The Best Risk Management Strategies for 2023 (2023)

Understanding investment risk

Investment risk refers to the chance that an investment will experience a loss or deviate from its expected return and can come from a number of sources. All investments involve a certain amount of risk, regardless of the sales history that investors are typically exposed to. Understanding and managing these risks can be difficult, but it is critical to helping investors make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals.

Types of investment risks and examples

Liquidity riskThe risk that an investment cannot be sold or converted into cash quickly enough at a reasonable price. For example, investing in traded or illiquid assets, such as certain real estate or traded stocks, may expose investors to liquidity risks if they have to sell quickly during a market downturn. If liquidity is not available, investments often lose some of their value due to investors' fear of getting their money back.

Market risk (systematic risk)

Market risk is essentially general market movements that can affect the entire financial system or a specific market segment. This is beyond investors' control and affects all investments to some extent. For example, a sudden drop in the stock market due to an economic downturn can cause the value of your investment to drop.

Interest rate risk

The risk that changes in interest rates affect the value of fixed income securities. When interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall and vice versa. For example, a bond investor faces interest rate risk when holding long bonds because if interest rates rise, the value of existing bonds in the secondary market will fall.

Credit risk (default risk)

It refers to the possibility that a borrower or issuer of debt instruments does not make timely payment of principal and interest. For example, companies may face financial difficulties and default on their debt obligations, resulting in losses for the bondholders.

Inflation risk (purchasing power risk)

The risk that the purchasing power of investment returns will decline over time because inflation erodes the real value of money. For example, holding large amounts of cash can expose investors to inflation risk, as returns may not keep pace with rising consumer prices. As you will see in 2022, extreme inflationary environments are emerging and without preparation your "safe" investments can lose value.

Political and regulatory risk

Political and regulatory risks arise from changes in government policies, laws or regulations that may affect the business environment and affect investment. For example, if a country bans or imposes strict regulations on the use and trading of cryptocurrencies, it may cause a significant decline in cryptocurrency values ​​or limit access to cryptocurrency-related services.

Currency risk (Exchange rate risk)

Currency risk arises from fluctuations in exchange rates, which affect the value of investments in foreign currencies. For example, investing in foreign assets exposes investors to currency risk, as changes in exchange rates can affect the return when converting earnings to the investor's local currency.

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Diversification strategies and risk management

Diversification is a fundamental principle of risk management, the aim of which is to reduce the overall risk in an investment portfolio. By spreading investments across different assets, sectors and locations, investors can reduce individual risks and help them achieve more stable returns. Various diversification strategies are commonly used.

asset allocation

A risk management strategy that involves dividing the investment portfolio between different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, cash and alternative investments. By spreading investments between different assets, investors can find a balance between risk and potential returns. For example, in times of economic uncertainty, a diversified asset allocation with a mix of stocks and bonds can help cushion the impact of a stock market downturn.

Selection of sectors

Within each asset class, investors can further diversify by selecting multiple sectors. Different sectors perform differently depending on economic conditions. For example, technology stocks may outperform during a period of rapid technological progress, while consumer staples may offer stability during economic downturns. By diversifying across sectors, you can reduce your exposure to the risks associated with a particular industry.

the location of the asset

The placement of various investments in different types of accounts, such as tax-advantaged accounts (ie, 401(k)s and IRAs) and taxable brokerage accounts. This strategy aims to maximize after-tax returns, taking into account the tax consequences of each investment. For example, tax-efficient assets, such as index funds, may be held in taxable accounts, while tax-inefficient assets, such as high-yield bonds, may be better suited to tax-advantaged accounts.


One of the best risk management strategies is rebalancing, which involves periodically realigning the portfolio to its original target allocation. Since different assets perform differently over time, the portfolio's asset allocation may differ from its initial balance. By applying rebalancing, investors can effectively keep the level of risk within the desired parameters and seize the opportunity to lock in gains from high yielding assets while taking advantage of opportunities from underperformance.

Develop a risk management plan

Developing a quality risk management strategy requires expert guidance from a fiduciary advisor. The basic steps they can help you with will help secure your financial future. Here is a basic overview of the steps you can take:

  1. Clarify investment goals: Start by setting clear and realistic goals, whether it's retirement planning, education funding or wealth preservation.
  2. Comprehensive financial assessment: Assess your current income, expenses, debts, tax situation and investments and get a complete picture of your financial situation.
  3. Assess Risk Tolerance – Determine your comfort level with potential losses in exchange for potential gains. An advisor will help you understand how much risk is consistent with your financial goals and answer the question, "Do I need to take this risk to achieve my goals?"
  4. Embrace diversification: Spread your risk across multiple assets, sectors, investment classes and asset allocations to reduce vulnerability to market fluctuations.
  5. Regular review and rebalancing: Monitor your portfolio's performance and make the necessary adjustments to maintain the desired level of risk.
  6. Implement effective risk management – ​​Consider implementing some of the risk management strategies covered above in combination with a long-term view of your portfolio to help increase the chances of success in achieving your goals.
  7. Stay informed: Continuously learn about financial markets and investment strategies to make well-informed decisions.
  8. Periodic Plan Reassessment - Regularly review your risk management strategies and plan to adapt to life changes and evolving financial goals.
  9. Seek ongoing professional guidance: Engage in regular discussions with your advisor to address concerns, optimize your risk management plan, and capitalize on potential opportunities and avoid mistakes.

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Monitoring and rebalancing

Having a well-defined process and a disciplined approach to managing your investment portfolio is essential to achieving your financial goals. Regularly monitoring your portfolio's performance and regularly rebalancing your allocation are critical steps to maintaining your desired level of risk exposure. Over time, market fluctuations can cause an investor's asset allocation to deviate from their intended goals. By following a systematic process and exercising discipline in rebalancing, you can effectively control risk and optimize profitability while staying on track towards your financial goals.

Constant monitoring and rebalancing of your portfolio is a key aspect of successful risk management. This process ensures that your asset allocation remains aligned with your risk tolerance and long-term goals. It involves evaluating the performance of your investments and making the necessary adjustments to adapt the portfolio as market conditions change. While some individual investors try to create and manage their investment process, seeking help from professional advisors can be very beneficial. Advisors help investors avoid common mistakes and behavioral biases associated with investing. By integrating disciplined monitoring and rebalancing into your investment strategy, guided by an expert advisor, you can maintain a robust portfolio and improve your chances of financial success.

Investment risk management FAQ

What are some common investment risks that investors should be aware of?

  • Purchase of individual shares:Investing in individual stocks exposes investors to specific risks, including company-specific problems, changes in market sentiment and unforeseen events. For example, Tesla, a high-profile company, experienced significant stock price volatility due to production challenges, regulatory scrutiny and CEO communications, which affected investor returns.
  • Believe everything you hear or read:A risk arises when investors accept a compelling marketing story without extensive research. In the volatile cryptocurrency market, this behavior can be particularly dangerous. For example, if investors trade based on unverified information and trust a crypto exchange without due diligence, this could lead to significant losses in the event of regulatory changes or security breaches, as seen with FTX's potential bankruptcy.
  • Underestimates cash risk:Impact on Inflation: Holding significant cash positions for extended periods may expose investors to inflation risk. Over time, inflation erodes money's purchasing power, reducing its value relative to goods and services. Investors should be cautious about holding excess cash in low interest rate environments as this can lead to a decline in the real value of their assets.
  • React to fear and exit the market:Letting fear drive investment decisions during market downturns can result in missed opportunities and potential losses. Trying to time the market consistently is challenging, and investors who trade on fear can miss out on market gains and potential investment growth. For example, when Donald Trump was elected, many people sold cash and missed the multi-year market rally because they didn't know when to roll over.

How can I reduce investment risk?

Some of the best ways to reduce investment risk are to diversify your investments through asset allocation, sector selection, asset allocation and a disciplined rebalancing process. For those looking for the ultimate approach, seek out a fiduciary advisor who can help you coordinate all of these risk management strategies along with your financial plan and tax outlook.

Is it possible to completely eliminate investment risk?

No investment strategy can completely eliminate risk, as all investments inherently involve some degree of uncertainty. However, the main objective of investors is to seek the optimal return in relation to the level of risk they are willing to take. It is important to take into account the investor's specific tax situation when assessing the actual results of the investments. Proper tax planning plays a critical role in maximizing after-tax returns, allowing investors to make well-informed decisions that align with their risk tolerance and financial goals. By taking a comprehensive approach that takes into account both risk management and tax considerations, investors can make better investment decisions tailored to their individual circumstances and increase the likelihood of achieving their financial goals.

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