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The Extreme Risks of Trading Your Own Retirement Assets - October 09, 2019

Zacks Equity Research

Maybe you're a seasoned investor and have a good track record with stock-picking. And you may have a robust retirement portfolio - perhaps including some Zacks Top Retirement stock selections such as:

Medifast (MED), Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (OMAB) and AT&T (T).

If that sounds like you, should you actively trade your own retirement assets?

Perhaps ...if you're the "one in a million" investor who can expertly manage risk and maintain unflinching emotional control in volatile markets. But for most, there may be better strategies to achieve long-term retirement investing goals.

Active stock trading requires a very different investing approach and risk - reward mindset than investing for retirement.

Diversification vs. Stock Picking

While stock picking can potentially generate outsized returns, its excessive concentrated risk can present huge perils for retirement investors.

A study done by Hendrik Bessembinder of equity markets spanning nine decades revealed that only 4% of the best-performing U.S.stocks produced all the market's increases. The rest were flat - the gains of the following 38% were offset by the losses of the bottom 58%.

Those numbers reinforce that, even if you are an experienced and talented stock picker, your chances of success over a long period are very slim.

Is Successful Investing a Mind Game?

Most people think they can make rational investment decisions, but research indicates the opposite is often true. Investors followed in a DALBAR study performed significantly worse than the S&P 500: For the 30 years between 1986 to 2015, the average investor earned just 3.66%, whereas the S&P 500 produced a 10.35% return.

It is worth noting that this period included the 1987 crash and enormous bear markets in 2000 and 2008, and the positively trending market of the 1990s as well.

An important takeaway of this study is that investors seem to underperform because they try to time volatile markets ...and irrational, emotional responses tend to these investing mistakes.

Curiously, even experienced traders tend to underperform since they can't resist the emotional urge to make impulsive investment choices. They might be overly self-assured and miscalculate risk, get attached to a price target, or perceive a pattern that does not exist. This behavioral fallacy, over the long-term, can be disastrous with potential underperformance of a huge number of dollars disrupting your retirement.

What It All Means for Retirement Investors

When it comes to managing your assets for retirement, you must look at performance over the course of years and decades - not weeks or months. Because most traders generally tend to focus on the short term, they may not have the right mindset to achieve successful long-term outcomes.

We're not saying you should not trade at all - far from it. If you enjoy trading, perhaps you should put 10% of your investable assets to work in short-term investments to seek alpha and outsized returns.

But the point we're making here is that the money you have set aside for your retirement should be invested using a more conservative, long-term approach designed to produce reliable returns, so you can steadily build assets and achieve your retirement goals.

Did you know that one in six people retire a multi-millionaire?

Read our just-released report: 7 Things You Can Do Now to Retire a Multi-Millionaire.


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MEDIFAST INC (MED) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte S.A.B. de C.V. (OMAB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AT&T Inc. (T) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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