Don't Peek

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john94549
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Don't Peek

Post by john94549 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:22 am

We've all read the advice, over and over. Stay the course, and don't peek. Well, might I say, it does make some sense.

It's not as scary this year as I thought.

My personal results (end-of-year to date):

VBIAX: +0.14%
VEMAX: +1.68%
VTIAX: -1.24%
VTSAX: -1.06%

Overall: -0.82%

Could have been better, but could have been worse.

Mea culpa, I just had to peek.

PS: Before you ask, my fixed-income is elsewhere. The allocation in my Vanguard account (aside from VBIAX) is basically 100% equities.

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Toons
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by Toons » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:11 am

I really haven't looked at "personal performance"
In a really long time.
I do glance at the net worth number after quicken updates.
I notice that over time it goes up,although not straight line,
Even as I spend.
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

grettman
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by grettman » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:31 am

I look at my net worth all the time (just got done updating my spreadsheet with some savings data as Friday was payday :) ).

But I haven't really looked at personal performance. I mostly invest in passive index funds (like VTI, the C, S, and I fund for TSP and etc)...so I assume I am getting the performance of the market. What else can I ask for? I suppose my CD holds are "dragging" me down but that is the "sleep well at night" fund.

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nisiprius
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by nisiprius » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:39 am

Since I do read the Bogleheads forum, I did see livesoft's thread subject asserting that everyone's stocks are at their highest point so far for this year. And I did glance at the thread.

Honest truth: a) I swear to you that I don't know what the Dow is, and b) I have not checked my own account to verify that my own stocks really are at their highest point so far this year.

Now of course I'm dying to peek and can't. So I scratched my itch to peek at something, by checking to see whether my e-filed IRS refund has actually been credited to my savings account. It has been, and my savings account has is now at its highest point so far for this year.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by BetaTracker » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:03 am

I read market commentary all of the time about how small caps are doing this, emerging markets are going that. But I feel strangely detached from it all. I guess our three-fund portfolio is just too boring, too broad-based to make stock jockeying an enthralling spectator sport. I'd hate to think what it'd be like to feel like you really had skin in the game.
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by Fallible » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:44 am

john94549 wrote:We've all read the advice, over and over. Stay the course, and don't peek. Well, might I say, it does make some sense. ...
Of course they make sense, but they're often misunderstood. "Stay the course" first means setting the right course ("Buy right and hold tight." ~John Bogle). "Don't peek," to me, is not about never, ever peeking, but about peeking too often to avoid the temptation of making unnecessary changes.
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kelage
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by kelage » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:51 am

The don't peek message never felt quite right to me and actually, its never been easier to do. I used to peek daily just like I check by email daily. I would recommend it to young investors. I think it’s excellent instruction. Of course now that I'm older, I don't peek so much.

tecmage
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by tecmage » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:12 am

I have a confession to make....
I'm a peeker, I peek all the time, sometimes 2-3 times a day or more on a volatile day. I made a spreadsheet the will estimate my funds based on the ETF equivalent. Why? For a couple reasons, as a fairly new Boglehead I want to get used to watching my portfolio go up and down on a daily basis. I'm desensitizing myself to the noise and the roller coaster of the stock market. And I feel it's best to do this sooner rather than later.

At first I was nervous about how the market was going and was it up or down for the day, now I'm watching for curiosity and watching for TLH opportunities. It's strange talking to friends about investing now, they're looking for hot stocks and have mental prices they will buy and sell at, I just shrug and think about all that wasted effort they're going through.

I also want to evaluate my current asset allocation and make sure I can sleep well at night at 75/25. The largest key is I've forbidden myself from touching anything besides the occasional TLH. I'm fine with "Look but don't touch", some might be too tempted to touch so they might not want to look at all.

inbox788
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by inbox788 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:19 am

john94549 wrote:Overall: -0.82%

Could have been better, but could have been worse.

...The allocation in my Vanguard account (aside from VBIAX) is basically 100% equities.
Did you include dividends? With approximately 1.5%/year in dividends, adjusted overall is more like -0.60% YTD, and even if the market stays flat, you may end up +0.60 at the end of the year after dividends.

And you don't have to peek, since I assume you listen to the news at least on some occasion. They'll tell you how the market is doing and your performance is pretty much the SP500, so you'll know more or less. That's the beauty the index.
tecmage wrote:I have a confession to make....
I'm a peeker, I peek all the time, sometimes 2-3 times a day or more on a volatile day. I made a spreadsheet the will estimate my funds based on the ETF equivalent. Why? For a couple reasons, as a fairly new Boglehead I want to get used to watching my portfolio go up and down on a daily basis. I'm desensitizing myself to the noise and the roller coaster of the stock market. And I feel it's best to do this sooner rather than later.

At first I was nervous about how the market was going and was it up or down for the day, now I'm watching for curiosity and watching for TLH opportunities. It's strange talking to friends about investing now, they're looking for hot stocks and have mental prices they will buy and sell at, I just shrug and think about all that wasted effort they're going through.

I also want to evaluate my current asset allocation and make sure I can sleep well at night at 75/25. The largest key is I've forbidden myself from touching anything besides the occasional TLH. I'm fine with "Look but don't touch", some might be too tempted to touch so they might not want to look at all.
I have accountitis (swollen number of accounts), so even if I wanted to peek, it would be too much trouble to add everything up. I don't look at some accounts for years. I think there was a period of 2-3 years where the 401k was ignored, and I pleasantly discovered how much it had grown. For other accounts, like you, I peek constantly. I would trade more if not for the hassles of accounting and taxes. Not my retirement, but my spec fund. It's my version of Vegas, but I think with better odds.

In any case, does listening to the news and finding out what the SP500 did today or YTD constitute peeking? Because it's a fair proxy in my case as well as many others.

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SpringMan
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by SpringMan » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:40 am

Don't peek is silly advice. Wouldn't you want to know ASAP if your account was hacked or your financial institution screwed up? Aren't we all adults? Are folks here really going to do something stupid just because they monitor their accounts? IMO it is smart to peek. If you don't look how do you tax loss harvest or rebalance?
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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whaleknives
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by whaleknives » Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:41 pm

SpringMan wrote:. . . Aren't we all adults? . . .
Even adults can have behavior issues. :D
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dbr
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by dbr » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:03 pm

It's a case of a columnist or investment "guru" needing to find a catchy way to express a point. But the result, if taken too literally, ends up being misleading or even downright stupid. Sometimes one wonders if the whole thing does not just originate with some editor trying to generate a flashy headline. I think this happens a lot in articles, blogs, and interviews about investing.

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goodenyou
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by goodenyou » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:14 pm

I peek only on good days, and only after several good days, if there has has been several bad ones prior.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | "The best years you have left are the ones you have right now"

bayview
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by bayview » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:17 pm

tecmage wrote:I have a confession to make....
I'm a peeker, I peek all the time, sometimes 2-3 times a day or more on a volatile day. I made a spreadsheet the will estimate my funds based on the ETF equivalent. Why? For a couple reasons, as a fairly new Boglehead I want to get used to watching my portfolio go up and down on a daily basis. I'm desensitizing myself to the noise and the roller coaster of the stock market. And I feel it's best to do this sooner rather than later.

At first I was nervous about how the market was going and was it up or down for the day, now I'm watching for curiosity...
Same here, other than the spreadsheet part. I'm Excel'd out at work. :D The last thing I want to do is add an unnecessary spreadsheet.

Since peeking hasn't prompted me to change my AA (that decision resulted from adopting Bill Bernstein's liability-matching/ risk portfolios approach), I feel that it has been educational overall. DH is the Nervous Nellie in the family, so he never looks; in fact, he simply doesn't want to know, period, and lets me handle the investments.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

dbr
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by dbr » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:39 pm

bayview wrote:
Since peeking hasn't prompted me to change my AA (that decision resulted from adopting Bill Bernstein's liability-matching/ risk portfolios approach), I feel that it has been educational overall. DH is the Nervous Nellie in the family, so he never looks; in fact, he simply doesn't want to know, period, and lets me handle the investments.
What is going to happen if for some reason it falls on him to manage things?

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by bayview » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:46 pm

dbr wrote:
bayview wrote:
Since peeking hasn't prompted me to change my AA (that decision resulted from adopting Bill Bernstein's liability-matching/ risk portfolios approach), I feel that it has been educational overall. DH is the Nervous Nellie in the family, so he never looks; in fact, he simply doesn't want to know, period, and lets me handle the investments.
What is going to happen if for some reason it falls on him to manage things?
He will either grit his teeth and allow things to stay as they are (it's not a complex portfolio, and it's written out with an investment statement and plan) or dial it back to a more comfortable AA. The overwhelming majority of our savings are in G fund, and he has cautiously but finally accepted that it's a good deal.

Since we can live on SS and pension income, the investment portion is for occasional fun, unpleasant disasters, and possible inheritance. I'm not interesting in trying to dictate finances from the grave, or coma or whatever. I think we all have to accept this at some point.

He has the excitement of managing the rental property, which I would promptly unload if he weren't doing this. :D


edit to add: the liability-matching portion (my TSP, mostly G) will provide income until he's in his early 90's, so he likes the Bernstein approach. He can ignore the risk portion, or convert that if he simply can't stand it. We try to live pretty low on the financial food chain.

edit again after reading "Backup Plan for Wife" (I actually was thinking of cars with cameras and back-up alarms, but whatever): DH has a business degree, so he's not financially naive. He just has a very low tolerance to seeing a balance go down, even if only on paper. He would rather keep money in a MM account, losing money to inflation. But he will be perfectly capable of managing daily finances, and he sure wouldn't give savings away to scammers. I'd sort of like to watch someone try!
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:18 pm

What do you mean doing badly? Something has been going great the last month or so. I started a taxable account last Fall with $130K. It dropped to $114K at one point in January or February, I've tax loss harvested $16K or so and now it is worth $133K. I'm not sure if the correction is technically over yet, but it sure feels like it to me.
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by Lynette » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:34 pm

.....
Last edited by Lynette on Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

GoldenFinch
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by GoldenFinch » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:20 pm

A confession: I like the stock market, I like economics, I like reading Bogleheads and I like to see how the money is doing. I think it's a security thing as much as just interesting to me because it isn't static. I think it's perfectly fine to "not peek," but I also think it's fine to regularly monitor your portfolio, as long as you're not reacting emotionally. Plus I like looking for the rare, occasional, tax loss harvesting or rebalancing opportunity. :happy

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by pkcrafter » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:58 pm

“the stock market is a giant distraction to the business of investing.”
John Bogle.



Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.

john94549
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by john94549 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:42 am

When I'm really, truly, bored, I look up the value of my IRA CDs and divide by 15. It's amazing.

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steve roy
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by steve roy » Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:50 am

I look at the family portfolio two or three times a week.

The Mrs. gets kerflempt when it goes south. I find I've been able to look at the ups and downs as though they're happening to somebody else. (I don't know WHY I've been able to divorce myself from getting emotional over dollar losses this time around, but thus far I've been able to do it. Maybe it's because the portfolio is now pretty conservative.)

At any rate, so far so good.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by jfn111 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:18 am

I have all my accounts linked with Fidelity's Planner Tool. I "peek" every morning to make sure I'm on top of credit card balances, checking account auto pays, etc..
The investment numbers also update and I tend to pay more attention to the YTD return than the actual balances. I plug the individual account balances into my excel spreadsheet monthly, big peek, because I've been doing this for years and don't want to stop now. 8-)

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by jimkinny » Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:36 am

I look as often as I want.

I do not want to look very often when equities are heading down.

But I do look at the S&P 500 index almost every day so I pretty much know if I am down by 5-10% without looking at my actual portfolio.

I do not get pleasure from a 10% decrease in equities but it does not cause me any anxiety. I just shrug and wish there was some way I could have known before it happened.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by Dandy » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:10 am

At its most extreme our mentor advised new investors to invest and not open their statements until the retire. A really bad idea but well intended. Really, going for decades and not even opening the envelope - I think he was trying to make a valid point that looking too frequently at your investments can lead some to over worry and/or over react. The result - doing the historical things that small investors are wont to do i.e. buying at the top and selling at the bottom or churning endlessly.

But, unless you have confirmed that you are wont to do frequent, panic moves there is no glory in avoiding dealing with your investments and you need to verify that they haven't been hacked or errors made. Of course if you want to rebalance then it would be hard to do without actually looking at your investments and making the necessary moves. I think most mature, seasoned investors can look at their investments fairly frequently without harm. If you can't you need to have someone else look at them. Errors and/or misappropriation involving your investments warrant a responsible timely review. Most need to find their comfort approach to this issue but a full ostrich is usually not a good idea or a point of honor.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by masteraleph » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:24 am

I "peek" once a week for rebalancing purposes, though truthfully I could do so much less often (if you're not close to a 5/25 rebalancing band one week, it would take a truly astounding shift the next week to trigger the next week). But it also serves as a useful check on verifying that contributions deducted from my paycheck are going in properly.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by goodenyou » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:31 am

I can guesstimate my portfolio balance just based on the value of the indexes. I don't have to peek. If you have been active at investing long enough, and you are aware of your asset allocation, you can get really good at it.
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by peppers » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:43 am

I usually check the accounts once a week. It helps with my hand eye coordination.

Cognitive decline in the aging process and all that........... :wink:
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munemaker
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by munemaker » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:21 pm

peek
pēk/Submit
verb
1.
look quickly, typically in a furtive manner.

The problem is not in peeking, or even thoroughly reviewing past performance. The problem is that doing this drives some people to take actions they would not normally take...e.g. selling off during a downturn.

I read another thread on here where people are complaining that when they look at their Vanguard balance daily, they are ticked that the external accounts are not being updated quickly enough. Daily? Really? That goes way beyond peeking.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by gwrvmd » Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:24 pm

You should look at your portfolio whenever you feel like it. It is educational. If you hadn't looked at it for 6 months until this Feb (or Mar), you may have panicked when you saw 3 digit volatility and sold out.
You have to learn to accept volatility. Remember....."If there was no volatility the market would never go up" and "More than half of volatility is good." ...............Gordon
Disciple of John Neff

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by gwrvmd » Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:27 pm

You should look at your portfolio whenever you feel like it. It is educational. If you hadn't looked at it for 6 months until this Feb (or Mar), you may have panicked when you saw 3 digit volatility and sold out.
You have to learn to accept volatility. Remember....."If there was no volatility the market would never go up" and "More than half of volatility is good." ...............Gordon
Disciple of John Neff

MrNewEngland
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Re: Don't Peek

Post by MrNewEngland » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:30 pm

I peek every day, but never sell.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by dziuniek » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:16 am

I peek atleast quarterly to update my liquid NW.... if it starts to bother me, I'll stop :)

Or maybe I can do it in arrears, haha.

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Re: Don't Peek

Post by bilperk » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:15 am

Don't Peek seems like questionable advice if you have an online account at Vanguard. Under their online fraud policy:

"Your responsibilities
At a minimum, in order for this protection to apply, you must take the following steps:
Review your accounts regularly.
Check your account frequently. Promptly and completely review all information we send you.
Report any errors or discrepancies in your account and any suspected unauthorized transactions or account changes to Vanguard immediately.
Bill

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