The Extreme Risks of Trading Your Own Retirement Assets - October 18, 2019

Zacks Equity Research

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:

Orix (IX), Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) and Farmers National Banc (FMNB).

If this sounds like you, then here's a question: With your background and skills, should you manage your own retirement investments?

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

Picking individual stocks has the potential for huge returns - but also carries a lot of risk, which is particularly hazardous when investing for retirement.

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 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.

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.

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 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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Orix Corp Ads (IX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Farmers National Banc Corp. (FMNB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GLPI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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