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What should I invest in? - Your Portfolio Diversification Guide

Oshin Ahlawat
24.3.2022

a person, using his phone to buy/sell on the stock market

Alternative investments are key to a strong, diversified portfolio. It is crucial to understand the value of diversification in the investment world – whether you are an aspiring portfolio manager or a curious amateur investor.

As you probably know, the age-old wise idiom states “do not put all your eggs in one basket”. In that sense, a diversified portfolio ensures that you are putting your “eggs” (capital) in separate “baskets” (investments) so that even if all your investments are highly risky, the fact that they’re not in closely related industries or asset classes decreases the portfolio’s overall risk.

What does diversification mean & why should you diversify?

You can think of a diversified portfolio as a fail-safe during times of uncertainty and volatile market crashes.

If you invest broadly across different asset classes that have a low correlation to each other, your portfolio will be significantly more protected during a stock market crash than a portfolio that is solely invested in stocks.

So diversifying is key for risk management of your financial assets. High risk is related to high reward potential, while low risk to low potential reward. Since every investor has their own personal threshold regarding risk, portfolios can look very different.

Remember that the appropriate level of diversification for you depends on your personal financial goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. Not understanding one’s personal risk tolerance is usually the reason why people hold back from investing at all.

How much risk do you want to take?

Are you a risk-averse person?

Being risk-averse is totally fine, actually the majority of people would consider themselves as being risk-averse. However, that does not mean you need to keep your money in your savings account and not invest at all. That would result in your money not even keeping up with inflation and, thus, losing its value over time. Consider wide-spread ETFs and after gaining some confidence, traditional assets such as rare watches from proven investment vehicles. Risk-averse people usually have long-term investment horizons and not even get involved with anything around day-trading and betting on speculative deals.

Are you looking for high returns and willing to take high risks instead?

As a risk-seeking investor there are many investment strategies that hold high potential returns. Usually, risk-seeking portfolios hold less ETFs or bonds in their portfolio and focus on single stock pickings, often paired with options and futures and even multiples. Moreover, crypto is an asset class that can be very volatile and make quick returns (but also losses) especially when betting on new crypto assets or coins. Other alternative assets such as rare watches or whiskey can also be very high-yielding while adding much lower volatility, thus, they can be perfect to round up one's financial portfolio.

6 asset classes to diversify your portfolio with

So how to diversify your portfolio independent from your risk profile? As new technologies are opening up, new investment opportunities for beginners and small-scale investors are also opening up.

  • First, start with ETFs, such as the classical broad-invested ETF is MSCI World, an index replicating the world economy.

  • Second, add single stocks of companies and industries you believe in. It’s also worth checking if the companies are having a dividend-payout policy, in case you’re interested in building a dividend portfolio with passive income.

  • Next, Bonds are quite outdated nowadays by young investors but still a valid asset class worth considering depending on your risk-profile.

  • Commodities and metals are also very traditional asset classes, often chosen by low-risk investors.

  • Alternative assets such as rare watches, fine wine, whiskey, real estate etc. are very promising asset classes due to the fact that they have a very low correlation to mainstream asset classes. Potential returns differ among the asset classes and on the investment vehicle but can be very strong and outperforming stocks.

  • Finally, crypto is a newer asset class which can be very high-yielding but comes with significant risk. To diversify your risk it’s also possible to invest in crypto-indices.

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