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:
Ruth's Hospitality (RUTH - Free Report) , Darden Restaurants (DRI - Free Report) and Merck (MRK - 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.
Diversification vs. Stock Picking
Picking individual stocks has the potential for huge returns - but also carries a lot of risk, which is particularly hazardous when investing for retirement.
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 expert stock pickers, the chances for long-term achievement are thin.
Is Successful Investing a Mind Game?
Investors feel they can make sensible choices, however research demonstrates that the opposite is what often happens. A DALBAR study analyzed investors from 1986 to 2015 and found that the average investor significantly underperformed compared to the S&P 500. Over 30 years, the S&P 500 produced a return of 10.35%, while the average investor return was only 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 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 Bottom Line 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.
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.