How Trading Your Own Retirement Can Fleece Your Financial Future - December 03, 2019
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:
First American Financial (FAF), CNB Financial (CCNE) and Armada Hoffler Properties (AHH).
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.
Managing Retirement Investments: Stock Picking vs. Diversification
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 spanning nine decades revealed that only 4% of the best-performing U.S.stocks produced all the market's increases. The rest were flat - the gains of the following 38% were offset by the losses of the bottom 58%.
For even the most expert stock pickers, the chances for long-term achievement are thin.
Is Investing Success All In Your Mind?
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.
Importantly, this period included the 1987 crash and big bear markets in 2000 and 2008, but also 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.
What It All Means 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.
However, the major part of your wealth - those assets reserved for retirement - ought to be invested utilizing a more careful, conservative, risk management strategy to produce steady, compounded returns so you can securely achieve your retirement objectives.
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First American Financial Corporation (FAF): Free Stock Analysis Report
CNB Financial Corporation (CCNE): Free Stock Analysis Report
Armada Hoffler Properties, Inc. (AHH): 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.