While we often focus on “risk tolerance,” when the markets head up or down precipitously, managing your clients’ risk perception is actually the key. Of course, to do so, we must first understand the difference between risk tolerance and risk perception. In a nutshell, the reason why people’s risk tolerance can change drastically during times of market volatility has to do with this notion called risk perception. Research from the CFA Institute shows that risk tolerance is a fairly stable “personality trait”—which stays the same unless someone has a life-changing experience. Risk perception, on the other hand, is an emotional, temporary judgment of the severity of a risk during a certain time frame.