How to Minimize Investment Risk

Many people are hesitant to invest, even when the market would be in their favor, because they see investment as a dangerous, “high risk” gamble, rather than as an opportunity to grow their wealth.Granted, there is some inherent risk in investing, but it isn’t as wild as some think it is, and more importantly it is a risk that can be managed, if handled correctly.

Diversify Your Holdings

To the lay investor, diversification is an earful, and probably sounds technically intimidating, but diversification is actually one of the simpler, and most effective, ways to minimize investment risk. Simply put, diversification is not putting all your eggs in one basket. That is to say that you shouldn’t over-invest in one stock or fund, because, while it may be exciting when it is performing well, if the value drops, it will be devastating.

Conversely, if you divide your risk across several stocks, you will get multiplied benefits when they are all performing well, and won’t be crushed if one of them plummets.

Average Your Dollar Costs

Part of what makes investing difficult is the dimension of time. Timing, as they, is everything. But as it turns out, timing isn’t necessarily everything, and there is a smart way to invest that takes much of the guesswork out, and leaves you with more predictable gains, no matter how the market is performing. This strategy is called dollar cost averaging.

Essentially, dollar cost averaging means that you are consistently adding to your investment, regardless of what is happening with your stocks. By investing a fixed amount on a regular schedule, you are able to capitalize on the fact that the market fluctuates. Instead of buying a lot when the prices are low and not buying at all when prices are high, you have a set amount that you use to buy shares every month – $100 for example and you just distribute that and buy as many shares as you can with it each month. In the end, your average cost will be much lower than it would be when you try to outsmart the market.

Consider your goals when investing, and ask yourself if dollar cost averaging and diversification are good strategies for you.

Byline:

This is a guest post from Jacelyn Thomas. Jacelyn writes about identity theft protection and she can be reached at jacelyn.thomas@gmail.com.

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