would it devastate your future plans? Or would it simply mean that some small adjustments would need to be made to ensure your lifestyle was sustainable over the long term?

5. Overall attitude to risk

Whilst the above four factors are influential, your overall feelings about risk are too. You should feel comfortable with all the financial decisions you make, including the level of risk taken when investing.

It’s natural to worry about potential losses when investing and if you think you’re being too conservative, taking some time to understand how investment markets operate over the long term can help. On the flip side, an aggressive approach to investing isn’t always appropriate even if you’re comfortable with it. Working with a financial adviser can help you reconcile your feelings on investment risk with your financial position.

Regularly reviewing your risk profile

Remember, your risk profile can change. The level of risk you were willing to take in your early 20s when you likely had fewer responsibilities, is probably very different to the risk profile you had after you were paying a mortgage or had a family. As financial security improves or you approach retirement, the level of risk you’re willing and able to take will change again.

As part of your annual financial review, risk profile should be one of the key considerations that’s discussed. It’s also an area to review following big life events, such as marriage, divorce or starting a family, and when your financial position changes significantly.

If you’d like to discuss your risk profile and how this should be reflected in financial decisions, please get in touch.

Please note: The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

We aim to keep our clients up to date on interesting and relevant financial news.

You can sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter by email, even if you’re not yet a client. Sign-up using the form below.

Client testimonials

I have always found Black Swan to be caring and understanding of my quirky lifestyle. I always feel they try to get me the best returns while respecting my current needs.

Sally Muir

A client since 2011

We would be very happy to recommend the support and service we receive.

Valerie Locks

A client since 2010

I have always been completely useless regarding finance - thankfully our financial adviser is not! I've retired with far more than I ever expected and investments continue to grow safely. So - thank you!

Bernadette Jane Warner

A client since 2000

Very happy with the professional service I have received and feel a lot happier now with my finances put in order.

Martin Field

A client since 2011

Julie Cooper was recommended to me by a work colleague. She has been very helpful, professional and has explained everything well. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone else who are interested in a financial review.

Steven Rooke

A client since 2018

…Service has been first class.

Hugh Fells

A client since 2012

My face to face meetings with Rob Young and Jessica Lyons have always been very open and understandable. My questions have been answered clearly and I have left feeling that my financial matters are in good hands.

Sandra Jack

A client since 2000

[A] safe pair of hands in a complex financial world.

Gary Middlehurst

A client since 2003

A reliable company with good communication skills and good knowledge of the financial markets.

Alan Evetts

A client since 2014

Maureen Pembridge is a long-time trusted advisor to our family. The market might fluctuate but her attention to detail is consistent.

Linda Burnard

A client since 2000

I am pleased to recommend Julie as a trustworthy financial advisor. She explains financial jargon in plain language, and always listens carefully to my particular financial needs and has helped me make the best of my savings.

Carolann Samuels

A client since 2010

I have always been satisfied with the way that Black Swan has handled my account. And I have always found the staff very helpful whenever I need to call the office.

Robert Anthony Matthews

A client since 2012

An excellent personal service from a person I know and trust.

Michael Dalton

A client since 2010

I am getting a very good services from Black Swan, they have got my investments sorted out which was in a bit of a mess.

Roy Jakens

A client since 2012

A good, efficient team providing clear ideas to shape a winning strategy.

Adrian Michael Levenstein

A client since 2011

Black Swan is a company to be trusted, with friendly staff and professional advisors.

David Brian Jennings

A client since 2017

I have been with Black Swan for many years. I have never wished to change anything. They give a good straight forward service.

Martin Barrett Brooks

A client since 2010

Andy Peters has been invaluable in firstly combining several pension pots and then giving excellent investment advice. It has given us a great deal of comfort to know that our financial affairs are in such good hands.

James Guillum Scott

A client since 2014

I find my financial advisor easy to talk to and feel that she understands my lifestyle. She is always available for help when I need her and explains in words that I can understand.

Margaret Ena Glasgow

A client since 2000

Andy is a first rate Director, excellent communicator and leader.

Ross Perry

A client since

Black Swan Financial Planning and Andrew in particular, are very clever at working out how risk averse we are, and coming up with solutions that we feel comfortable with. We are happy in the knowledge that we can continue to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Andrew Peters is a very, very friendly person who is great to chat to and easy to deal with. He explains things very clearly in layman’s terms, and if we still don’t understand, he explains it until we do!

Alan & Jane Dyer

Clients since 2012

We have always found Rob [Young] to be very approachable and knowledgeable. We have every confidence in the advice given and feel comfortable with the decisions we’ve made. There are certain opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if Rob hadn’t brought them to light, which makes the advice good value for money as far as we’re concerned.

Peter & Pauline O’Halloran

Clients since 2013

Rob [Young] is extremely knowledgeable. I knew nothing about the different types of trusts which will not only secure my income in retirement, but also leave a legacy for my children. I’m glad that I sought his advice when I did.

Sarah Wilson

A client since 2015

I am extremely happy with the service afforded to me by the company and my adviser Julie Cooper.

Geoff Coxell

A client since 2010

My wife and myself have been dealing with Black Swan for a number of years. We have met with different representatives from the company over the years and have found all very helpful in their own way. We met with James [Anderson] a few years ago and found him very helpful and knowledgeable. He keeps in contact with us on a regular basis. We find the Company information very helpful and we feel very secure with our finances.

Andrew Kirchen

A client since 2015

I have always found my adviser to be easy to contact, very professional in his approach, yet friendly and understanding. I have a sense of an experienced company behind him, really on the ball financially and with good standards.

B McBean

A client since 2011

Partner with the most reliable and experienced team of advisers

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.

    Subscribe to our newsletter