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:
Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY), AbbVie (ABBV) and Amgen (AMGN).
If that sounds like you, should you actively trade your own retirement assets?
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
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 think they can make rational decisions, but research shows that the opposite is often true. A recent DALBAR study tracked investors from 1986 to 2015 and found that the average investor substantially underperformed compared to the S&P 500. Over 30 years, the S&P 500 returned 10.35%, but the average investor return was just 3.66%.
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.
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 give up trading? Not necessarily. One solution is to take 10% of your investable assets and trade to generate alpha and seek 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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Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report
Amgen Inc. (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
AbbVie Inc. (ABBV): 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.