Retirement Weekly: Don’t play whack-a-mole with your retirement investments

by | Dec 23, 2022 | Stock Market

Q.: In one of your columns you warned against playing “watch list whack-a-mole.” I hadn’t heard that term before. What do you mean by that? — Frank in Camden A.: Frank, watch list whack-a-mole is a far too common approach that people take to their portfolios. The whack-a mole part refers to the arcade game of the same name. The player uses a mallet. When the game starts, a mechanical furry mole pops its head up through a hole. The player then tries to whack the mole on its head before it drops back into the hole. Each time a mole gets whacked, the player earns points. What makes it challenging is the playing area has several holes through which a mole may appear, the moles pop up randomly and don’t stay up long.

Because the player must act fast to do well, I sometimes use the whack-a mole moniker to describe situations in which one must go quickly from one spot to another to succeed. Many people approach financial markets this way but don’t even realize they are doing it. History shows that needing to move quickly is a low probability when it comes to financial markets. The watch list part of the term comes from the practice where …

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