By maxsattana @

Back in 1991, I had already been through multiple business cycles in my investing career. I wanted to teach investors how to avoid my biggest failure in investing up to that point. Here’s what I wrote:

Reduce Risk with Betas

Not only do I want to help you achieve an “A” in total-return performance, I want you to achieve this return with as little risk as possible. In the stock market, the words risk and volatility are synonymous. I want you to concentrate most of your efforts on stocks that are less volatile than average.

What you need to know is a stock’s beta, or the measure of its volatility. A stock with a beta of 1.0 has characteristics of volatility that equal the average stock. A stock with a beta of 0.8 is only 80% as volatile as most stocks. A stock with a beta of 1.3 is 30% more volatile than most stocks.

You want to achieve your…goal with as little volatility as possible. You will sleep better with less volatility and will be able to ride out market downturns fully invested with a large degree of comfort. You will be most comfortable with stocks that have betas of 1.0 or less.

Remember, over time the stock market advances in seven of every ten years. Over the years, my biggest failures have come from missing the boat or being under-invested during major market moves. When times were tough, I missed the boat because I was too hesitant to invest, and during recessions I was under-invested. No more. Today, I never miss the boat because I am always in the boat, and I want you to remain in the boat along with me. It is simply a matter of ensuring how you are balanced in the boat so as not to be rocked out in rough water.

Don’t forget, because the market goes up in seven of ten years and down in only three, you always want to be in and stay in the game.

Remaining invested and focusing on lower beta equities will help you stay in the game. In Young Research’s Retirement Compounders® investment program, average beta today runs at 0.76. The program comprises dividend-paying common stocks selected from the over 40,000 publicly traded companies around the world. The Retirement Compounders® program favors high-dividend payers, those with a history of dividend payments, and companies with a long record of consecutive dividend increases.

The Retirement Compounders form the basis of equity investing at my family-run investment counseling firm, Richard C. Young & Co., Ltd. If you would like to receive regular updates on the equity strategy implemented at our firm, please sign up for our monthly client letter (free even for non-clients) by clicking here.

Originally posted on Young’s World Money Forecast