One of the biggest differences that distinguishes higher-net-worth investors tends to be their tolerance for risk.

They’ve likely already taken their big plunges into risk and don’t especially want to replicate the experience.

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There are some high-flying entrepreneurs who saddle up for another risky bet – look at Elon Musk, who spread out his payday from PayPal into bold bets on SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX.

His vision is commendable – but many entrepreneurs may not have the stomach for another big play after they hit it big once. They’re simply at a different point in their trajectory than younger and lower-income investors, who often to develop a stomach for volatility to begin amassing a significant portfolio.

None of us have a crystal ball on what the future will hold. All of our best estimates about the performance of our portfolios into the future – even with the most informed analysis and sophisticated data crunching – amount to some degree of speculation. The simple matter is that the performance of financial markets will vary over time. It doesn’t mean that we can’t make informed, educated projections that are drawn from hard-earned knowledge. But there is no promise of 100% accuracy. The level of comfort you have with this uncertainty should inform how much risk you’re willing to take on with your portfolio.

I’ve met with numerous clients over my years as a wealth manager. In my experience, the majority of higher-net-worth investors – the types of folks I’ve focused on in recent years – are far more interested in ensuring a smooth ride through the markets than chasing the thrills of market fluctuations.

Most of my clients are business owners. This presents them with unique challenges and opportunities. As a high income earner, you can pay high rates of tax, over 50% in states like New York and California. That’s if you receive most of your income as an employee or as ordinary income.

However, many executives take a very modest salary relative to their overall compensation. That’s because they prefer to receive their income as stock which can be taxed at long term capital gains rates of 15% in some situations. If you have used strategies like this then you can stop reading now.

That’s because business owners should build their investment allocation around their business. Many do so by only investing in their business, but this defies the rules of diversification and can be detrimental if not corrected within 10 years of retirement.

Instead, treat your business equity as an asset in your total portfolio. When you do, you’ll find that you’re probably over allocated to that asset. Being aware of this will allow you to increase exposure to more conservative assets.

Alternatively, devoting some percentage of your portfolio to outright speculating can be a fun hobby – if you can afford it and if you are clear-eyed about the risks.

If your financial moves are keeping you awake into the wee hours, however, you are likely doing something wrong.

The benefit of working with a wealth manager to construct a comprehensive wealth plan is that you can deliberately determine your ability to live with the risk in your portfolio. Some of my clients want to take an occasional swing for the fences and they’ve prepared themselves adequately for the ramifications if they should fall short. Others just want to avoid any strike-out at all costs – they subscribe to Warren Buffett’s maxim, “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Don’t forget rule No.1.”

If you’re not sure where you fall on the spectrum, a seasoned wealth manager can help you figure it out. They’ll assess your willingness to assume risks, rate your personal comfort, and help you develop a plan you can live with – letting you return to living your life while your money works for you.

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