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Special Report

Morningstar's Risk Management Boot Camp

Investors can't avoid risk. Instead, train yourself to take control of it.

Risk is a fact of life for investors. Yes, it can punish--sometimes severely. And it can surprise, when misunderstood. But risk also can reward, sometimes generously, if managed well, with patience and perspective.

The point with risk is not to avoid it--because you can't. But you don't have to blindly submit to it, either. The point with risk is to take it. Actively take it. Deliberately take it. Take it with purpose, in the right balance and for the right reasons.

During the next five days, Morningstar will train you to understand the risks of your investments. We'll help you identify risks both at the individual-security and portfolio level. And we'll provide you with ideas for how to control, balance--and in some instances, overcome--those risks going forward.

Monday, May 16 | Risk Management at the Portfolio Level
Risk at the portfolio level takes many forms. There's the risk that you won't meet your financial goals. There's the risk that you aren't taking on the risk you should because you don't have the tolerance--or, conversely, that you're taking on more than you should given your proximity to spending what you've invested. There's the risk that your psychological weaknesses are getting in the way of investing success. We'll tackle these risks and others Monday.

A Risk Drill for Your Portfolio
How to assess the big portfolio risk factors, including falling short and not diversifying properly.

Don't Get Caught by These 10 Behavioral Pitfalls
Successful investing requires a rare ability to overcome one's own psychological weaknesses--but you have to identify them first.

Is Your Risk Tolerance at War With Your Risk Capacity?
What the difference is--and how you can help mend fences.

The Risk of Playing It Too Safe
Planner Mark Balasa talks with Christine Benz about the downside to some investors' intense aversion to risk and faulty sense of their own risk tolerance.

Tuesday, May 17 | Risk Management for U.S. Equity Investors
Valuation risk, fundamental risk, economic risk--there's no shortage of risk when it comes to investing in U.S. stocks. On Tuesday, we'll review the major risks that U.S. equity investors face, offer some low-risk investment ideas for balance, and discuss various risk measures and what they mean.

A Risk Drill for Your U.S. Equity Holdings
Six questions to help you scout out valuation, concentration, and other risks.

6 U.S. Equity Funds for Risk-Averse Investors
These funds won't keep you up at night if you're squeamish about exposing the bulk of your assets to the market.

Using Risk Measures on Morningstar Fund Reports
No one metric can tell you everything, but taken together these can give you a good sense of a fund's risk profile.

How Morningstar Fund Analysts Evaluate Risk
It is important to look at fund's risk from several angles to get a full picture, says Morningstar's Laura Lutton.

Defensive ETFs: Too Good to Be True?
Defensive strategies, like those followed by low-volatility ETFs, can produce better risk-adjusted returns while smoothing out the highs and lows of the market.

Quality: Outperformance Without the Risk?
Morningstar's Ben Johnson explores some reasons why quality stocks may outperform, and how investors can incorporate them into a portfolio.

Wednesday, May 18 | Risk Management for Global Equity Investors
Wednesday's focus is uncovering risks when investing abroad. We'll unpack some of the hazards, including currency risk and geopolitical risk. And we'll pass along some of our favorite lower-risk international investments.

A Risk Drill for Foreign Stocks
Five questions to help you understand currency, geopolitical, and other risk factors for non-U.S. equity investments.

How Foreign Currency Fluctuations Can Affect Your Return
The translation effect can depress or inflate your international fund's return as currencies rise and fall.

5 Foreign-Stock Funds for Risk-Averse Investors
These international funds have solid records of downside protection and competitive long-term returns, too.

Thursday, May 19 | Risk Management for Bond Investors
Though bonds traditionally have been less volatile than stocks over time, they're by no means risk-free. On Thursday, we'll uncover the risks of investing in different bond types, and share our picks for dampening the risk of fixed-income investing. We'll also talk about what unknowns are lurking in today's bond market.

A Risk Drill for Your Bond Holdings
Five questions to help you understand interest-rate, credit, and other major risks for bond holdings.

4 Bond Funds for Risk-Averse Investors
These sturdy bond funds ply cautious strategies designed to minimize risk.

The Risks of Bond Investing Today
Morningstar's Sarah Bush discusses the risks that bond investors face, including rising interest rates, credit-quality concerns, liquidity risk, and inflation.

Friday, May 20 | Risk Management in Retirement
The week ends with a careful look at the risks retirees face. A bear market early in retirement can derail even the best-laid retirement plans. So can falling behind inflation, or living longer than you expect and finding yourself running out of money. We’ll offer retirees solutions for overcoming these threats Friday.

A Risk Drill for Your Retirement Portfolio
7 questions to assess the riskiness of your asset allocation, drawdown strategy, and more.

For Women, Risk Is Something to Embrace
Earning less, a shorter career, and living longer should steer women toward riskier assets, Morningstar's Laura Lutton says.

How to Create a Retirement Policy Statement
Use our template to document your retirement assets, strategy, and spending system.

As Retirement Nears, Don't Forget About Succession Planning
Investors must consider bringing someone onboard who understands their plan and can step in, if needed, says Morningstar's Christine Benz.