4. You Have Some Control

To invest in the stock market, you must accept risk. But you also need to be able to sleep at night. So it's crucial to think about how much risk you're comfortable with.

Once you become an SMI member, we'll help you determine this by using a risk-tolerance questionnaire (in the "Start Here" section of our website).

Another factor that will help identify your appropriate risk level is how much time you have to achieve your investing goals. If you're investing to build a nest egg for your later years, that means deciding when you'd like to retire. The more years you have to invest, the more risk you can afford to take.

Taken together, your risk tolerance and investing time frame will suggest the level of portfolio risk that's right for you.