Back to top

Image: Bigstock

The Extreme Risks of Trading Your Own Retirement Assets - June 16, 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:

Lockheed Martin (LMT - Free Report) , Heritage Financial (HFWA - Free Report) and OceanFirst Financial (OCFC - Free Report) .

If you did something similar, would it be advisable for you to trade your own retirement nest egg?

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.

That's because the risk - reward scenario and investing approach is completely different for long-term wealth building and active stock trading.

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 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 expert stock pickers, the chances for long-term achievement are thin.

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

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.

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.


In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above


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


Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) - free report >>

Heritage Financial Corporation (HFWA) - free report >>

OceanFirst Financial Corp. (OCFC) - free report >>

Published in