Taking a Risk on Risk

As this blog is coming together, Investor Education Fund is in the midst of a major campaign to educate Canadians about investing and risk-taking, and it’s already getting positive attention. We’re encouraged by the “echo” to our efforts because The Canadian Money State of Mind Risk Survey 2014 represents a new approach to promoting financial literacy. With this effort, we’ve moved from explaining core concepts to helping investors better understand themselves. It’s about generating self-awareness and using it to inspire better investment decision-making. In order to make this as meaningful as possible,The Canadian Money State of Mind Risk Survey included in-depth national research, developing an interactive infographic, media outreach, innovative advertising and more.

What we’ve uncovered about investor attitudes and behaviours creates a fresh, revealing and useful picture of our complicated “money-selves.” We found clear patterns and differences between men and women, young and old, optimists and pessimists. We learned what investors do following a major loss and how emotions affect investment decisions. We now know who may “step past” their risk profile and why.

All of this knowledge feeds into supporting investor literacy. It helps us continue to target useful information to those who need it most. It gives us insights into who may face future challenges and maybe how to prevent them. For example, there’s a great divide between risk-taking attitudes and behaviours. Even if past experience and beliefs about the future are the real drivers for most investors, some take risks to gain social approval – to be known as a “risk-taker.”

What causes us genuine concern is that two-thirds of investors don’t think a lack of investment knowledge can hurt their investments. Perhaps they’re relying on their advisers. But how much better off would they be if they brought knowledge to the relationship? For their part, advisers should encourage them to get more knowledge so they can become better investors and have better discourse before a decision is made.

Though this campaign is well underway, it also marks a beginning. It changes the way that make research relevant to our audience and it uses self-analysis as an important way to help Canadians learn.

That’s my take. What’s yours?

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One Response to Taking a Risk on Risk

  1. Will Prinzen says:

    Agree! Risk is relative to the investors knowledge. Those with little knowledge judge most things in the Financial world as risky. Increasing knowledge is one way to solve many of our issues in Canada today. As a former Financial Advisor and now Consultant-Educator to the Financial Industry, I find it interesting that many people when investing their RSP assets want very little risk, yet if you look at their lifestyle which is reflected by high Household-Consumer debt levels – this would indicate the opposite. Balance is so important on both sides of the equation – the more risk one takes with Household-Consumer Debt, the more risk one may need to integrate to offset the potential negatives. Yet, that is not always the case – and Education of the Consumer-Retail Investor is the only way to solve it. The right hand doesn’t understand what the left hand is doing – Asset management and Debt management are the same conversation.