Do You Know What Type of Investor You Are?
Understanding your investor profile will help you determine how best to invest
At a certain point in life, we develop a solid understanding of who we are: our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses, and our short- and long-term goals.
The same should apply to understanding who we are as investors – and the sooner we develop this understanding of our investor profile, the better our chances of achieving our financial goals.
Genus Portfolio Manager & Partner Sue-May Talbot takes her clients through an exploratory exercise during the first meeting to create an investor profile that enables her to develop a personalized investment strategy. “It’s basically an interview process,” she says. “We call it a discovery meeting.”
Talbot runs through a list of questions pertaining to the client’s risk tolerance, financial and lifestyle goals, time horizon and other financial assets. Then she dives into their values and the impact they want their investments to have on the world. It may sound like a simple exercise, but for investors who have never considered these questions, it’s essential. Having an open discussion allows our portfolio managers to work together with clients on a long-term plan. Here’s a look at how all of these factors come together to paint a clear picture of how best to invest.
Your Risk Profile
Experienced investors know that the more comfortable you are with risk, the more potential you have for returns. But risk also comes with the possibility of losses.
“If you’re investing in the market, then you’re taking on risk, and investors have to understand that market values will fluctuate. This is the most important aspect of your investor profile, in my opinion.”
– Sue-May Talbot, Genus Portfolio Manager & Partner
Talbot seeks to understand not only the client’s risk tolerance, but also their understanding of investing in financial markets. “We do have clients that have not invested in the markets before,” she says. “And I need to make sure their investment knowledge is enough so that they understand there is risk.”
The bottom line? More risk means more potential reward. The more you accept risk, the more you can leverage the opportunities that come with investing in the stock market.
Your Goals and Time Horizon
We all invest for different reasons. Talbot needs to know what her clients want to accomplish so she can set them on the right path. “Are you looking to fund your retirement or leave a legacy? Will the money be used to care for yourself in the future? Or to contribute to your community? Or do you need to live off the returns now?” she asks. These are all considerations she’ll take into account when creating your investment plan.
Time horizon is also important. Investors often confuse their portfolio’s time horizon with their age. But consider this: you can be 25 and have a short-term portfolio time horizon, if, for example, you want to use your portfolio to fund a property purchase. Or you can be 75 and have a long-term horizon if you need the portfolio to sustain you for the remainder of your years. “It’s very important that clients understand this distinction,” Talbot says. “The more time you have to invest, the more you have the ability to wait for markets to recover in the case of a downturn,” she adds.
The bottom line? The more precise your goals, and the longer your time horizon, the more potential you have to earn the kind of returns you’re looking for.
Your Other Financial Assets
Have you already invested in assets such as GICs or bonds? Is your capital mostly tied up in real estate? Seeing your complete financial picture is important in determining what your investment plan will look like.
“If this is all the money you have in the world, then we probably shouldn’t risk it all in the stock market,” Talbot says. “But if this is a small portion of your overall wealth, then it will allow us to be more aggressive or hold more stocks.”
The bottom line? The more diverse your assets, the more beneficial it will be to leverage some of them in stock market investing.
As an investor, what is most important to you? Are you investing solely to earn returns or are you also looking to make an impact? Or is it a combination of both?
“You can have a spectrum of values reflected in your investment portfolio.”
– Sue-May Talbot
There’s a spectrum of sustainable investing, and Talbot will help you pinpoint where your values lie. “You can have the point of view that you don’t want to do any harm. That’s called divesting, or screening out things you don’t want to own like fossil fuels, alcohol and tobacco. I call it the ‘do no harm strategy,’” she says.
Impact investing is at the other end, Talbot says. “I call it the ‘do good’ strategy. You’re actively seeking out companies that are creating positive impact.”
The bottom line? The better you understand how you can make a difference with your investments, the better we can match you with a uniquely individual portfolio that allows you to make the change you want to see in the world.
Combined, these factors enable your portfolio manager to create an investment strategy that suits your investor profile over the long term. “Our goal is to co-create and then execute a long-term plan so that we’re not bouncing back and forth and changing strategies,” Talbot concludes.
Looking to explore the right investing options for you? Talk to a Genus advisor today.