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What kind of investor are you?

November 2, 2022
min read

Whether you are investing for retirement or for other financial goals, it’s important to know what kind of investor you are. Here are three questions you need to answer to determine what kind of investor you are.

Whether you are investing for retirement or other financial goals, it’s important to know what kind of investor you are. It is also equally important to know your investing style, which can help you set expectations for risk and performance potential.

Your investment style means the methods, strategies and ideas that influence your investment decisions. There is no one size fits all when it comes to investing; however, every investor should be able to answer these three questions:

What is my Risk Profile?

As an investor, you need to accept that some level of risk is inherent in all investments, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Your risk profile—whether aggressive, conservative or somewhere in between—determines how much growth potential you pursue with your investment portfolio and your willingness to accept risk endure potential losses.

It’s a fundamental principle that to earn a higher return, you have to be comfortable taking on more risk. So the question is: how much fluctuation in the value of your investments are you willing to accept in exchange for the prospect of higher long-term returns?

Investment Types and Risk Levels

Stocks have historically had higher risk but higher long-term returns than bonds or cash-based investments. So if you choose to hold a high percentage of stocks in your portfolio, you should be willing to experience some volatility.

Bonds are generally less volatile than stocks but offer more modest returns. So if you don’t consider yourself an aggressive investor, you might have a higher proportion of bonds in your portfolio.

Cash and cash equivalents, such as GICs and money market mutual funds, are the safest investments but offer the lowest returns. The chances of losing money on cash-based investments are negligible, so they make sense if you’re nearing a financial goal.

But for a long-term investor, playing it safe with a higher percentage of cash in your portfolio makes less sense: your purchasing power will be eroded if returns don’t keep up with inflation.

What is my timeline?

Your time horizon is the amount of time from now until you need to access your investments. It’s an important factor when considering risk and asset allocation. The key consideration is that the potential impact of market volatility is greater in the short term than over the long term.

For example, if you plan to borrow money from your RRSP to buy a home within the next year, then you have a short-term time horizon, and the safety of the principal is paramount.

You have a long-term time horizon if you’re building your RRSP for retirement in 20 years. You can afford to be less concerned about short-term market volatility and choose a growth-oriented portfolio.

Even if you’re approaching retirement, your time horizon could still be quite long. Canadians are enjoying longer and healthier lives. Today, seniors are more likely than not to live well into their eighties. A typical retirement could last 20, 25 or even 30 years.

While the safety of the principle naturally becomes a higher priority at retirement, it still makes sense for most retirees to keep a portion of their RRSP or RRIF assets in longer-term, growth-oriented investments. A balanced portfolio that includes equities, fixed income and cash make the most sense in most cases.

How involved do I want to be in my investment decisions?

If you enjoy following the markets, researching companies, and learning how to evaluate the quality of individual securities, and you’re able to spend the time required to monitor your holdings, you may prefer to use a self-directed investment platform, such as Qtrade Direct Investing TM. Using an online investing platform can help you to build your retirement savings portfolio.

If you prefer to spend less time evaluating and tracking investments and want a simple online investing service that gives you more support, an automated investment platform such as Qtrade Guided Portfolios could be the solution for you.

No matter what kind of investor you are, Qtrade Guided Portfolios provide everything you need to grow your RRSP or other investment accounts: fully automated service; professionally designed portfolios; continuous oversight and rebalancing; and assistance from knowledgeable investment representatives when you need them.

How an Advisor can help you discover your Investment Style

An Advisor needs to understand your goals and risk tolerance when working with you. This allows an advisor to develop a strategy and give recommendations that align with the goals.

To gain insight into the investing style of a member, a Credential Asset Management Inc. and Credential Securities advisors at Cambrian have them complete a questionnaire when meeting with them.

“When completing the questionnaire, I always ask people to answer it truthfully,” says Leslie Hanson,  Financial Advisor at Cambrian Credit Union.

She also encourages people to consider the time horizon. “For example, if you need the money in a year or less, then I’ll recommend that it stays in something that’s basically guaranteed,” Hanson says. “If there is more time before the funds are needed, then you have the time to take a little more risk with the investment,” she says.

Your investing style will likely change as you go through life. “Sometimes, if you’re a very aggressive investor, you may want to scale back a bit and go more income-oriented when you need to draw out your funds,” Hanson says.

With RESPs, Hanson encourages parents to pay attention and touch base with their Advisor more frequently once their child reaches grade nine or ten, as they will be drawing on the funds soon, and they may need to start securing the funds in the portfolio.

However, Hanson says your style doesn’t necessarily have to change as you move through life. “I know seniors who are in a more growth-oriented strategy because they have the income to support their lifestyle, see it as a legacy for their family, and prefer to keep it fully invested,” Hanson says.

Whether you’re just starting to save or are a seasoned investor, Cambrian can help you with your investing goals. Click here to meet with an advisor at Cambrian.

For members looking for digital advice, Cambrian has partnered with Qtrade Guided Portfolios. This simple and convenient digital investing service provides a professionally managed, low-cost portfolio to match your personal financial goals, timeline and risk tolerance. Getting started is easy. Tell Qtrade Guided Portfolios a little about yourself, and you’ll receive a recommendation for an expertly designed portfolio that fits your needs. Then fund your account online, and Qtrade Guided Portfolios will do the rest for you.

*Mutual funds are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc. Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Credential Securities, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments.  Please read the prospectus before investing.  Unless otherwise stated, mutual funds, other securities and cash balances are not covered by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or by any other government deposit insurer that insures deposits in credit unions. Mutual funds and other securities are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc.

*Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Qtrade and Qtrade Direct Investing are trade names and/or trademarks of Aviso Wealth.

*Qtrade Guided Portfolios is a trade name of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.

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