You have a substantial retirement portfolio. You're an accomplished investor. You've done truly well selecting stocks. You probably already own a couple of Zacks Top Retirement stock picks like:
Darden Restaurants (DRI), CenterPoint Energy (CNP) and Southwest Gas (SWX).
If that sounds like you, should you actively trade your own retirement assets?
It could be a good idea - that is, if you are one of the very few investors who understands your own risk tolerance and can keep your emotions in check during chaotic market swings. However, if you're like the rest of us, there are likely more prudent ways to reach your retirement investing goals.
That's because the risk - reward scenario and investing approach is completely different for long-term wealth building and active stock trading.
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 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 Investing Success All In Your Mind?
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%.
It is interesting to note that the period covered by this study includes the 1987 crash, the 2000 bear market, and the Great Recession of 2008, as well as the bull market of the 1990s.
This study suggests that one key reason for investor underperformance is trying to time volatile markets - and that irrational behavior biases tend to compound investor mistakes.
Interestingly, even savvy traders tend to underperform because they can't help but allow emotions to drive investment decisions. They may be overconfident and misjudge risk, latch onto a price target, or perceive a pattern that isn't there. This "behavior gap", over the long-term, can be catastrophic with potential underperformance of hundreds of thousands of dollars sabotaging your retirement.
The Bottom Line for Retirement Investors
Your retirement portfolio should be managed with a strategy of performance over decades - not days, weeks or quarters. Most self-directed investors tend to fall short when it comes to long-term results.
Does that mean you should give up trading? Not necessarily. One solution is to take 10% of your investable assets and trade to generate alpha and seek outsized returns.
However, the major part of your wealth - those assets reserved for retirement - ought to be invested utilizing a more careful, conservative, risk management strategy to produce steady, compounded returns so you can securely achieve your retirement objectives.
Do You Know the Top 9 Retirement Investing Mistakes?
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Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Southwest Gas Corporation (SWX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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