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Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Understanding investment risk is vital for the development of a successful investment plan. While every investment has potential risks, they can be managed and minimised.

One way of minimising risk is to diversify your investments. Put simply, to diversify means not putting all your eggs in one basket! By spreading your investments across a diverse range of assets, your overall risk may be less compared to investing in a single and possibly volatile investment. Diversified investments can help you to manage risk without forgoing returns.

There are various ways in which this can be achieved.

One way of diversifying could be to spread your investments amongst various asset classes such as shares, property, fixed interest and cash. The low correlation to each other – meaning the performance of one class is not affected by the performance of the other – helps reduce volatility in your portfolio because these different assets respond to different market trends at different rates. Therefore, having a portfolio diversified among different assets creates more consistency and can improve overall portfolio performance.

Another way to diversify is within the asset class, for example, if you are looking to buy some shares you could consider buying them in different companies. To eliminate even more risk, it is also important to consider the industries these companies operate in to determine if they are too closely correlated with each other. In other words if you buy shares in three different oil companies, the risk is almost the same as investing in just one of those companies, as the industry factors that affect one oil company are most likely to equally impact all companies within the oil industry. For example, if the price of oil drops, it is probable this will have a negative impact for most oil companies.

It is not advisable to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your investments and the financial markets. Diversifying your investments helps you spread your risk, so that a loss on one investment may be balanced out by a gain in another.

Understanding your tolerance to investment risk is a good first step in taking action to diversify your investments. It is recommended before making any investment decisions that you speak with a financial planner who can help determine your risk profile and see what’s right for you.

^Michael – Practice Development Manager