You have a substantial retirement portfolio. You're an accomplished investor. You've done truly well selecting stocks. You probably already own a couple of Zacks Top Retirement stock picks like:
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Hackett Group (HCKT) and The First Bancshares (FBMS).
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 an altogether different investing philosophy and risk - reward understanding than building wealth 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.
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.
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 it Possible to Invest "Rationally"?
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.
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.
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 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 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.