Back to top

Image: Bigstock

The Extreme Risks of Trading Your Own Retirement Assets - January 03, 2020

Read MoreHide Full Article

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:

OceanFirst Financial (OCFC), PennyMac Mortgage (PMT) and Ruth's Hospitality (RUTH - 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.

Diversification vs. Stock Picking

While stock picking can potentially generate outsized returns, its excessive concentrated risk can present huge perils for retirement investors.

In fact, a study done by Hendrik Bessembinder revealed that only 4% of equities produced all of the stock market's gains over the last 90 years. All other stocks "broke even" with the increases of 38% canceled out by the losses of the bottom 58%.

For even the most talented stock pickers, the odds for long-term success are slim.

Is Successful Investing a Mind Game?

Most people think they can make rational investment decisions, but research indicates the opposite is often true. Investors followed in a DALBAR study performed significantly worse than the S&P 500: For the 30 years between 1986 to 2015, the average investor earned just 3.66%, whereas the S&P 500 produced a 10.35% return.

It is interesting to note that the period covered by this study includes the 1987 crash, the 2000 bear market, and the Great Recession of 2008, as well as the bull market of the 1990s.

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.

Interestingly, even savvy traders tend to underperform because they can't help but allow emotions to drive investment decisions. They may be overconfident and misjudge risk, latch onto a price target, or perceive a pattern that isn't there. This "behavior gap", over the long-term, can be catastrophic with potential underperformance of hundreds of thousands of dollars sabotaging your retirement.

The Bottom Line 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 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.

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.


In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above


Normally $25 each - click below to receive one report FREE:


Ruth's Hospitality Group, Inc. (RUTH) - free report >>

Published in