We preach diversification…but in retirement planning. Our portfolios hold stocks in thousands of companies across the globe (and hundreds of bonds, too). We do this for a reason. Individual stocks are too risky for retirement planning. Relying on one stock or a handful of stocks to get us to retirement is like narrowing in on only one type of bean and not accepting any replacement. When it comes to our morning cup, we need to have some flexibility, and when it comes to our one chance at retirement, we need flexibility there, too.
Why the coffee analogy?
Luckin Coffee fired their CEO and COO, and suspended other employees amid a financial misconduct investigation. Their stock has been halted from trading for weeks and year to date it has lost about 90% of its value! How often have we heard ‘this is the next Amazon [or Apple, or Microsoft…]’, ‘this company can’t miss’, or ‘this company is too big to fail,’ until it isn’t the next Amazon, it does miss, or it does, in fact, fail. When people at the top are cooking the books, that’s something no investor can predict or plan for. Sure, those people get fired, maybe even go to jail, but unsuspecting stockholders suffer, too.
What if Luckin Coffee makes up a good chunk of your retirement portfolio? Now your portfolio just took a sizeable hit, a hit that can severely derail your retirement aspirations. But if Luckin Coffee is one of several thousand companies in which you hold stock, then it’s a tiny loss from where you will easily rebound, or not even notice in the first place. No matter how great the outlook for a company, bad things or bad people can happen. We can’t let bad things or bad people decimate our retirement portfolio. We prepare by properly positioning and insulating our portfolio with exposure to thousands of companies across the globe. It’s having our favorite cup of coffee, but knowing our spouse’s brand will make do in a pinch.