Risk – Simply a Box of Chocolates?
By Jonathan Goodman
This article is published on: 7th January 2015
What is financial risk, and is it all down to chance?
Whether you are investing for your retirement or for more immediate financial needs, there are three factors that could keep you from achieving your goals: inflation, taxes, and risk. It is easy to plan for inflation and to reduce taxes, but risk is another matter as it is so unpredictable.
Types of financial risk to watch out for include:
Investment Specific Risk:
Risk that affects a very small number of assets.
Risk of one country’s foreign policy unduly influencing or upsetting domestic political and social stability in another country or region.
Risk that a borrower will default on any type of debt by failing to make required payments.
Interest Rate Risk:
Risk that arises for bond owners from fluctuating interest rates. How much interest rate risk a bond has depends on how sensitive its price is to interest rate changes in the market.
The possibility that the value of assets or income will decrease as inflation shrinks the purchasing power of a currency.
Risk that stems from the changes in the valuation of currency exchanges. Fluctuations result from unpredictable gains and losses incurred when profits from foreign investments are converted from foreign currencies.
Risk of a change of price of a portfolio as a result of changes in the volatility of a risk factor. Usually applies to portfolios of derivatives instruments, where volatility is a major influencer of prices.
Risk that a given security or asset cannot be traded quickly enough in the market to prevent a loss (or make the required profit).
Allocation of proportional risk to all parties to a contract, usually through a risk premium.
The use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital, such as margin, to increase the potential return of an investment.
The risk to each party of a contract that the counterparty will not live up to its contractual obligations.
Overcoming Risk: Prudential & Smoothing
Prudential Multi-Asset funds work by spreading your money across a number of different types of assets. Funds are designed to deliver smoothed growth through a number of investment options, such as company shares, fixed interest bonds, cash and property, balancing the risk being taken. So if one asset is falling in value, another may be increasing.
Risk: Simply a Box of Chocolates?
Understanding the importance of risk is a central pillar of financial planning. Risk can be measured and assessed; it can be managed. Learning how to do this is an invaluable aspect of becoming a successful investor.
Risk may be uncertain but it’s no box of chocolates. If you prepare for the uncertainty – do your research and seek relevant and informed advice – you can be fairly confident of what you’re going to get. It’s not all down to chance.