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:
TriCo (TCBK - Free Report) , AT&T (T - Free Report) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO - Free Report) .
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.
Active stock trading requires a very different investing approach and risk - reward mindset than investing for retirement.
How Diversification Differs from 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%.
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 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%.
It is worth noting that this period included the 1987 crash and enormous bear markets in 2000 and 2008, and the positively trending market of the 1990s as well.
An important takeaway of this study is that investors seem to underperform because they try to time volatile markets...and irrational, emotional responses tend to these investing 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.
What It All Means for Retirement Investors
Your retirement portfolio ought to be dealt with a technique of performance over decades - not days, weeks or quarters. Most self-coordinated investors will in general miss the mark with regards to long-term outcomes.
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 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?
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.