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Risk and Return

Risk and Return

Have you ever wondered how investors know whether or not to waste their time on a specific investment? Or have you ever considered whether the risk is worth the reward for something you're trying to invest in yourself? To understand what to invest in, you have to first learn everything there is to know about risk and return. There are different types of risk and return to learn about, as well as the relationship between the two, and a few examples. Read on to become a pro at risk and return!

Risk and Return Definition

The concept of risk and return makes reference to the possible economic loss or gain from investing in securities. A gain made by an investor is referred to as a return on their investment. Conversely, the risk signifies the chance or odds that the investor is going to lose money. In the case that an investor chooses to invest in an asset with minimal risk, the possible return then is often modest. In contrast, an investment with a high-risk component has a higher probability of generating larger profits.

A risk is the chance or odds that an investor is going to lose money.

A gain made by an investor is referred to as a return on their investment.

Risk and Return Examples

Let's run through a few examples of risk and return.

Imagine there are two possible bonds you want to invest in: Bond X and Bond Z. And let's say that Bond X has a 15% chance of non-payment and Bond X has a 45% chance of failure (loss). In the absence of any further data, you are of course more likely to select Bond A since it provides you with a higher chance of keeping your money. To thrive, Bond Z must boost its interest rates until the reward surpasses the danger of nonpayment. Bond Z can then entice you back despite its increased risk.

To compensate for the hazards, a riskier investment must provide higher profits. The gains are what attract some investors, while the danger deters others. A less risky investment, on the other hand, may provide relatively modest rates of return since the security of the investment is what brings investors in rather than the chance for higher returns.

A professor wants to begin investing so that he can have extra money saved up for retirement. He's reviewing three possible choices: Option 1, option 2, and option 3. Option 1 is 100% going to fail within the year, meaning a total loss. Option 2 is 100% going to have a $100 profit by the end of the year, and option 3 has a 50% chance of a $100 profit as well as a 50% chance of total loss.

Which option do you think the professor will choose? Let's break it down:

Option 1 guarantees that the professor will lose all of his money so this is not the best option.

Option 2 is equivalent to the professor already having the $100 in his account because there's a 100% chance of success.

Option 3 is a toss-up: It's either worth $0 or $100 since the options are a total failure or total success. Therefore, to meet in the middle, this option is more than likely worth about $50 - calculated as the probability of success (50%) multiplied by the reward of success ($100). Many investors will be put off by the danger, whereas others will not want to lose out on the possible profit. Therefore, the price of option 3 is midway between option 1 and option 2.

Types of Risk and Return

There are several types of both risk and return.

Risks

Whenever you invest or save, there are different types of risks that can be involved. But there are typically two categories that the risks are placed into: systematic risks and unsystematic risks.

Systematic

Risks that can influence a complete economic market or at minimum a significant portion of it are known as systematic risks. They are the dangers of losing assets as a result of various macroeconomic or political risks which impact the general market performance. There are many types of systematic risks; a few of those are:

  • Political risk - Political risk arises largely as a result of political insecurity in a nation or area. For example, if a country goes to war, the firms that operate there are deemed unsafe, and therefore risky.

  • Market risk - Market risk is the byproduct of investors' overall inclination to follow the market. So it is essentially the inclination of security values to shift together.

  • Exchange rate risk - This type of risk arises from the unpredictability of currency value fluctuations. As a result, it impacts enterprises that conduct foreign exchange operations, such as export and import firms, or firms that do business in a foreign country.

  • Interest rate risk - A shift in the market's rate of interest causes this type of risk. It mostly affects fixed-income assets since bond costs are connected to interest rates, but it also affects the valuation of stocks.

Risks that can influence a complete economic market or at minimum a significant portion of it are known as systematic risks.

Unsystematic

Unsystematic risk is a type of risk that impacts only one sector or one business. It is the danger of losing money on an investment because of a business or sector-specific hazard. A shift in leadership, a safety recall on a good, a legislative reform that might reduce firm sales, or a new rival in the market are all examples of unsystematic risk.

Unsystematic risk is the danger of losing money on an investment because of a business or sector-specific hazard.

Systematic vs Unsystematic

In order to help you better understand, let's review a few of the main differences between systematic and unsystematic risks:

  • Systematic risks can't be controlled but unsystematic risks can be controlled.

  • Systematic risks are caused by external factors while unsystematic risks are caused by internal factors.

  • Systematic risks can cause chaos within an entire economy while unsystematic risks can only cause issues to a specific organization or sector.

Return

There are two types of return that are most focused on: realized return and expected return.

Realized

Realized return refers to the actual return on an investment over a specific time frame. It is critical to recognize that nothing can alter a realized return. It's really a post-fact number that no action can alter. It merely provides information to investors to help them make wiser financial choices in the future.

Expected

An expected return is the estimate of profits or losses that an investor may expect from an investment. The expected return is a metric used to estimate if an investment will have a positive or negative net outcome on average. The expected return is often founded on previous data and so cannot be guaranteed in the foreseeable future; yet, it frequently establishes acceptable expectations.

Risk and Return Concept

The amount of risk that individuals accept is measured by the amount of money they can potentially lose on their initial investment. The likelihood of a loss, as well as the amount of that loss, are both examples of risk. When someone refers to a certain investment as "high-risk," they may suggest that there's a considerable possibility that money will be lost or even a small possibility that all the money someone has could be lost.

The quantity of funds you anticipate gaining back from an investment above the amount you first put in is referred to as the return. If an investment earns even a red cent more than your original investment, it has produced a return. But if expressed in negative figures, a return may also reflect a quantity of money lost. In any case, returns are often displayed as a percentage of the initial investment.

When an investment works effectively, risk and return ought to be highly correlated. The larger the risk of an investment, the higher the possible reward. An extremely safe (low-risk) investment, on the other hand, should typically provide smaller returns.

Risk and Return Relationship

Among the most significant components of the risk-return relationship is how it determines investment pricing. An asset's price represents the harmony between its risk of failure and its prospective return in a productive market. The level of volatility, or the gap between true and predicted returns, is used to calculate risk. This discrepancy is known as standard deviation. Returns with a high standard deviation (the biggest variation from the mean) are more volatile and riskier than other investments.

Risk and return are essentially opposite interrelated concepts in the sense that investors seek high returns but low risk. Larger risks equate with higher potential profits in an efficient market. Simultaneously, smaller returns are associated with safer (reduced risk) investments. These ideas outline how investors select assets in the market, as well as how investors establish asset values.

Risk and Return - Key takeaways

  • A risk is the chance or odds that an investor is going to lose money.
  • A gain made by an investor is referred to as a return on their investment
  • There are typically two categories that risks are placed into: systematic risks and unsystematic risks.
  • Risk and return are opposite interrelated concepts.
  • When an investment works effectively, risk and return ought to be highly correlated.

Frequently Asked Questions about Risk and Return

A risk is the chance or odds that an investor is going to lose money, and a return is a gain made by an investor.

Deciding which bonds to invest in by looking at the level of risk (of nonpayment or loss) and which one will create the best profits.

The amount of risk that individuals accept is measured by the amount of money they can potentially lose on their initial investment.

Risk is measured by the standard deviation of prices. Return is measured by the change in price compared to the initial investment.

Risk and return are essentially opposite interrelated concepts. Larger risks equate with higher potential profits in an efficient market. Simultaneously, poorer returns are associated with safer (reduced risk) investments. The following formula is used to calculate the amount of return expected given its particular risk:


E = Rf + β (ERM - Rf)

Where:

E = expected return

Rf = risk-free rate

β = investment beta

(ERM - R) = market risk premium


A potential investment's beta is a gauge of the amount of risk the investment will contribute to a portfolio that resembles the market. If the beta ends up being more than one, then that indicates that the stock is more risky, but if it's less than one, it predicts that it'll be a smaller risk.


The market risk premium is the projected return beyond the risk-free rate.

Final Risk and Return Quiz

Question

What's a risk?

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Answer

A risk is the chance or odds that an investor is going to lose money.

Show question

Question

What's a return?

Show answer

Answer

A gain made by an investor is referred to as a return on their investment.

Show question

Question

What are the two categories of risk?

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Answer

Systematic and unsystematic.

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Question

Risks that can influence a complete economic market or at minimum a significant portion of it are known as systematic risks.

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

List at least one type of systematic risk.

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Answer

Political, market, exchange rate, and interest rate.

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Question

Political risk arises largely as a result of political ______ in a nation or area


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Answer

insecurity

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Question

What is unsystematic risk?

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Answer

Unsystematic risk is the danger of losing money on an investment because of a business or sector-specific hazard.

Show question

Question

What are the differences between systematic and unsystematic risks?

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Answer

Systematic risks can't be controlled but unsystematic risks can be controlled. Systematic risks are caused by external factors while unsystematic risks are caused by internal factors. Systematic risks can cause chaos within an entire economy while unsystematic risks can only cause issues to a specific organization or sector.

Show question

Question

What are the two types of return?

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Answer

Expected and realized

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Question

Realized returns can be altered.

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Answer

False

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Question

The amount of risk that individuals accept is measured by the amount of money they can potentially lose on their initial investment. 


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Answer

True

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Question

A return can be expressed in negative numbers.

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Answer

True 

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Question

Why would a return be expressed in negative numbers?

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Answer

If expressed in negative figures, a return reflects a quantity of money lost.

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Question

The larger the risk of an investment, the higher the possible reward. 


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Answer

True

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Question

Among the most significant components of the risk-return relationship is how it determines investment ______.


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Answer

pricing

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