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:
Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI - Free Report) , Farmers National Banc (FMNB - Free Report) and Takeda Pharmaceutical (TAK - Free Report) .
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.
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 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
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.
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 point we're making here is that the money you have set aside for your retirement should be invested using a more conservative, long-term approach designed to produce reliable returns, so you can steadily build assets and achieve your retirement goals.
Did you know that one in six people retire a multi-millionaire?
Read our just-released report: 7 Things You Can Do Now to Retire a Multi-Millionaire.