How Trading Your Own Retirement Can Fleece Your Financial Future - August 26, 2020
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:
Cambridge (CATC), Meridian Bancorp (EBSB) and OceanFirst Financial (OCFC).
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 an altogether different investing philosophy and risk - reward understanding than building wealth for retirement.
Diversification vs. 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 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 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 Key Takeaway 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 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.
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Cambridge Bancorp (CATC): Free Stock Analysis Report
Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (EBSB): Free Stock Analysis Report
OceanFirst Financial Corp. (OCFC): Free Stock Analysis Report
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.