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How Trading Your Own Retirement Can Fleece Your Financial Future - January 30, 2020

Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read

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:

Broadcom Inc. (AVGO), OceanFirst Financial (OCFC) and Brookline Bancorp (BRKL).

If this sounds like you, then here's a question: With your background and skills, should you manage your own retirement investments?

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.

Managing Retirement Investments: Stock Picking vs. Diversification

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 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 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.

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?

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.


This report will help you steer clear of the most common mistakes, like trying to time the market, lack of diversification in your portfolio, and many more. Get Your FREE Guide Now
 
Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
OceanFirst Financial Corp. (OCFC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (BRKL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research