You, your employer and your plan's investment managers fail to follow even the most basic rules of investing. You overtrade, chase performance, do not think long term. All of you - All Of You - have done a horrible job managing your retirement plans.
It is important for investors to understand what they do and don't know. Learn to recognize that you cannot possibly know what is going to happen in the future, and any investment plan that is dependent on accurately forecasting where markets will be next year is doomed to failure.
Often, investors will discover a manager after he's had a terrific run, usually when he lands on a magazine cover somewhere. Invariably, funds swell up with new investor money just before they revert to their long-term averages.
What you pay for an investment is the single biggest determinant for how successful that investment will be. When equity prices are high, your returns will be lower. When they are cheap, your returns will be higher.
A hedge fund manager whose clients demand monthly performance reports has different needs than any individual investors with a 20-year time horizon. The needs of that long-term investor differ markedly from someone who is retiring in three years.
Asset managers have different approaches, and I don't wish to suggest there is only one way to run money. There are many ways one can attempt to reduce risk, improve performance, lower drawdowns and reduce volatility.
As investors, we want to believe we are smart, insightful and uniquely talented - even though we often fail to do the heavy lifting, put in the long hours, and make the uncomfortable but necessary decisions to achieve success.
Outcome is simply the final score: Who won the game; what numbers came up in a roll of the dice; how high did a stock go. Outcome is the result, regardless of the method used to achieve it. It is not controllable.
A number of bloggers in economics and the financial sector have risen to prominence through the sheer strength of their work. Note it was not their family connections nor ties to Ivy League schools or elite banks, but rather the strength of their research, analysis and writing.
If you are not making any mistakes, you are being excessively risk-averse. Investing involves risk, and that means you will occasionally be wrong. And although it is okay to be wrong, it is not okay to stay wrong.
I credit Google for having the foresight to identify threats to its main business of selling advertising against search results. The potential loss of market share in the mobile space led them to the Android acquisition.
Whenever you try to pick market tops and bottoms, you are making a prediction. Guessing what stock is going to outperform the market is forecasting, as is selling a stock for no apparent reason. Indeed, nearly all capital decisions made by most people are unconscious predictions.
Most of the time, economic data is fairly benign. I don't wish to imply it is meaningless, but it is not a driver of stock markets. Indeed, the correlation between economic noise and how equity markets perform has been wildly overemphasized.
Amongst the financial Twitterati, the term 'muppets' has come to describe any client used and abused by some financial predator. I've adopted the term to describe portfolios that have been assembled for purposes other than serving the clients' best interests.