By Joseph A. Clark
NEW YORK (AdviceIQ) -- To listen to me commenting on the Olympic figure skating in Sochi, youd think I was an expert. But I know very little about it. Tragically, too many investors make decisions whose basis is as thin as my knowledge of skating.
As we watched the Winter Olympics skating competition on TV, I pointed out to my wife a Salchow jump and then a death spiral. She looked at me with surprise and marveled at how much I knew about the sport.
Then she asked my take on the competitors technical score. I confessed that my opinion rested on what I like and hardly qualified me to pass judgment on the entire routine. My meager knowledge came from reading an article about skating maneuvers.
Truth be told, we go through life passing judgment based on many little pieces of information, without truly grasping the context of the entire issue. The blunders in retirement planning are legion, resting on such misperceptions.
Unlike the few minutes Olympians get to perform, your retirement plan must last as long as you do. In fact, there should be some resources left after you are gone. The skaters scores confuse me, even though I can watch the entire routine. So imagine how challenging it can be to determine if an investors retirement performance is successful.
You first need to define investing success, much like an Olympic athlete quests for a medal. For most of us, the proper definition has nothing to do with the return on an individual investment or even your portfolio over a single year. Success comes from your money lasting longer than you do while allowing you to maintain the lifestyle you enjoy.