Factors affecting investment decisions in portfolio management

Risk Tolerance

Risk refers to the volatility of portfolio’s value. The amount of risk the investor is willing to take on is an extremely important factor. While some people do become more risk averse as they get older; a conservative investor remains risk averse over his life-cycle. An aggressive investor generally dares to take risk throughout his life. If an investor is risk averse and he takes too much risk, he usually panic when confronted with unexpected losses and abandon their investment plans mid-stream and suffers huge losses.

Return Needs

This refers to whether the investor needs to emphasize growth or income. Most younger investors who are accumulating savings will want returns that tend to emphasize growth and higher total returns, which primarily are provided by equity shares. Retirees who depend on their investment portfolio for part of their annual income will want consistent annual payouts, such as those from bonds and dividend-paying stocks. Of course, many individuals may want a blending of the two Þ some current income, but also some growth.

Investment Time HorizonThe time horizon starts when the investment portfolio is implemented and ends when the investor will need to take the money out. The length of time you will be investing is important because it can directly affect your ability to reduce risk. Longer time horizons allow you to take on greater risks Þ with a greater total return potential Þ because some of that risk can be reduced by investing across different market environments. If the time horizon is short, the investor has  greater liquidity needs Þ some attractive opportunities of earning higher return has to be sacrificed and the result is reduced in return. Time horizons tend to vary over the life-cycle. Younger investors who are only accumulating savings for retirement have long time horizons, and no real liquidity needs except for short-term emergencies. However, younger investors who are also saving for a specific event, such as the purchase of a house or a child’s education, may have greater liquidity needs. Similarly, investors who are planning to retire, and those who are in retirement and living on their investment income, have greater liquidity needs.

Tax Exposure

Investors in higher tax brackets prefer such investments where the return is tax exempt, others will have no such preference.

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