Expert Advice

Do Investors Trade Too Often?

Jay Vivian, former managing director of the IBM Retirement Funds, discusses the big question of whether or not investors trade too often.

Jay Vivian: It’s a really hard question to figure out how often you should buy and sell. Most of us are investing for the long term. Individuals are investing for 30, 40, 50 years. Maybe more, maybe less. Big institutions might even be investing for longer than that.

So unless you think you have access to information that tells you how something’s going to perform in the next month or the next year or whatever, my view is that people do trade too often. And you’re swayed by things that you’ve heard. You’re swayed by things that you’ve seen on television. You’re swayed by intuitions that you have which may or may not be accurate.

And yet there’s that temptation. You want to do something. And sometimes the best thing to do is not to do that at all.