Aggressive Investment Strategy

It involves investing in high-risk financial instruments that yield a high return.

Author: Austin Anderson
Austin Anderson
Austin Anderson
Consulting | Data Analysis

Austin has been working with Ernst & Young for over four years, starting as a senior consultant before being promoted to a manager. At EY, he focuses on strategy, process and operations improvement, and business transformation consulting services focused on health provider, payer, and public health organizations. Austin specializes in the health industry but supports clients across multiple industries.

Austin has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration in Strategy, Management and Organization, both from the University of Michigan.

Reviewed By: Adin Lykken
Adin Lykken
Adin Lykken
Consulting | Private Equity

Currently, Adin is an associate at Berkshire Partners, an $16B middle-market private equity fund. Prior to joining Berkshire Partners, Adin worked for just over three years at The Boston Consulting Group as an associate and consultant and previously interned for the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Senate.

Adin graduated from Yale University, Magna Cum Claude, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics.

Last Updated:November 13, 2023

What is an Aggressive Investment Strategy?

An aggressive investment strategy involves investing in high-risk financial instruments that yield a high return. Younger investors mainly favor it because of their ability to tolerate more risk. 

The financial instruments invested through this strategy can be small-cap stocks and high-yield bonds. Likewise, growth funds specialize in this type of investment and are thought to be less risky than investing individually, as they comprise a wide range of assets.

Therefore, if one decreases in value, another is likely to increase, balancing the returns. This strategy requires meticulous research and a stomach for volatile returns. 

This strategy is the opposite of the conservative investment strategy that focuses on a steady, low-return income. Older investors are known to gravitate more toward this strategy. 

Compound interest and increasing the value of underlying assets are among the main benefits of utilizing this strategy. However, the disadvantages are the difficulty of managing the portfolio and the ability to endure volatile returns. 

The efficacy of this strategy depends on the investor and the portfolio they have crafted. However, with proper due diligence and the ability to handle dips in the market, an investor can likely receive high returns.

Key Takeaways

  • Aggressive investing accepts more risk in pursuit of a greater return.
  • Aggressive portfolio management may achieve its aims through one or more strategies, including asset selection and allocation.
  • The antithesis of this method is the conservative investment approach that emphasizes a consistent, low-return income. This method is thought to be more popular among older investors.
  • One of the key advantages of using this method is that compound interest and the value of the underlying assets can increase rapidly. However, the drawbacks are the requirement to handle variable returns and the challenge of managing the portfolio.
  • Depending on the investor and the portfolio they have built, this method may or may not be effective. However, an investor can probably get substantial returns with sufficient due diligence and the capacity to manage market downturns.
  • Small-cap stocks and high-yield bonds are two examples of financial assets that can be purchased using this method. 
  • Growth funds focus on this kind of investment and are regarded as less hazardous than investing yourself because they are comprised of a wide variety of assets.

Understanding Aggressive Investment Strategy

This type of investment strategy is an approach to investing that involves high risk and high returns. It focuses on capital appreciation as opposed to capital preservation. 

An aggressive investing strategy seeks to maximize returns by taking on significant risks. As a result, an aggressive investor prioritizes capital growth over generating a steady income or a safety net for their finances.

As a result, a portfolio constructed using this approach would weigh stocks and equities more heavily. However, a small portion of the portfolio may be made up of bonds, cash, or other fixed-income assets. 

Additionally, it could imply more aggressive purchasing and selling choices, such as occasionally buying stocks on margin or selling them short.

An example of an aggressive portfolio is the 80/20 portfolio (80% equities, 20% fixed-income securities). In contrast to a 60/40 portfolio, it is a common illustration of an aggressive strategy. 

An aggressive investor is often a young person with a small portfolio and a longer time horizon. A longer time horizon enables the portfolio to bounce back from potential market swings.

However, any more risk-averse investor is likely more prone to engaging in aggressive investment strategies, regardless of age. 

This type of investor typically sees more changes in the value of their investments because they invest more of their funds in riskier assets like stocks and stock derivatives (like options). 

Aggressive investment is probably not the best option for someone that fears market volatility or has a tendency to panic in a crisis. The following are two common methods investors use to boost their returns:

1. Taking out loans against their investments 

To buy more shares than an investor would be able to with cash alone, they could, for instance, take out margin loans. If the stock price rises, this may boost profits. However, if the stock price falls, it may increase losses even more than the initial investment.

2. Short-selling

This is another strategy that aggressive investors may employ. This entails borrowing shares of a stock you think will decline, selling them, and then hoping to buy them again later at a lower price and give them back to the lender. 

Aggressive Investment Methods

There are multiple strategies or methods involving different financial securities that risk-averse investors utilize to increase their yield. Some of those methods are as follows: 

1. Small-cap stocks

Small-cap equities have a very high potential for capital growth. If the company succeeds and has significant sales growth and profitability, the prices may compound to more than twice the initial cost.

Small-cap stocks include the danger that investors could completely forfeit their investment if the company fails. 

Because there is not enough due diligence performed on smaller companies, it is occasionally possible for a corporation to be overtly fraudulent, which can be common with small-cap stocks. Therefore, conducting in-depth research on the companies before investing is crucial.

2. Emerging market investing

Emerging markets are developing nations, mainly in Asia and some regions of Eastern Europe. The economies of these countries have recently experienced rapid expansion, indicating a significant potential for growth.

Investments in emerging economies are one of the most reliable methods to grow an investment since they can compound quickly as the economy expands.

On the other hand, developed markets typically have superior institutions and governance, whereas emerging markets usually don't.

 Political and regulatory risks are, therefore, more noticeable in rising markets. Moreover, investing in emerging markets may hamper regulatory obstacles or currency difficulties.

3. High-yield bonds

Bonds with a high yield are a well-liked source of income for investors seeking better returns and consistent cash flow. These bonds, commonly referred to as speculative grade or trash bonds, are frequently high coupon bonds with sub-investment-grade credit ratings.

Similar to small-cap stocks, high-yield bonds have similar risks. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly investigate the issuing companies to ensure there are no liquidity or solvency difficulties.

4. Options trading

Options can be used as a kind of insurance or a way to speculate on the price changes of securities. They are non-linear assets that can yield steady income during periods of minimal volatility or huge profits during significant market movements.

One typical method is selling options to gain a premium. Such a technique can offer a high return if the market is not highly volatile, but an investor may lose more than their premium if the market moves against them at any time.

5. Private investments 

High-net-worth investors are more suited for private investing. However, there are several opportunities in the private markets, such as angel investing, where a single investment in a start-up can range from $10,000 to $50,000.

If the business is successful, it may grow quickly and pay back a significant multiple of the initial investment. Opportunities requiring a significantly more significant capital investment include debt, venture capital, and private equity.

6. Aggressive growth funds 

Some mutual funds professionally managed by fund managers are known as aggressive growth funds. These funds make investments in various high-yielding assets, including equities.

Like other investments, this fund's objective is to provide significant returns. Its returns, however, can change from year to year. 

For instance, a growth fund might produce a 22 percent return one year, a 6 percent loss the following year, and an 8 percent return the next year. 

Usually, a 5- or 10-year study is used to assess these funds' performance. As a result, those who invest in these funds must have a more long-term investment strategy.

It's crucial to remember that aggressive growth funds do not carry as much risk compared to some other risky investments. 

This is due to the fact that these funds frequently invest in a wide range of assets across numerous sectors. As a result, if one asset's value declines, the others' value may compensate.

Aggressive investment strategy effectiveness

This strategy can be effective. If done well, it can bring a high yield to the investor. However, due to the positive relationship between risk and return, this strategy also has more opportunities for loss. 

An extreme illustration of the potential advantages and risks of aggressive investing came to light during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and the ensuing crash in the early 2000s. 

During that time, investors scrambled to profit from the market's craze for emerging technology companies and generate a quick return on their investment. 

Many more investors saw their investment portfolios destroyed when the market bottomed out than investors who earned millions on the fast rise.

As previously mentioned, this strategy depends on the investor in question, their risk tolerance, and the time horizon available to the investor. Likewise, proper due diligence should be performed to ensure the companies invested are not fraudulent. 

Conservative Vs. Aggressive Investing

A cautious investor puts protecting their principal (their current finances) ahead of maximizing returns to preserve their principal. Typically, this investor has a low level of risk tolerance. 

In other words, they are prepared to forego potentially large gains in exchange for more consistent returns, and, as a result, they are aware that they won't likely see dips in their returns that would make them nauseous.

Investors frequently choose a more conservative portfolio with a relatively short time horizon. The term "time horizon" alludes to how quickly you need the money, and a shorter time frame shows that an investor intends to withdraw money from their account more frequently. 

In that instance, any stock market swings could reduce their nest egg, as there would be insufficient time to prepare for them.

Even while history demonstrates that the stock market eventually bounces back and adds gains to investors' portfolios, someone with a shorter time horizon might not be able to wait for it to rise again. 

A more conservative portfolio is crucial since it assures them that they are less likely to experience severe losses and lose all their saved funds.

A conservative portfolio typically consists of safer investments like cash and bonds rather than stocks, which are thought to be riskier due to the volatility of businesses and industries. 

Stocks in a conservative portfolio are often held by sizable, reputable corporations that are steady and less prone to extreme market swings.

Aggressive Investing Advantages

The advantages of this strategy are as follows: 

1. The quick growth of underlying assets

Investors can profit from expansions in the underlying businesses of their investments or rises in their value.

A typical investor may allocate 30% of their portfolio to venture capital, 50% to high-growth equities, and 20% to junk bonds. Their net worth would skyrocket if the start-ups they invested in grew significantly and became profitable.

This indicates that, after they trade or sell their position in the underlying investment, the investor also benefits from the value growth.

2. The power of compound interest 

Most analysts emphasize that an investor's time in the market is more crucial than market timing since investors can gain from the strength of compound interest.

This means that if the interest is reinvested as a portion of the capital for the next year, investors can get interested in both the initial investment and the interest earned on it.

For instance, a $10,000 investment with a 10-year term can generate 10% yearly. Reinvesting the $1,000 profit after a year will result in the investor earning interest on $11,000 the following year, or $1,100. 

They can reinvest this, so their third-year principal is $12,100, earning them $1,210. Continuing this method, the investment would be worth $23,579.48 after 10 years.

Aggressive Investing disadvantages

The disadvantages of this strategy include:

1. High Volatility 

Higher returns come with greater risk. Investors need more trust to stick with a system if its results are more erratic. 

It's simple to stick to a strategy when all of the investments in stocks are rising. Still, it's incredibly challenging when the portfolio is being hammered by a declining market and disappointing earnings results, especially when the suffering lasts for several months.

This strategy can dishearten investors, causing them to lose faith in their investments and suffer losses. 

2. Difficult to manage 

It's challenging to manage a portfolio with solid growth. Hours of research and analysis are required.

Since the risk is high, it is even more crucial to pick the right stocks and to ensure the success of all the chosen investments in a portfolio. 

Researched and authored by Anja Corbolokovic | Linkedin 

Reviewed and edited by James Fazeli-Sinaki | LinkedIn

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