Technology

Signs That Your Trading Will Ruin Your Retirement - October 10, 2019

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:

UGI (UGI), Horizon Bancorp (HBNC) and Sierra Bancorp (BSRR).

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.

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

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 talented stock pickers, the odds for long-term success are slim.

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%.

Importantly, this period included the 1987 crash and big bear markets in 2000 and 2008, but also 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 Key Takeaway 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.

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 point we're making here is that the money you have set aside for your retirement should be invested using a more conservative, long-term approach designed to produce reliable returns, so you can steadily build assets and achieve your retirement goals.

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UGI Corporation (UGI): Free Stock Analysis Report

Horizon Bancorp (IN) (HBNC): Free Stock Analysis Report

Sierra Bancorp (BSRR): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.