An investment strategy is a set of rules – your game plan or style of investing, if you will – that guide how you pick your investments. There are many types of investment strategies, but here are some designed to help you build a portfolio that fits your risk tolerance and financial goals.

Investing well can help you build wealth, create a powerful income stream, and fund your retirement – but to achieve those goals as planned, without adding undue risk, you need the right strategy, the best investments, and time.

Poor investment choices, on the other hand, lead to underwhelming results. And it matters.

5 Most Popular Investment Strategies

1. Growth investing

A growth investing approach is focused on picking stocks with higher growth potential compared to their industry or the market as a whole.

This strategy is well-suited for buying young or small companies but can be applied to larger companies with continued growth characteristics as well.

2. Value investing

A value investing strategy focuses on companies that investors believe are trading at a discount to the value of their assets or earnings.

Essentially, the stock price of the company is believed to be lower than it should be.

3. Income investing

An income investing strategy emphasizes investments that produce regular income rather than relying solely on increases in asset value.

Such a portfolio may consist of dividend stocks, bonds, cash equivalent accounts, and some real estate.

4. Diversification

Diversification is a basic investment principle designed to reduce the risk of any single investment or type of investment causing undue damage to a portfolio.

Diversification is achieved by owning a mix of asset classes (stocks, bonds, cash equivalents, etc.) and a variety of investments within each asset class.

Typically, investors can diversify easily by investing in mutual funds and ETFs.

5. Asset allocation

As noted above, owning multiple asset classes helps diversify a portfolio. The mix of different asset classes – known as asset allocation – can be managed in a variety of different ways.

  • Passive asset allocation sets one mix and sticks to it at all times.
  • Active allocation can vary the mix depending on market conditions.
  • Target-date allocation sets an asset mix based on the investor’s planned retirement date, and then adjusts that allocation (becoming more conservative) as that date comes closer.

Where to Invest Money

Most Popular Investment Strategies

Investors have thousands of investment options from which to choose these days, but they fall into these major categories:

CategoriesInvestment Options
StocksIndividual stock shares
Stock mutual funds
Stock ETFs
Index funds
S&P 500 index funds
Dividend stock funds
Nasdaq 100 index funds
International stocks
Small-cap stocks
BondsTreasury securities
Government bonds
Short-term corporate bonds
Long-term corporate bonds
High-yield bonds
Municipal bond funds
Cash Equivalent InvestmentsHigh-yield savings accounts
Certificates of deposit (CDs)
Money market accounts
Money market funds
Blended PortfoliosBalanced portfolios
Asset allocation portfolios
Target-date funds
Real EstateRental housing
Commercial Real Estate
AnnuitiesFixed annuities
Variable annuities

It’s a good idea to narrow the field and focus on the types of investments you’re most likely to select for your portfolio.

You’ll want to understand how each investment performs and what types of risk it involves so you can make an effective decision – especially if you’re just learning how to invest.

Here’s a brief summary of what you might expect from each of the main investment categories listed above.

What Is Your Risk Tolerance?

Most Popular Investment Strategies

Every investment involves an element of risk. You can’t avoid risk altogether, but you can manage it.

Deciding how much risk to accept is a personal decision that takes into account your time horizon and your risk profile.

With so many investment choices, a key to determining which is right for you is getting a handle on what types of risk you’re comfortable with. There are several ways to define risk.

Permanently losing money is an obvious one, but even temporary ups and downs can be damaging depending on how soon you need your money.

Then there’s inflation risk (where your returns don’t keep up with the rate of inflation) and longevity risk (where you might outlive your investments).

So, figuring out your risk tolerance starts with deciding what types of risk you are most sensitive to and how much of that risk you can take.

Since risk is most often defined by how well you can bear changes in the value of your investments, risk tolerance is often described in terms of low, moderate, and high risk.


AUTHOR: Richard Barrington – Financial Analyst

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