If you are a nervous investor, what is your process for building a portfolio? Do you do massive amounts of research before settling on the right investments? Or are you so scared of stocks, you only invest in bonds, or worse yet, not invest in the market at all?

Regardless of what path you choose to build a portfolio, I am here to show you how to start using beta to help you get your asset allocation right and build a solid, diversified portfolio.

Interested in learning more? Let’s get started with using beta to build your portfolio.

What Is Beta

Of course, before we can build a portfolio, we have to make sure you understand what beta is. Beta is the measure of risk of a certain investment. Note that the type of risk I am talking about here is systematic risk.

This is market risk that you cannot diversify away. For example, if you invest in an oil stock, you run the risk of political risk. If the government of an oil producing country falls, there will most likely be an impact to the oil stock you own.

You can limit this risk by diversifying your money into other non-oil stocks. By doing this, you limit your risk.

But systematic risk is the risk of investing in the stock market. So if you are invested, you face this risk and you cannot limit it by investing in other stocks.

Because beta is a measure of market risk, the market as a whole is assigned a beta of 1. Investments that are riskier have a beta greater than 1. Investments that are less risky, or safer than the market have a beta of less than 1.

For instance, a small cap stock will likely have a beta greater than 1. A bond will typically have a beta of less than 1.

Now that we know this, we can start building our portfolio based on beta.

How To Use Beta To Build A Portfolio

To start building your portfolio using beta, you have to understand what your risk tolerance is. Are you comfortable with the risk of the market as a whole? Are you open to more risk? Less risk?

To help you determine your level of risk, you can use a risk tolerance questionnaire to help.