Aggressive Investment Strategies: Definition, How It Works, Types, and Examples


Aggressive investment strategies aim to maximize returns by accepting higher risks and emphasizing capital appreciation. This approach is typically suitable for young adults with a high risk tolerance and a long investment horizon. This article explores the key aspects of aggressive investment strategies, their advantages and disadvantages, and frequently asked questions to provide a thorough understanding of this dynamic approach to investing.

What is an aggressive investment strategy?

An aggressive investment strategy is a portfolio management approach that seeks to maximize returns by accepting a relatively higher level of risk. This strategy prioritizes capital appreciation as the primary investment objective, as opposed to generating income or ensuring the safety of the principal amount. As a result, an aggressive investment strategy often involves a substantial allocation to high-risk assets like stocks and may have little or no allocation to bonds or cash.

Aggressive investment strategies are generally considered suitable for individuals in their early adulthood with smaller portfolio sizes. This is because having a long investment horizon allows them to weather market fluctuations, and any losses incurred early in their career have less impact compared to later stages. It’s essential to note that investment advisors typically recommend this strategy only for young adults or for a small portion of an individual’s overall savings. Regardless of an investor’s age, a high tolerance for risk is a fundamental prerequisite for adopting an aggressive investment strategy.

Understanding aggressive investment strategy

The aggressiveness of an investment strategy is determined by the relative allocation to high-reward, high-risk asset classes within the portfolio. For instance, Portfolio A, with an asset allocation of 75% equities, 15% fixed income, and 10% commodities, can be considered quite aggressive, given that 85% of the portfolio is weighted toward equities and commodities. However, Portfolio B, with an asset allocation of 85% equities and 15% commodities, is even more aggressive.

Even within the equity component of an aggressive portfolio, the composition of stocks can significantly affect the risk profile. For example, a portfolio consisting solely of blue-chip stocks is less risky than one holding small-capitalization stocks. In this context, Portfolio B might be considered less aggressive than Portfolio A, despite having 100% of its weight in aggressive assets.

Another aspect of an aggressive investment strategy is asset allocation. A strategy that equally divides available funds among 20 different stocks is relatively aggressive, but dividing the same amount among just 5 different stocks is even more aggressive.

Aggressive investment strategies may also incorporate high turnover, where investors chase stocks that exhibit strong relative performance over a short time period. While high turnover can lead to higher returns, it can also increase transaction costs and the risk of poor performance.

Aggressive investment strategy and active management

An aggressive investment strategy requires more active management than a conservative “buy-and-hold” approach, as it tends to be more volatile and may necessitate frequent adjustments based on market conditions. Regular rebalancing is essential to maintain portfolio allocations at their target levels, as the volatility of assets can cause significant deviations from their original weights. This active management also results in higher fees, as portfolio managers may require additional staff to oversee these positions.

Recent years have witnessed a notable shift away from active investing strategies. Many investors have withdrawn their assets from hedge funds due to underperformance by these managers. Instead, some have opted for passive investment management, which often involves index funds for strategic rotation. These passive strategies often mimic market indices, such as the S&P 500, providing a cost-effective alternative to active management.


Here are the benefits and drawbacks of aggressive investment strategies:

  • Potential for higher returns: Aggressive strategies offer the opportunity to achieve greater returns compared to conservative approaches.
  • Capital growth: Prioritizing capital appreciation can lead to significant portfolio growth over time.
  • Long-term focus: Suitable for investors with a lengthy investment horizon, allowing them to ride out market fluctuations.
  • Higher risk: Aggressive strategies come with a greater level of risk, making investors more vulnerable to market downturns.
  • Potential for significant losses: Due to the emphasis on high-reward assets, aggressive portfolios can experience substantial losses during market volatility.
  • Increased fees: Active management and high turnover can lead to higher investment fees, reducing overall returns.

Frequently asked questions

What are the key characteristics of an aggressive investment strategy?

An aggressive investment strategy prioritizes capital appreciation, has a significant allocation to high-risk assets like stocks, and may involve high turnover and active management.

Are there risks associated with an aggressive investment strategy?

Yes, aggressive strategies carry higher risks due to their focus on high-reward assets. Market fluctuations and volatility can lead to substantial losses.

What are some alternatives to an aggressive investment strategy?

Conservative strategies, such as “buy-and-hold” or passive index investing, focus on safety and income generation and may involve lower levels of risk.

Can an aggressive investment strategy be suitable for individuals of any age?

Aggressive investment strategies are typically recommended for young adults with a high risk tolerance and a long investment horizon. However, they can also be applied to a small portion of an individual’s savings regardless of their age.

How does an aggressive investment strategy differ from a conservative one?

An aggressive strategy prioritizes capital growth and accepts higher risks, while a conservative strategy focuses on safety and income generation with lower risk levels.

What is the importance of active management in an aggressive investment strategy?

Active management is essential in an aggressive strategy as it requires regular adjustments to maintain portfolio allocations. It can help take advantage of market opportunities and reduce potential losses.

Key takeaways

  • Aggressive investment strategies aim to maximize returns by accepting higher levels of risk, emphasizing capital appreciation.
  • The aggressiveness of a strategy depends on asset allocation, with higher allocations to equities and commodities being more aggressive.
  • Asset selection and turnover rate are key factors in determining the aggressiveness of a strategy.
  • Active management is essential for aggressive strategies and may involve higher fees.
  • Recent trends in investing have seen a shift towards passive index investing over aggressive strategies.
View article sources
  1. Saving and Investing Strategies and Influences – Rutgers, The State University
  2. 7 Principles of Investing in a Volatile Market – University of Arkansas System
  3. Beginners’ Guide to Asset Allocation, Diversification, and Rebalancing – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  4. Aggressive Growth Funds Explained: How They Work? – SuperMoney