These two investment characteristics aren't directly related to one another. That being said, here's how I'd think about the situation. The expense ratio you pay within a fund is a near certainty, while expected future volatility is very difficult to predict. Because of this, I feel it's really important to be sure to limit expenses unless there is a good reason to be paying a higher cost. This 'good reason' is presumably related to accessing an investment opportunity or addressing a risk, which can be related to harnessing volatility. Depending on where you stand in your investing lifecycle, controlling volatility varies in level of importance. For example, if you're nearing a phase of your life where you need to start distributing assets from your portfolio and spending them, then downward volatility can be devastating to your strategy. Any systematic withdrawal will become a larger relative portion of your portfolio when prices fall, which increases the rate of depletion of your investment assets. Here is the URL to an article I wrote earlier this year about volatility and why it's important. It's pretty succinct but it covers the issue. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/volatility-mattersheres-why-adam-harding-cfp-?trk=prof-post
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