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The respected solasis says that risk is not equal to volatility, at least for the unleveraged person. I concur.

So why does all the advertising and PR say "Reduce risk by diversifying among asset classes!" ? Is that just advertiser's bunk?

I think that when talking about Risk, it makes more sense to define risk as the probability of a particlular event happening. (Being able to retire comfortably, where comfortably is $50,000 a year, inflation adjusted.) This makes sense for certain groups of people (middle-aged, approaching retirement). It can be simulated using a Monte Carlo method (as does www.financialengines.com) or using other statistical techniques.

Solasis mentions a scenario where volatility is closely tied to risk-- my guess is that since T-bills' market values are extremely interest rate sensitive, a small change in interest rates is likely to cause a margin call, which is a risk that can determine the probability.

However, it doesn't make sense for me, recently graduated from college:
- I don't know my future earnings, & can't predict 'em
- I don't know my expenses,
- I don't know what % I'll be able to save,
- I don't know how much I'll withdraw for retirement.

In such a vacuum of information, I can't use the previous measure of risk. Is there a relevant one for me?
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