Variance and Standard Deviation

Variance and standard deviation are two fundamental concepts in mathematics that have a vital application in the worlds of finance, economics, investing, and accounting. In investing, investors use these to devise a plan for their investments. It can help them build an attractive portfolio by developing an effective trading strategy.

What is Variance?

The variance relates to the mean, which is the average of a group of numbers. The term variance gives a measure of the average degree to which numbers within a set differ from the mean. Furthermore, the extent of the variance correlates to the size of the overall range of numbers. It means the more spread the range of numbers in a set are, the greater the variance is as well. On the other hand, the variance for a narrower range of numbers will be less.

Mathematically, the variance refers to the average of the squared differences from the mean. When users want to calculate it, they must calculate the mean of a set of numbers. After establishing the mean, they must calculate the difference between each element in the set and the calculated mean. Lastly, they need to square and average the results.

What is Standard Deviation?

Standard deviation is a statistic that gives a measure of how far a group of numbers is from the mean. The standard deviation, mathematically, is the square root of the variance. To calculate variance, users need to use squares because it gives more importance to outliers than any data that is closer to the mean. The calculation allows for the difference about the mean from canceling out those below, which may result in zero variance.

The calculation of standard deviation requires calculating the variation between each value in a set relative to the mean. If the difference between a number and the mean is high, there is a higher deviation. Similarly, if the difference is low, there is a lower deviation. Therefore, for a set that has a spread group of numbers, the standard deviation will be higher.

Therefore, to calculate standard deviation, users need to add up all the data points first and divide them by the number of data points. In other words, they need to calculate the average for the set of data points. Then, they need to calculate the variance for each data point. Lastly, they can square root the variance to get the standard deviation.

How do Variance and Standard Deviation help in investing?

Both variance and standard deviation have significant importance for investors. They are crucial when investors want to calculate the security and market volatility of a stock. By identifying or calculating these, investors can develop an effective and profitable trading strategy and diversify their portfolios.

Standard deviation also helps investors measure the risk associated with an investment. When the group of numbers in the considered set are close to the mean, it represents a less risky investment. In other words, a low standard deviation represents a lower risk investment as compared to a high standard deviation. However, high-risk investments may indicate better returns.


Variance and standard deviation are concepts used in mathematics that have a paramount significance in the world of finance and investing, among others. The term variance represents the measure of the average degree to which numbers within a set vary from the mean. On the other hand, the standard deviation shows how far a group of numbers with a set are from its mean.

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