You have a significant retirement portfolio. You're an experienced investor. You've done pretty well at picking stocks. You probably even own a few 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?
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
While stock picking can potentially result in outsized returns, its outsized concentrated risk can pose significant hazards 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%.
For even the most expert stock pickers, the chances for long-term achievement are thin.
Is Successful Investing a Mind Game?
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 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.
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.
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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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