Donald C. Reutemann CFP®, RPA

(518) 688-2223

Investment Read Time: 3 min

The Investment Risk No One’s Ever Heard Of

Knowledgeable investors are aware that investing in the capital markets presents any number of risks, including interest rate risk, company risk, and market risk. Risk is an inseparable companion to the potential for long-term growth. Some of the investment risks we face can be mitigated through diversification.1

As an investor, you face another, lesser-known risk for which the market does not compensate you, nor can it be easily reduced through diversification. Yet, it may be the biggest challenge to the sustainability of your retirement income.

This risk is called the sequence of returns risk.

The sequence of returns risk refers to the uncertainty of the order of returns an investor will receive over an extended period of time. As Milton Friedman once observed, you should, “never try to walk across a river just because it has an average depth of four feet.”2

Sequence of Returns

Mr. Freidman’s point was that averages may hide dangerous possibilities. This is especially true with the stock market. You may be comfortable that the market will deliver its historical average return over the long-term, but you can never know when you will be receiving the varying positive and negative returns that comprise the average. The order in which you receive these returns can make a big difference.

For instance, a hypothetical market decline of 30% is not to be unexpected. However, would you rather experience this decline when you have relatively small retirement savings or at the moment you are ready to retire – when your savings may never be more valuable? Without a doubt, the former scenario is preferable, but the timing of that large potential decline is out of your control.

Timing, Timing, Timing

The sequence of returns risk is especially problematic while you are in retirement. Down years, in combination with portfolio withdrawals taken to provide retirement income, have the potential to seriously damage the ability of your savings to recover sufficiently, even as the markets fully rebound.

If you are nearing retirement or already in retirement, it’s time to give serious consideration to the “sequence of returns risk” and ask questions about how you can better manage your portfolio.

1. Diversification is an approach to help manage investment risk. It does not eliminate the risk of loss if security prices decline.
2. Quotefancy.com, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Share |
 

Related Content

Maximizing Your Daily Life Expenses

Maximizing Your Daily Life Expenses

Hour by hour, these 11 tips can help cut daily costs and save more money.

It May Be Time for a Financial Checkup

It May Be Time for a Financial Checkup

It’s never a bad time to speak with your financial professional about changes in your situation.

Financial Hacks for Millennials: It is Prime Time to Save

Financial Hacks for Millennials: It is Prime Time to Save

While research shows you are saving and earning more than your parents, (woohoo!), are you preparing for the future you want? How can you ensure you are on track to make the most out of these important decades?

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Starting a Roth IRA for a Teen

This early financial decision could prove helpful over time.

Not Just Equal Pay, Equal Job Security

While this may feel like a golden age for the LGBTQ community—with the affirmation of marriage equality and a cultural shift embracing diversity—these successes may distract...

The Business Cycle

Understanding the economy's cycles can help put current business conditions in better perspective.

View all articles

Assess Your Life Insurance Needs

This calculator estimates how much life insurance you would need to meet your family's needs if you were to die prematurely.

What Is My Life Expectancy?

Estimate how many years you may need retirement assets or how long to provide income to a surviving spouse or children.

My Retirement Savings

Estimate how long your retirement savings may last using various monthly cash flow rates.

View all calculators

Protecting Those Who Matter Most

The importance of life insurance, how it works, and how much coverage you need.

Your Cash Flow Statement

A presentation about managing money: using it, saving it, and even getting credit.

5 Smart Investing Strategies

There are some smart strategies that may help you pursue your investment objectives

View all presentations

The Junk Drawer Approach to Investing

It's easy to let investments accumulate like old receipts in a junk drawer.

Behavioral Finance

An amusing and whimsical look at behavioral finance best practices for investors.

Jane Bond: Infiltrating the Market

Agent Jane Bond is on the case, cracking the code on bonds.

View all videos