Gambling Not a Great Investment Strategy

Older investors focused on landing fat returns by taking on more risk might be putting their retirement in harm’s way, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

Taking on more risk in the hopes of earning bigger gains can not only jeopardize investments but also the lifestyle retirees had been planning for. The article cites comments from several financial advisers regarding how they address this issue with clients. For clients who want to “jump into the latest hot tech stock,” one California-based adviser uses a series of questions to highlight how much information the client has about the company. Often, he said, “the real rationale for their investment ideas is hype and greed.”

According to the article, some researchers call the years right before and after retirement “the fragile decade” because people put extra focus on returns during this time.

For those clients bent on upping risk in search of bigger returns, some advisers suggest creating a separate account for riskier investments with a limit of, say, 5% of the client’s total portfolio—so that losses won’t threaten their long-term financial plan.