Investment is about earning a return on your money. It's a balancing act between creating wealth and protecting what you've already built up.
When we’re talking investments, we hear a fair bit about ‘risk’ and ‘return’. But what do these terms really mean for your money?
Risk usually refers to volatility – how often and how dramatically the value of an investment moves up and down.
Return refers to the change in value of an investment. Returns can be positive (an increase in value) or negative (a decrease in value).
Generally, investment options that provide potentially higher returns also carry more risk. On the other hand, assets with lower risk normally provide lower returns. Focusing too much on low risk can lead to lower returns and a lower chance of an adequate balance at retirement.
For example, shares can dramatically rise and fall in value, so the risk is higher. Whereas cash in a bank account doesn't change much in value, so it's a low-risk investment.
It’s almost impossible to avoid risk altogether, but its impact can be minimised. The best way to minimise investment risk is through diversification. For example, investing in a mix of different types of investments, known as asset classes.
Diversification is about not having all your eggs in one basket.
Investments may experience fluctuations and volatility. Returns will go up and down over time and the value of investments will vary. Therefore the value of your super may go up and down.
When considering your super, it's important to understand that:
Our investment options have been assessed using the standard risk measure to make it easier for you to choose the most suitable option or options for you. The standard risk measure is based on industry guidance and allows you to compare investment options.
|Risk band||Risk label||Estimated number of negative annual returns over a 20-year period|
|1||Very low||Less than 0.5|
|2||Low||0.5 to less than 1|
|3||Low to medium||1 to less than 2|
|4||Medium||2 to less than 3|
|5||Medium to high||3 to less than 4|
|6||High||4 to less than 6|
|7||Very high||6 or greater|
We’ve rated each of our eleven investment options by its risk level, depending on the number of years in which you could expect a negative return over a 20-year period.
The default Tasplan OnTrack® option changes asset allocation on your 50th, 55th and 60th birthdays to reduce investment risk as you approach retirement age.
|Option||Risk amount||Estimated number of negative annual
returns over any 20-year period
|Cash||Very low||Less than 0.5|
|Conservative||Low to medium||1-2|
|Balanced||Medium to high||3-4|
|Property||Medium to high||3-4|
|Australian shares||Very high||More than 6|
||See below||See below|
The risk level for each Tasplan OnTrack stage is set out below.
|Option||Tasplan OnTrack stage||Risk amount||Estimated number of negative annual returns over any 20-year period|
|Control||Medium to high||3-4|
|Sustain||Medium to high||3-4|
We based the ratings on assumptions as at 1 July 2019. They:
Learn more about our Super investment options.
Learn more about our Pension investment options.
The level of risk you're prepared to take is a personal decision and may be quite different to that of your workmates or friends. It’s dependent on your own preferences and individual circumstances.
Considerations should include not only your tolerance for short-term fluctuations, but also your longer-term aims and goals.