Peeking at investments...how often?

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Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby InvestorNewb » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:37 pm

Hello,

On days where the market is flat or down, I find it annoying to see the balance in my investment account. I want to get into the habit of checking once a month, or even once every two months - but find this difficult to do. I also check Google Finance every few hours or so, just to see where things are at for the day. This is a big waste of time, but it's part of human nature.

How often do you check your investments?
What tips can you provide to avoid peeking?
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby NYBoglehead » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:42 pm

Before I tell you, I just want to start by saying that I DO NOT move anything around when I check, I am a buy and hold forever kind of guy.

That said, I am guilty as sin: I check every day. I don't do it because I am obsessed with the balance or anything, but in the age of computers I am worried about some sort of hacking taking place and me not finding out that my account has been drained until weeks or months later.

Paranoid? Perhaps...but it takes me 10 seconds to log in, make sure no transactions took place, and log out.

So, I can't help you out in convincing you not to look at it. But like I said, I don't check to scrutinize the daily fluctuations, I just like to make sure that my account is intact.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby The Wizard » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:42 pm

Peeking is fine; doing is sometimes where the problem lies.
I check mine a few times per week, often trying to guess how the day's 1% change in the S&P 500 (for example) impacted my total...
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Toons » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:47 pm

I tend to pay more attention to the compounding effect of owning mutual funds for years than day to day pricing, why look daily :happy
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby BBL » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:50 pm

I never look just for the sake of looking. I keep an eye on what the various asset classes I have are doing [I don’t need to log in to do this] which will tell me if I’m getting close to a rebalancing band or a TLH opportunity, and also where to direct new funds. I only give a good look once a year in December – which is the last time I looked. Yawn. I’ll look once a year if there is no other reason to do so.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby mhc » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:51 pm

I keep MyYahoo up. I have a portfolio of ETF's on there. I look at that a couple of times a day. If I see several good days in a row, then I will look at my portfolio.

I try to look at everything at least once a week just to make sure nothing has gone wrong.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby bottomfisher » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:53 pm

When I first started investing I checked my balances almost daily for many months. Then as the market went through a downturn, I checked it only monthly. I was content knowing I was buying equities cheap despite the overall poor market performance. Then in the next bull market, I started checking it daily again for awhile. Now I tend to check my balances every 2 to 4 weeks.

When you first start investing I think its a natural inclination to check frequently and see how your prtfolio is performing amidst all the surrounding 'noise.' But its important to stick to your plan despite all the noise and early portfolio performance...So its ok to peek but don't do anything impulsive
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby jimkinny » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:54 pm

I check every day because I want to monitor any pending activity for security reasons.

I likely would check every day even if security was not a potential issue.

There is nothing wrong with checking as frequently as you want to as long as it does not affect you enough to act emotionally.

I quit reading this website about two years ago, during the early stages of the European Union's problems because there was a lot of huffing and puffing about re-balancing, how bad will it get, what should we do..................

I also quit checking my balances every day during this time period.

I actually have a pretty good idea what my portfolio will be worth based up the S&P index results for the day.

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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby rkhusky » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:56 pm

I check the market daily (sometimes multiple times), but only compute my AA every couple of weeks when I get a paycheck.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby RobInCT » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:57 pm

I use mint.com, log in every morning before I go to work. I find it easier not to obsess about market stuff when I'm looking at the entire financial picture. In fact, I rarely scroll all the way down to the market section. Issues like making sure that my credit card was correctly auto-payed, checking to make sure I recognize all the transactions in my bank/credit card, keeping track of my upcoming bills to make sure I've transferred the right amount to/from savings for the month, those are the kinds of things it makes more sense to keep track of on a day-to-day basis and necessarily consume more of my time when I'm logged in than worrying about whether my account went up or down 1%. Also keeps everything in perspective.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby slowlrnr » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:59 pm

At least twice a day for all open accounts. Don't do any changes. Try to understand why change in investment value was high / low through boglehead posts.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby mcse37 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:07 pm

The other day I found a discrepancy in the withholding in my 401K. Spotting this saved me 530 bucks. Checking your balances frequently is a good idea.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby letsgobobby » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:07 pm

I've really improved, and only check total portfolio about once per month, unless there is a big market dislocation which might change my AA.

I do check the stock market once or twice during the day.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Magruder » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:10 pm

Every day with two mouse clicks in Quicken 2011.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Khanmots » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:15 pm

My (unwritten :? ) IPS says that I should check at least every 14 days.

In reality I'll check less often when there's little market news (sometimes not for 2-3 months!) and more often when there's more. When I check it's really just me updating my spreadsheet with the new numbers and seeing if any of the cells change color to red to tell me I need to rebalance.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby MoonOrb » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:35 pm

If the market is doing well, I check all the time. If it is not going well, I don't check at all. I mean, maybe just quarterly when I get statements. That's because it's pleasurable to check and think "oh hey, my investments are growing!" and awful to check and think the opposite.

But, the only time I actually shift any money around is when I'm increasing my contributions or rebalancing, so I don't mind that I am an incessant checker when things seem to be good and an ostrich when they're not.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby scone » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:41 pm

Every morning. I built this portfolio by myself (with a lot of help from the folks here and some great books!), and I like to see the gears and levers turning, so to speak. It's one thing to construct something in accordance with best practice and theory, it's another thing to see it really working in practice. So far so good. :D
"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." -- Preacher Roe
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Xanadu » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:06 pm

Every 2 weeks, right before pay day. I do this to see which asset class is most underfunded compared to my target AA, then funnel the new contribution accordingly.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby tadamsmar » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:16 pm

jimkinny wrote:I check every day because I want to monitor any pending activity for security reasons.


You can monitor for unauthorized activity by watching the email from Vanguard.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby tadamsmar » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:23 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
jimkinny wrote:I check every day because I want to monitor any pending activity for security reasons.


You can monitor for unauthorized activity by watching the email from Vanguard.


Also, checking message queue in your account is not that reliable since an intruder can cover his tracks by deleting your messages. You would have to check transactions and your profile to detect changes reliably. The emails are probably a better tool for that.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby goodoboy » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:33 pm

InvestorNewb wrote:How often do you check your investments?
What tips can you provide to avoid peeking?


I only have 401K now and plan to start a ROTH IRA this month.

I never check my 401K balance or the daily return. Besides a few weeks ago when I made some contribution changes and re-balancing, I haven't checked in like 8 months. During the 2008-2009 I didn't even look. But I do see the qtr statements, i simple check the return of each one and that's it.

However, when I was swing trading stock, Grrrrr, I was checking like every 2 hours when I bought a stock looking for good entry. But I rarely do this still, as its too much work.

But for retirement accounts, no need to check everyday , I have 28 years left for retirement, I am trying to see how to increase saving rate.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby livesoft » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:13 pm

I check ETF prices every 5 minutes or so when the market is open and I am working on my laptop. I just press the F4 key and the quote info is instantly available. For example:
Image

I don't need to know what our portfolio value is.

Anyways, I say look as often as you want because it will habituate you to market movements. You won't worry if you portfolio drops by $75,000 in a day because you will have seen it all before.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Default User BR » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:42 pm

To really look at mine, I have to download some Excel files and update The Big Spreadsheet. I do that about once a month.


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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby peppers » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:52 pm

I check once a week to see if I can remember the passwords. Getting old ain't for sissies.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Dale_G » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:48 pm

I check the market several times a day - not because I am likely to do anything, but because it is a hobby.

Gardening is also a hobby. I check the progress of my newly planted seedings at least 3 times more often than the market. My market holdings are worth at least 30,000 times my seedling holdings.

I like to see whether stuff is growing or in decline. Right now my tomato seedlings are doing just fine.

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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby DualIncomeNoDebt » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:05 pm

When I owned individual stocks and options, all the time. Disliked it, especially looking at option expiration dates etc.

Now with Vanguard and Fidelity funds, I check once a day, but only to ensure there's been no unauthorized activity. It's important to do this with bank accounts and credit cards, because if you fail to timely report fraudulent or unauthorized activity, the longer the delay, the more likely you may be on the hook. If it wasn't for this, I'd like to go weeks or months without looking.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby camper » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:12 pm

I update (by opening a spreadsheet) the value of our portfolio everyday. I then create a chart at the end of the year. It takes all of about 5 seconds or so. Don't tell my boss, its the first thing I do when I get to the office.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby EternalOptimist » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:21 pm

I check mine daily if they are going :thumbsup and rarely if they are going :thumbsdown . This way I am experiencing positive reinforcement with none of the aggrevation. Like they say, until you consummate the sale, the numbers are just numbers. :D
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Toons » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:02 pm

EternalOptimist wrote:I check mine daily if they are going :thumbsup and rarely if they are going :thumbsdown . This way I am experiencing positive reinforcement with none of the aggrevation. Like they say, until you consummate the sale, the numbers are just numbers. :D



+1 I like those words ,the numbers are just numbers
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby OneDay » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:07 pm

I usually check first thing in the morning just to get an overall sense. A lot of time it's linked to current events and it helps me stay in check with news.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby pennstater2005 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:11 pm

I check daily. Multiple times. For no good reason. I have a smartphone and that makes it easy to check. I'm a buy and hold investor like many others here. I don't tinker either. Well, not much. I'm a terrible person :(
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby VTXVX » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:25 pm

Delete
Last edited by VTXVX on Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Sidney » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:09 pm

I try to look in at VG about once every week or so to watch for fraudulent transactions.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Juniormint » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:38 pm

I check my portfolio everyday. I do this to make sure my contributions are actually hitting my accounts and there are no discrepancies. I don't find the urge to tinker with anything though.

I have found discrepancies in the past and this is just my daily financial check.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby BHCadet » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:14 pm

I've a Yahoo email account so quotes of my investments are display on the my.yahoo.com screen.
So, I know the market and my investments' up and down every day.
However, I only download the quotes to my Quicken once a week to check.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby RenoJay » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:19 pm

Out of boredom, I spend lots of time on Yahoo finance, Bogleheads and any other financial sites I can find. (It's like mind-grease for me.) I try my best not to make movements based on the emotions of the day or week, but if and when the emotional urge overtakes me, I keep the moves very small so that I can get the emotional satisfaction (or disappointment) of making a bet based on my gut, but without doing serious harm to my future. As far as checking my actual balances, I do that once a month on the last day of the month.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby tadamsmar » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:41 am

Tazdog wrote:I monitor throughout the day via iPhone. I have to admit I am a recovering tinker. In the past, I tended to change my AA a few times a year because I was never sure how much risk I should take. I found that as my AA approached age in bonds, I tended to tinker less and worry much less. This year my new years resolution was follow my AA all year. No changes allowed regardless of what happens in the market. I am into February already and haven't broke down, but realize the temptation will come as soon as the market tanks. This forum has been an enormous benefit to me and I have recommended it to others.


I think some Bogleheads control tinkering by doing some ad hoc rebalancing when the market tanks. Of course that could be considered tinkering. At least, this keeps you from selling low after the market tanks. In 2008 I did a rebalance around October (I think) and then I kind of froze and did not rebalance again as the market kept dropping. I am not prone to selling after a market tank, but I was thinking that for someone who was, they might be able to redirect themselves to limiting their tinkering to rebalancing or freezing (balking at an ad hoc rebalance) and avoid selling low.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby tadamsmar » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:48 am

Sidney wrote:I try to look in at VG about once every week or so to watch for fraudulent transactions.


You can monitor your email from Vanguard to accomplish that.

Note that the messages about account activity available when you log in can be deleted by an intruder so its not a a reliable way to monitor for unauthorized activity.

As far as I know, the only thing you cannot get from the emails is notification of an unauthorized login. The Vanguard overview screen shows the last login date.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby bertilak » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:17 am

Dale_G wrote:Right now my tomato seedlings are doing just fine.

Do you ever rebalance into peppers?
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Van » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:26 am

Every day..........................just cannot stop doing it.

Since I'm retired, I need ways to waste time.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Dandy » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:54 pm

You have to know yourself well. If you are the type that when you look at your portfolio or listen to pundits you are likely to take action -- out of fear, greed or self doubt -- then looking at your portfolio frequently will likely be a bad thing for you. I do worry about people who rarely look since it would be wise to make sure no one has hacked into your account, or your investment firm hasn't done something you haven't requested etc.

For many looking or listening won't prompt bad behavior like trying to market time or trade excessively. One of the key points of this forum is that most agree that you should have a written investment statement that covers what you allocation is and why you chose it. You need a cooling off period if you are tempted to change your well thought out plan.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Go Blue 99 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:51 pm

Every couple of days, but mainly because the balance is there when I log into Mint.com to look at credit card transactions. Before the days of Mint, I checked once a month or so.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby peppers » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:47 pm

bertilak wrote:
Dale_G wrote:Right now my tomato seedlings are doing just fine.

Do you ever rebalance into peppers?


My fund is currently closed to new investors. :wink:
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby investor » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:58 pm

I check total net worth every Saturday morning. Don't often make changes.
What I am doing can't be all wrong as I have been retired 16 years and have more now than what i started with....

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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Jeff7 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:15 am

Hm...maybe once a week on average?

My ridiculously complex usernames and passwords are stored in an encrypted file with another ridiculous password. If I go to the trouble of opening that file, and I feel like taking the extra time, I'll also have a look at my 401k and IRA. Observation only, no meddling. :)
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby jimkinny » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:03 am

tadamsmar wrote:
tadamsmar wrote:
jimkinny wrote:I check every day because I want to monitor any pending activity for security reasons.


You can monitor for unauthorized activity by watching the email from Vanguard.


Also, checking message queue in your account is not that reliable since an intruder can cover his tracks by deleting your messages. You would have to check transactions and your profile to detect changes reliably. The emails are probably a better tool for that.


Email accounts can be hijacked and deleted. Several months ago a writer for an online magazine had his email and other accounts hijacked by way of a human error at Apple. Yesterday we became aware that the Bush family's emails were published and their accounts hacked.

Relying on an email notification is most likely safe, but it is not as safe as checking "Order Status" at Vanguard. Do this once a day, before or after business hours, and you will see any pending orders. This works just as well for brokerage accounts in that although a sale may have occurred if your account is hack, the settlement will not have taken place.

The email notification is sent after a sale has occurred. The order status has pending activity. Your email account may have been hacked. the risk is probably very small, but still it is there.


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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby stemikger » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:14 am

InvestorNewb wrote:Hello,

On days where the market is flat or down, I find it annoying to see the balance in my investment account. I want to get into the habit of checking once a month, or even once every two months - but find this difficult to do. I also check Google Finance every few hours or so, just to see where things are at for the day. This is a big waste of time, but it's part of human nature.

How often do you check your investments?
What tips can you provide to avoid peeking?


Unfortunately, I haven't mastered any of Mr. Bogle's best advice. I think "Not Peeking" is one of his top 5. I also have a problem with "Stay the Course" which I think is number one.

All I have to do is hear something from someone else I respect then my wheels start turning and I'm either looking to change my AA or do something stupid and change direction all together.

I think if we all take Mr. Bogle's advice about not peeking we will all be happier and more successful investores. I also like "Don't just do something, stand there"

And as much as I love this board, I think visiting it too much can be dangerous. I'm guility of this as well, but I have a hard time staying away. I think too many here actually do the opposite of Mr. Bogle would do. Although they are index investors, I find they over complicate things and tinker too much. Mr. Bogle's advice on simplicity seems lost by many here. I find Mr. Taylor Larimore is the closest thing you can find to Mr. Bogle on this site.
Stay the Course!
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby Default User BR » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:56 am

bertilak wrote:
Dale_G wrote:Right now my tomato seedlings are doing just fine.

Do you ever rebalance into peppers?

One would look forward to those distributions.


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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby willardx » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:16 pm

I check daily now, especially with the market going up and our overall balance hit a nice, round number. I don't think I tinker too much, my last move was to stop reinvesting dividends back into high ER funds and pushing them into low ER ones or money market funds.
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Re: Peeking at investments...how often?

Postby mickeyd » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:24 pm

I very rarely peek at my VG accounts and usually only because I am searching for something else at the VG website and take a peek at the account total before logging out. I am always surprised at how many Bogleheads admit to regularly peeking.

I can't ever recall being surprised at what I view on my account totals during my rare peeks, so I must be doing something correctly.
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