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The Extreme Risks of Trading Your Own Retirement Assets - December 11, 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:

Armada Hoffler Properties (AHH), Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) and Banner (BANR).

If you did something similar, would it be advisable for you to trade your own retirement nest egg?

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 an altogether different investing philosophy and risk - reward understanding than building wealth for retirement.

How Diversification Differs from 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 over nine decades found that just 4% of the best-performing U.S.stocks generated all the market's gains. The rest were flat - the gains of the next 38% were wiped out by the bottom 58%, which lost money.

For even the most expert stock pickers, the chances for long-term achievement are thin.

Is it Possible to Invest "Rationally"?

Investors feel they can make sensible choices, however research demonstrates that the opposite is what often happens. A DALBAR study analyzed investors from 1986 to 2015 and found that the average investor significantly underperformed compared to the S&P 500. Over 30 years, the S&P 500 produced a return of 10.35%, while the average investor return was only 3.66%.

Importantly, this period included the 1987 crash and big bear markets in 2000 and 2008, but also the bull market of the 1990s.

This study indicates that one key explanation behind investor underperformance is attempting to time volatile markets - and that irrational emotional biases are likely to compound investor botches.

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.

The Key Takeaway 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 bulk of your wealth - those assets earmarked for retirement - should be invested using a more measured, conservative, risk management approach to generate steady, compounded returns so you can safely reach your retirement goals.

Do You Know the Top 9 Retirement Investing Mistakes?

Whether you're planning to retire early or not, don't let investing mistakes derail your plans.

If you have $500,000 or more to invest and want to learn more, click the link to download our free report, 9 Retirement Mistakes that will Ruin Your Retirement.

Get Your FREE Guide Now Armada Hoffler Properties, Inc. (AHH) : Free Stock Analysis Report Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) : Free Stock Analysis Report Banner Corporation (BANR) : Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research