Back to top

Image: Bigstock

The Extreme Risks of Trading Your Own Retirement Assets - January 13, 2020

Read MoreHide Full Article

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:

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY - Free Report) , First Financial Corp. (THFF - Free Report) and Sandy Spring Bancorp (SASR - Free Report) .

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

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.

Active stock trading requires a very different investing approach and risk - reward mindset than investing for retirement.

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 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 talented stock pickers, the odds for long-term success are 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.

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.

Does that mean you should quit trading? Not really. One plan is to take 10% of your investable resources and trade to create alpha and look for 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:


Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) - free report >>

First Financial Corporation Indiana (THFF) - free report >>

Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc. (SASR) - free report >>

Published in