Boston-based DALBAR has published updates of its “Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior” study annually since 1994. The study is meant to educate investors about how the returns they earn generally lag behind the returns for market indices widely reported in the media. The study analyzes the sources of poor investor performance, finding that the bad timing behavior of buying high and selling low is the main culprit, along with fund expenses, the need for cash and a lack of cash to invest. These are all valid issues. However, my concern is that the quantitative results of the study do not properly measure the underperformance of investors.

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