General Question

Kayak8's avatar

How do you assess acceptable levels of risk?

Asked by Kayak8 (16438points) May 20th, 2009

Everyday, folks assess their own sense of risk (this can include financial risk, personal risk such as skydiving, emotional risk, etc.) What variables do YOU take into account when assessing what is an acceptable level of risk for you?

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19 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Cost/benefit is always a standard method of evaluating risk.

lillycoyote's avatar

LOL I am so sorry but when I first read this question I thought it said “How do you asses accept levels of risk” (I tried to make that a whisper, but I’m not getting the hang of the whisper thing)

asmonet's avatar

Will it kill me?


Fuck it.

Let’s do this.

DarkScribe's avatar

You stop when it starts to hurt too much? Or when your insurance broker starts shaking and screaming?

SeventhSense's avatar

How do us asses acept risk? Why you…maybe I do need glasses

Darwin's avatar

If it makes my stomach hurt I don’t do it.

If it involves jumping off something more than four feet above the ground I also don’t do it.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I practice a formula in situations like these.
If I’m uncertain that a given activity is safe, I always wait for 3 people to do it before me and not die in the process. Then I’ll consider it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@SeventhSense LOL, that’s what I thought too… I was a little offended. Maybe I need glasses too.

wundayatta's avatar

You look at the probability and benefits of success; compare it to both the cost of failure and the likelihood of failure, and if it fits within your tolerances, you go for it.

I’m a pretty low-risk kind of guy. I save money a little at a time. I diversify my investments. I am in it for the long haul, and I only take long positions. I used to take larger risks, but they were all failures, so I think the less risky approach seems to work better.

Emotionally, I prefer to make sure that it’s a sure thing before I ask for anything. I’ve learned to line up my ducks in a row. Leaving things to chance is a recipe for disaster.

When I was younger, the idea of skydiving was pretty attractive. So was the idea of going into space. Now they represent levels of risk I’m not interested in. Well, maybe not skydiving. Once the kids are out of college. Kind of like life insurance. I’m a great believer in insurance as a means to minimize risk. I’ve got it all: health, disability (short and long term), life, auto, home, and probably more.

I used to rely on my evasion skills to stay out of trouble, and I still do. As I get older, however, I use my brain to stay out of trouble. I also try to make friends with influential people. That’s always helpful. In short, I do what most people do if they want wealth and power. I let others take the risk for me, and I take the profit.

Jayne's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic; cost/benefit doesn’t really apply here, unless you are talking about the cost/benefit of performing the act an arbitrarily large number of times.

dannyc's avatar

it is all about your comfort zone. Just remember that scams are out there in record numbers. Ask a trusted person (Mom or Dad a good place to start, they love you and will help you unselfishly) before taking a risk which may jeopardize your family or your future. Ask a lot of questions and persist till you are satisfied with the answers. Do not let someone brush off your concerns…in essence do your homework well. If it seems worth the risk after the careful analysis, then have no regrets and go for it!

Kayak8's avatar


OK, for clarification, I am almost 50 so Mom and Dad are NOT a good place to start! LOL I am thinking about risk vis a vis kayaking with alligators, jumping from an airplane, swimming with sharks, getting into a relationship, taking up jogging, etc.

syz's avatar

Pshaw. Do it all. You only have one life to live, so live it to the fullest.

(This from the person who has kayaked among alligators, who took up martial arts in her 30’s, took up rock climbing in her 40’s, and would love to jump out of plane but doesn’t have the finances at this point. Sadly, I haven’t been fortunate enough to see sharks when I’ve been scuba-ing.)

Kayak8's avatar

Just finished kayaking with alligators and am re-evaluating how I get myself into these situations . . . LOL

The fact is that I don’t think about things ahead of time. Maybe it would be different if I had kids who depended on me or something . . .

YARNLADY's avatar

For the most part, my health reins me in. I get nauseated and dizzy if I try to do too much, so I prefer to just sit and watch other people do it. The height of physical risk for me these past few years is when I took a chance on a wild ride at Universal City and survived. When I took the kids to Marine World a while back, I rode on the water raft, and that was quite an adventure for me.

augustlan's avatar

As far as scary, dangerous activities… I just don’t. I’m a bit of a fraidy cat that way. But personal risks, like in a relationship? I’m there. I’m always fully open, with no walls or guards up, so I’m also always open to the possibility of being hurt. So far, it’s served me well.

Darwin's avatar

@syz – I have seen sharks while diving. They look just like they do on TV, only closer and bigger.

oratio's avatar

I read somewhere that risk taking is a vital part of our human character. For food, security, chances of something better. And that even though we have settled in a safe and comfortable environment like today’s society, we are still inclined to take risks, and that activities like climbing mountains, sky diving and betting can be an effect of that.

Of course humanity’s urge for curiosity and knowledge and to prove themselves is a part of it, but I think it has some merit and is an interesting thought. It implies that people don’t want to be too safe at all times, but need to take risks now and then.

mattbrowne's avatar

Watch the movie ‘Along Came Polly’ and become a risk analyst.

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