What You Should Know

Investor's Checklist

How much risk am I willing to take?

  • Very little risk. I want the safest investments possible. I cannot afford to lose the money.
  • Modest risk. I am willing to accept moderate risk of losing my investment if it means I will earn a higher return.
  • Substantial risk. I want the highest possible yield and I am willing to accept the chance that I may lose my investment.

Perspective:

Virtually all investments have some degree of risk that you might lose some or all of your investment. If you cannot afford to lose money, then capital-at-risk products like bonds are not for you.

When investing in bonds, it is important to remember that an investment’s return is linked to its credit as well as market changes. The higher the return, the higher the risk. Conversely, relatively safe investments offer relatively lower returns. Bond choices range from the highest credit quality European Government or US Treasury securities to bonds that are below investment grade and considered speculative. In assessing your tolerance for risk, ask yourself, "What will I do if my investment is not there when I need it?" You should also be aware that if you have to sell a bond before it matures, you will receive the prevailing market price, which may be more or less than its original price. The value of bonds fluctuates with the market, varying in the opposite direction of movement in interest rates. Bond funds’ values fluctuate in the same way.

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