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:
Horizon Bancorp (HBNC), Summit Financial (SMMF) and Broadcom Inc. (AVGO).
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.
That's because the risk - reward scenario and investing approach is completely different for long-term wealth building and active stock trading.
Diversification vs. Stock Picking
Picking individual stocks has the potential for huge returns - but also carries a lot of risk, which is particularly hazardous when investing for retirement.
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 think they can make rational decisions, but research shows that the opposite is often true. A recent DALBAR study tracked investors from 1986 to 2015 and found that the average investor substantially underperformed compared to the S&P 500. Over 30 years, the S&P 500 returned 10.35%, but the average investor return was just 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 suggests that one key reason for investor underperformance is trying to time volatile markets - and that irrational behavior biases tend to compound investor 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.
The Bottom Line 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.
Does that mean you should quit trading? Not really. One plan is to take 10% of your investable resources and trade to create alpha and look for 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?
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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.
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Horizon Bancorp (IN) (HBNC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Summit Financial Group, Inc. (SMMF) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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