How to not obsess over investments?

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HoleInTheAir
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How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:21 am

Hi All,

I've posted here regularly in the last year or so, which is right around the time I really started getting on top of my investments and just savings in general. My fiancé and I are in our mid 20s, and have around $150,000 in investments currently, spread in our Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, Brokerage, and 401Ks. We save roughly 30% of our household income in tax deferred accounts. By all measures, things are going okay.

However, I worry about them too much, and check the balances most every day. I don't want to do this for the next 30-40 years, or however long before we retire, nor do I want to check them that much in retirement.

I do, however, love tracking and I keep up with weekly performances and monthly performances just to see how things are progressing. But I'd like to check no more than that - certainly not every day.

Do any of you have any methods you've used that helped you get away from checking and obsessing over this, or is it just something you have to discipline yourself to not do?

Thanks,
HoleInTheAir

retiredjg
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:36 am

I think you may just have to wait and grow into it. Sooner or later, something else comes along in life that is more interesting or more demanding of your time.

If checking daily right now is fun for you, I would not give it a thought. If you are checking daily because of worry....not sure what to suggest for that. Start with one day a week? No Saturday and Sunday do not count if you checked Friday night. :happy

HoleInTheAir
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:40 am

retiredjg wrote:I think you may just have to wait and grow into it. Sooner or later, something else comes along in life that is more interesting or more demanding of your time.

If checking daily right now is fun for you, I would not give it a thought. If you are checking daily because of worry....not sure what to suggest for that. Start with one day a week? No Saturday and Sunday do not count if you checked Friday night. :happy
Thanks. I've taken on more professionally, which helps some, and I'm getting a Master's degree, but it seems I still have more free time than I'd like.

I do believe you have a point; there's nothing inherently wrong with checking, and maybe worrying was the wrong word. I don't worry about it much, I just wish it didn't occupy so much of my headspace. As with most things, I think how the behavior makes you feel is more important than the behavior itself.

mega317
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by mega317 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:46 am

I still have more free time than I'd like.
This is the craziest thing I have ever read on the internet.

I do have a few ideas. Change your passwords to something you'll never remember (B5!#wuW8) which forces you to go through the reset password process every time you want to log on. Spend as much time in vigorous exercise as you do on the computer. Have a baby.

bcjb
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by bcjb » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:47 am

I agree with the first response. Investing will soon become pleasantly boring, and you'll spend your free time / procrastination on some new hobby. At least, that's what happened in my case. :happy

deltaneutral83
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by deltaneutral83 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:50 am

Re-evaluate your Asset Allocation and ease into a more equity heavy portfolio as you get more comfortable. During the entire Fall of 2008 leading into 2009 the market was moving and plenty of BH's portfolios were moving $150k in 2 trading days (and during this time frame it was to the downside mostly). You are young enough that whatever happens over the next two decades will matter not but if you can't get a handle on your emotions then its a moot point. It's impossible not to know what the market finishes at 4pm with all of the different avenues of news we now have and being a BH in general. You would have to actively try to not know where the S&P is on a weekly basis in my opinion, but that doesn't mean you have to login to check your balances. All of this is just my opinion and others will weigh in.

chevca
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by chevca » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:50 am

It will lessen over time. I was similar when it was all new to me. I was checking balances daily, watching the S&P 500 daily, figuring percent of this and that, reading every finance article I saw, and so on. After a while, it all sort of dropped off. I realized not much changes day to day and life is better when not obsessing of the finance world.

I still check my credit union and CC accounts daily. But, that's more for watching for any fraudulent activity. Takes all of two minutes.

You will be fine. And, great job to you guys for having $150k in your mid 20s!!

sambb
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by sambb » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:54 am

if you have a baby, you will barely have time to sleep, let alone talk . checking investments will not be stressful comparatively. So enjoy the fact that you have the time to do it now. Same goes for work advances, promotions - where you manage more, family issues, personal illness, etc.
The fact that you have time to check now, may indicate a simpler age and it is actually nice. Enjoy it.

retiredjg
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:00 am

I too was thinking that kids will solve this problem. :twisted:

livesoft
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by livesoft » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:03 am

retiredjg wrote:I too was thinking that kids will solve this problem. :twisted:
Ha! Ha! There are many posts about investing to pay for daycare, college, vacations, insurance, etc all related to kids.

Go into the Wilderness for a few weeks out of contact with the rest of the world. You will find other things to think about eventually.

Or stay in the Developed World and obsess about other people's investments (and kids!) by posting a lot at Bogleheads.org.
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

jbolden1517
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by jbolden1517 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:05 am

Give yourself something useful to do. Start looking at individual companies. Try and focus on highly illiquid small cap stocks that institutional investors can't touch. Find some screaming buys. Know why they are beaten down (if you are doing value), if you are doing growth (small growth is btw an investor black hole) know why the market isn't pricing in the opportunity you see. Carefully pick your 5 and toss 1% into each. Assume this is a 3 year holding, but leave yourself open to changing your mind. Follow those companies, and the analysts that follow them through the next 3 years. Look at the twitter chatter, the stock boards. Especially pay attention to those who are short the stock if any.

Now you have something more productive to focus on. And you won't mess up the other 95% of your allocation in the process.

HoleInTheAir
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:11 am

Thanks for the responses.

I have to give a lot of the credit to my fiancé and to my soon-to-be FIL and my own father.

She and I both had scholarships, but we both finished undergrad with no debt, and both were fortunate to enter the workforce immediately.

I'm very much the lead on our finances, but she lets me manage her accounts, and we work together on expenses. We split household bills; I pay rent, she picks up utilities and groceries, etc. I really think having two people on the same page makes this easy.

We're undecided on kids; neither of us have strong feelings either way. She's also getting a master's degree, so it's something we'll likely revisit in 5-7 years when we're in our early 30s. Her parents had her late in life (they're both nearly 70), and are not doing well, so we need to be there for them in the near term - another knock against kids anytime soon.

asif408
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by asif408 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:21 am

You could always try books about investing or listening to podcasts, since you are obviously very interested in it all. That would give you something to read, listen, and learn, and distract you from checking your accounts. Of course it could prompt you to do something with your investments, which I am not trying to promote. Some of the behavioral financial literature is interesting but won't necessarily make you watch your account more. Or some of the historical books about markets, bubbles, etc. too are interesting but hopefully would not persuade you to tinker with your accounts.

I would definitely avoid most TV and websites about investing, such as CNBC, MarketWatch, Jim Cramer, etc., as those types of media are their to stimulate and make you think you need to take action. Stick with historical books, research articles, and behavioral financial literature as those are more educational and less about persuading you to do something.

As others have said, once you get kids and/or take on more obligations in life you'll spend less time obsessing. But until then, learn as much as you can.
Last edited by asif408 on Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Wings5
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Wings5 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:22 am

I dealt with this for a while, and still do. The general progression for us was Dave Ramsey --> Mr. Money Mustache --> Bogleheads. For us it wasn't just about starting to invest, there were some decent lifestyle changes that took place.

Part of why I used to check balances daily was a fear of poverty; I never wanted to feel that insecurity and dependency again. Setting asset allocations and monthly dates to check the portfolio has helped, and so has auto investing. I cluster my auto investment contributions and checkups around payday, so I'm looking at all the money stuff at once. Then I get back to my kids, bikes, kayaking, and planes.

So yeah, finding a hobby is key.

HoleInTheAir
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:29 am

Wings5 wrote:I dealt with this for a while, and still do. The general progression for us was Dave Ramsey --> Mr. Money Mustache --> Bogleheads. For us it wasn't just about starting to invest, there were some decent lifestyle changes that took place.

Part of why I used to check balances daily was a fear of poverty; I never wanted to feel that insecurity and dependency again. Setting asset allocations and monthly dates to check the portfolio has helped, and so has auto investing. I cluster my auto investment contributions and checkups around payday, so I'm looking at all the money stuff at once. Then I get back to my kids, bikes, kayaking, and planes.

So yeah, finding a hobby is key.
I think that's part of it for me - the fear of poverty. I've never invested and saved because I want to be wealthy or to have that image, I just like the sense of security it gives me. I never grew up poor or anything, but it's just my personality I guess.

HoleInTheAir
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:31 am

asif408 wrote:You could always try books about investing or listening to podcasts, since you are obviously very interested in it all. That would give you something to read, listen, and learn, and distract you from checking your accounts. Of course it could prompt you to do something with your investments, which I am not trying to promote. Some of the behavioral financial literature is interesting but won't necessarily make you watch your account more. Or some of the historical books about markets, bubbles, etc. too are interesting but hopefully would not persuade you to tinker with your accounts.

I would definitely avoid most TV and websites about investing, such as CNBC, MarketWatch, Jim Cramer, etc., as those types of media are their to stimulate and make you think you need to take action. Stick with historical books, research articles, and behavioral financial literature as those are more educational and less about persuading you to do something.

As others have said, once you get kids and/or take on more obligations in life you'll spend less time obsessing. But until then, learn as much as you can.
That's a good suggestion. This all prompted my MBA. I'm getting a concentration in Finance, and may transition to that industry later in life once I finish school. I would love to help others with their investments.

I actually helped my Dad move from RJ to Vanguard. Working on getting my FIL from ML to Vanguard, but he's older and more loyal to his FA.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:38 am

HoleInTheAir wrote:
Wings5 wrote:I dealt with this for a while, and still do. The general progression for us was Dave Ramsey --> Mr. Money Mustache --> Bogleheads. For us it wasn't just about starting to invest, there were some decent lifestyle changes that took place.

Part of why I used to check balances daily was a fear of poverty; I never wanted to feel that insecurity and dependency again. Setting asset allocations and monthly dates to check the portfolio has helped, and so has auto investing. I cluster my auto investment contributions and checkups around payday, so I'm looking at all the money stuff at once. Then I get back to my kids, bikes, kayaking, and planes.

So yeah, finding a hobby is key.
I think that's part of it for me - the fear of poverty. I've never invested and saved because I want to be wealthy or to have that image, I just like the sense of security it gives me. I never grew up poor or anything, but it's just my personality I guess.
I understand where you are coming from, but rationalize your thoughts. You and your significant other have holdings of $150K, you both have 4 year college degrees, you both are pursuing a graduate degree, you both plan to get married to each other, you collectively save 30% of your earnings each year. Do you realize you possess traits that are indicative of financial success? Why are you fearing poverty? Do you know what poverty is?

Read The Great Depression - A Diary by Benjamin Roth. Read Your Money and Your Brain - Jason Zweig. Read a few other behavioral finance books and you'll soon realize your fear of poverty is misplaced.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

HoleInTheAir
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:47 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
HoleInTheAir wrote:
Wings5 wrote:I dealt with this for a while, and still do. The general progression for us was Dave Ramsey --> Mr. Money Mustache --> Bogleheads. For us it wasn't just about starting to invest, there were some decent lifestyle changes that took place.

Part of why I used to check balances daily was a fear of poverty; I never wanted to feel that insecurity and dependency again. Setting asset allocations and monthly dates to check the portfolio has helped, and so has auto investing. I cluster my auto investment contributions and checkups around payday, so I'm looking at all the money stuff at once. Then I get back to my kids, bikes, kayaking, and planes.

So yeah, finding a hobby is key.
I think that's part of it for me - the fear of poverty. I've never invested and saved because I want to be wealthy or to have that image, I just like the sense of security it gives me. I never grew up poor or anything, but it's just my personality I guess.
I understand where you are coming from, but rationalize your thoughts. You and your significant other have holdings of $150K, you both have 4 year college degrees, you both are pursuing a graduate degree, you both plan to get married to each other, you collectively save 30% of your earnings each year. Do you realize you possess traits that are indicative of financial success? Why are you fearing poverty? Do you know what poverty is?

Read The Great Depression - A Diary by Benjamin Roth. Read Your Money and Your Brain - Jason Zweig. Read a few other behavioral finance books and you'll soon realize your fear of poverty is misplaced.
I know, it's something I have to work on. I'm the same way about work performance. I consistently get good reviews and raises; I've literally never had a negative comment on a review. I feel like I'm skating by and will be found out for an underachiever who isn't near as knowledgeable as they think. :shock:

I think for me, the investments give me a sense of freedom, maybe poverty was the wrong word. I would love to be in a position in my 40s where I could change industries, go part-time, go back to school for something totally different, etc. And that's very close to my SO's heart, too.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:51 am

HoleInTheAir wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
HoleInTheAir wrote:
Wings5 wrote:I dealt with this for a while, and still do. The general progression for us was Dave Ramsey --> Mr. Money Mustache --> Bogleheads. For us it wasn't just about starting to invest, there were some decent lifestyle changes that took place.

Part of why I used to check balances daily was a fear of poverty; I never wanted to feel that insecurity and dependency again. Setting asset allocations and monthly dates to check the portfolio has helped, and so has auto investing. I cluster my auto investment contributions and checkups around payday, so I'm looking at all the money stuff at once. Then I get back to my kids, bikes, kayaking, and planes.

So yeah, finding a hobby is key.
I think that's part of it for me - the fear of poverty. I've never invested and saved because I want to be wealthy or to have that image, I just like the sense of security it gives me. I never grew up poor or anything, but it's just my personality I guess.
I understand where you are coming from, but rationalize your thoughts. You and your significant other have holdings of $150K, you both have 4 year college degrees, you both are pursuing a graduate degree, you both plan to get married to each other, you collectively save 30% of your earnings each year. Do you realize you possess traits that are indicative of financial success? Why are you fearing poverty? Do you know what poverty is?

Read The Great Depression - A Diary by Benjamin Roth. Read Your Money and Your Brain - Jason Zweig. Read a few other behavioral finance books and you'll soon realize your fear of poverty is misplaced.
I know, it's something I have to work on. I'm the same way about work performance. I consistently get good reviews and raises; I've literally never had a negative comment on a review. I feel like I'm skating by and will be found out for an underachiever who isn't near as knowledgeable as they think. :shock:

I think for me, the investments give me a sense of freedom, maybe poverty was the wrong word. I would love to be in a position in my 40s where I could change industries, go part-time, go back to school for something totally different, etc. And that's very close to my SO's heart, too.
At your ages, you need to focus on human capital providing the means to attain that freedom. While you are off to a good start, you will need a far larger amount to be able to FIRE and the only real way to get there is to earn enough money that you can save your way there because even those who obsess over their portfolio can not control what the rate of return will be on their portfolio. Rate of savings is everything but only if the monies/funds are there to save. And while it's good to think about the future, when I was in my 20's I was living as well, so don't forget to live and enjoy the present because when the time has passed, it has passed.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Iliketoridemybike
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:54 am

I've obsessed about it for almost 30 years. I check the balances everyday. Watch CNBC, check here, check on other sites. I don't look at it as a problem. It is more of a hobby and I have learned a lot and still continue to learn a lot.
If it is a burden and not fun, maybe you need a manager, the three fund approach or a target date fund so you don't think as much about it.

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bertilak
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by bertilak » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:54 am

livesoft wrote: Go into the Wilderness for a few weeks out of contact with the rest of the world. You will find other things to think about eventually.
That's how I quit smoking. Worked like a champ! Something short of one week was enough.

There were bears to think (worry!) about. And "out of contact" was the real thing back then (1975). There were no smart phones, no Internet no Google Earth. We relied on paper USGS maps (sold in local sporting goods stores) and a compass. This all gave us other things to concentrate on.
Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once. (There! I've said it.)

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Toons
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Toons » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:10 pm

Treat Your Portfollio like you would a cactus plant.
Definately no kneejerk moves.
A rule of thumb.
Mutual funds should be framed in 10yr performance,no less. :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

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Gort
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Gort » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:22 pm

Perhaps the type of securities you invest in can cause you to watch too frequently leading to some uneeded anxiety. A mixture of stock and bond mutual funds (which most Bogleheads seem to use) could be replaced by using balanced funds. Pick an index based fund (target retirenent or life stategy) fund that matches your risk level and let it go.

TheHouse7
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by TheHouse7 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:24 pm

mega317 wrote:
I still have more free time than I'd like.
This is the craziest thing I have ever read on the internet.

I do have a few ideas. Change your passwords to something you'll never remember (B5!#wuW8) which forces you to go through the reset password process every time you want to log on. Spend as much time in vigorous exercise as you do on the computer. Have a baby.
+1 for having a baby :D
"PSX will always go up 20%, why invest in anything else?!" -Father-in-law early retired.

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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Fallible » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:35 pm

HoleInTheAir wrote: ... By all measures, things are going okay.

However, I worry about them too much, and check the balances most every day. I don't want to do this for the next 30-40 years, or however long before we retire, nor do I want to check them that much in retirement. ...
What are you worried about? Market crash or just market volatility? Having made a wrong investment decision? Whatever, if the worry is tempting you to unnecessarily tinker with your portfolio, now that's something to worry about.

You could wait to see if you become bored with frequent checking or other interests develop. But if that doesn't happen, you'll have to somehow generate the willpower to stop and I hope others here can help you with that. In my own case, I loved to check my investments daily when they were new, and then after maybe a month or so, I just lost interest and checked only quarterly statements.
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djpeteski
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by djpeteski » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:38 pm

For the past 3 months or so, and likely for another 45 days (or hopefully less) I have been obsessing over my investments. We are really close to hitting a significant milestone.

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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by abner kravitz » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:46 pm

HoleInTheAir wrote:
I do, however, love tracking and I keep up with weekly performances and monthly performances just to see how things are progressing.
Since you are in your mid-20s, you've seen nothing but good times in the markets. Nothing like a good crash to make you lose a little interest in checking your balances daily. I have done a monthly investments spreadsheet since 2002, but mysteriously there is a gap in the data starting mid-2008.

TM90
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by TM90 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:49 pm

Ever since I started investing I'm obsessed with it. I check my portfolio a couple times a day. I have a boglehead portfolio now but sometimes I feel like I want to do stock picking just because I like to spend my time looking for stock. So I started a virtual portfolio.. So now I constantly compare the return of the virtual one to my real one. I don't know.. I like investing and reading and learning about it but sometimes I feel I should stop it because it consumes some time and I never do transactions because I have a lazy portfolio and all the time I put in it could've gone to something else.

So I too am struggling with this.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:57 pm

Like many things in life - its okay to look - as long as you don't act. It took me a long time before I stopped checking balances daily.
Using the word "obsess" is more of a concern - do you lose sleep or feel anxious when things are down a bit? If no - then I wouldn't worry. If you have too much time on your hands - get another hobby.

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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by pkcrafter » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:08 pm

Holeintheair:
However, I worry about them too much, and check the balances most every day. I don't want to do this for the next 30-40 years, or however long before we retire, nor do I want to check them that much in retirement.
Checking and worrying are two different things. You have not experienced a big drawdown, so how will you react if you see your holdings drop by 30-40%? Will you watch the daily drop, hear the distressing news and defining shouts to sell, and still be able to hold? I can tell you if it will stress you, you will probably find it very difficult to hold. 80/20 is OK for some, but maybe not appropriate for you at this point in your investing life. It's hard to tell whether you are just experiencing the newness of investing or you are genuinely nervous, but you do not want to sell under those conditions. Be aware of this behavioral pitfall--
Myopic loss aversion

Myopic loss aversion is loss aversion intensified by constant attention to short-term portfolio performance. This behavior leads to focusing on recent losses and increased selling/buying activity without regard to the overall portfolio or the long term view. Myopic loss aversion gives rise to poor portfolio management and lower returns.


https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Behavioral_pitfalls

Remember, your investment performance only matters over the long term--decades, not days, weeks, months or even years. You can look, but don't fiddle. :happy

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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.

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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:44 pm

Very common experience for relatively new investors. Simple approach is to keep investing, obtain a portfolio approach that is reasonable (This site can help with that) and hope for a down turn in the stock market periodically over the next twenty years or so in order to purchase more shares, reinvest all dividends and capital gains, and be assured you are investing in a wiser manner than a large percentage of the population. You are already ahead of the issue by simply asking the question. It is a little like asking, "Is it really demanding to have children," a question with an obvious answer, but one that indicates that beginning to get comfortable with a new, complex issue comes with asking questions. Believe me, we have all been where you are, and it is an indicator of progression on your part, not a problem. Complex issues require "Obsessing" before arriving at a level of comfort!

Tim

michaeljc70
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:19 pm

I don't see a problem with checking everyday....if it doesn't lead you to make any changes.

At least with index mutual funds, at least you can really only check once per day. If you have index funds, you really don't even have to check as I have a pretty good idea by seeing a summary of the indexes on the news.


I definitely find myself checking more when the market is up. :shock:

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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by cautious » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:49 pm

It sounds like you are doing very well - both of you. I've gone through periods of checking, reading, calculating endlessly. I feared the disgrace of running out of money, having to ask family etc. In your case, with your upcoming wedding and change of life status, the endless checking might be a useful outlet for all that anxiety. It may be a temporary obsession, but no harm in letting a counselor walk you through it.
My best to both of you.

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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by tombonneau » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:21 pm

I have found one of the key elements to making a change is to Shape the Path. (Tip of the cap to the excellent book Switch by the Heath Brothers that I learned it in.)

Basically, you control your environment as much as possible to guide your choices.

Like you, I'm new to taking over my own investing and have immersed myself in the world the last few months. A lot of this is good. I'm learning a lot. But I also found myself compulsively checking indexes throughout the day.

Once I decided I wanted to change, I simply started to Shape My Path. I removed all the quick glance stock widgets from my laptop and phone. Buried the stock app in a folder. That has helped tremendously. Now I no longer have the easy tools to check.

Luckily, I'm all-in with Vanguard, and their website is such a displeasure to use that I rarely find myself logging in to check balances. Heck, I still don't even know how to see my daily changes in Vanguard! :) Conversely, when I had balances in Schwab and Fidelity, it was too easy to log in and look at the day's gains/losses.

You might even want to take it to the extreme of using a Chrome extension to "block" certain distracting sites that you don't want to visit. There are a few like this. But I echo what others have said: if it's not having a real negative effect on your life, don't bother. It'll fade.

WanderingDoc
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by WanderingDoc » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:45 pm

HoleInTheAir wrote:Hi All,

I've posted here regularly in the last year or so, which is right around the time I really started getting on top of my investments and just savings in general. My fiancé and I are in our mid 20s, and have around $150,000 in investments currently, spread in our Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, Brokerage, and 401Ks. We save roughly 30% of our household income in tax deferred accounts. By all measures, things are going okay.

However, I worry about them too much, and check the balances most every day. I don't want to do this for the next 30-40 years, or however long before we retire, nor do I want to check them that much in retirement.

I do, however, love tracking and I keep up with weekly performances and monthly performances just to see how things are progressing. But I'd like to check no more than that - certainly not every day.

Do any of you have any methods you've used that helped you get away from checking and obsessing over this, or is it just something you have to discipline yourself to not do?

Thanks,
HoleInTheAir
Try meditation.
One day it suddenly dawned on me that I had won the real estate lottery.

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ruralavalon
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:12 pm

HoleInTheAir wrote:Hi All,

I've posted here regularly in the last year or so, which is right around the time I really started getting on top of my investments and just savings in general. My fiancé and I are in our mid 20s, and have around $150,000 in investments currently, spread in our Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, Brokerage, and 401Ks. We save roughly 30% of our household income in tax deferred accounts. By all measures, things are going okay.

However, I worry about them too much, and check the balances most every day. I don't want to do this for the next 30-40 years, or however long before we retire, nor do I want to check them that much in retirement.

I do, however, love tracking and I keep up with weekly performances and monthly performances just to see how things are progressing. But I'd like to check no more than that - certainly not every day.

Do any of you have any methods you've used that helped you get away from checking and obsessing over this, or is it just something you have to discipline yourself to not do?

Thanks,
HoleInTheAir
Work at your day job.

Take a class.

Read a book.

Go to a play or watch a movie.

Get a dog.

Go for a walk or to the gym.

Go fishing.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

invst65
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by invst65 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:31 pm

HoleInTheAir wrote: Do any of you have any methods you've used that helped you get away from checking and obsessing over this, or is it just something you have to discipline yourself to not do?
I always found that the best cure for looking constantly was a good, old-fashioned, total blood bath, market crash. When you know the numbers are going to be so bad you can't bear to look you start to realize how pointless the numbers are while you are growing your portfolio. When you see enough of those kinds of downturns you finally realize how they even work in your favor in the long run. My policy nowadays (and I'm retired and no longer contributing but my wife is, BTW), is to only look at the portfolio when I'm at least 80% confident I will be pleased with what I see. Otherwise, there is no point. Unless you are a masochist and enjoy that sort of thing.

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flamesabers
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by flamesabers » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:48 pm

OP,

How are you checking your investments?

If it's with a mobile app, uninstall the mobile app from your phone. Or you could downgrade to a dumb phone if necessary.

If it's via your computer, I would suggest setting a time once a week to check your investments and leave it at that. If it's too hard to adhere to this, get off the computer and do something else. (Maybe you could remind yourself that a watched pot never boils? :P )

selftalk
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by selftalk » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:50 pm

I realized that it doesn`t matter one bit what my portfolio is worth now as I don`t need the money now. Checking your portfolio worth a lot must bring up emotions if you are human. It`s these emotions that can cost you a lot of money and cause you to do something to DECREASE your goal to protect your goal of increasing your purchasing power for the future. You can be your worst enemy. Prevent it. Read in POOR RICHARD`S ALMANAC by Ben Franklin how to break bad habits.

stlutz
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by stlutz » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:45 pm

What I do is spend more time posting on Bogleheads--allows me to worry about everyone else's portfolio and ignore my own.

HoleInTheAir
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:25 pm

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I'm taking a step back and reading more on coming up with a definitive investment plan. Do I want to tilt towards small/mid caps? What should my asset allocation be given my risk tolerance? What portion of my holdings do I want in International Funds? These are questions that should have been explored before getting involved, but I didn't.

We've socked away 25-30% of our earnings in our first 3 years of employment with no real direction. We've used all Vanguard Index Funds (VINIX, VBTLX, VTSAX, VTIAX, VDADX, VSMAX, VIMAX), but I've never been comfortable and confident with them because I have no real strategy and direction.

Many people want to retire early, but I'd be bored out of mind, so pushing so hard (in my own head) for something I don't even know if I want, may be a bit of a fool's errand at this point. We'll see. There may be a point to reducing savings and doing more NOW.

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ruralavalon
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:24 am

HoleInTheAir wrote:Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I'm taking a step back and reading more on coming up with a definitive investment plan. Do I want to tilt towards small/mid caps? What should my asset allocation be given my risk tolerance? What portion of my holdings do I want in International Funds? These are questions that should have been explored before getting involved, but I didn't.

We've socked away 25-30% of our earnings in our first 3 years of employment with no real direction. We've used all Vanguard Index Funds (VINIX, VBTLX, VTSAX, VTIAX, VDADX, VSMAX, VIMAX), but I've never been comfortable and confident with them because I have no real strategy and direction.

Many people want to retire early, but I'd be bored out of mind, so pushing so hard (in my own head) for something I don't even know if I want, may be a bit of a fool's errand at this point. We'll see. There may be a point to reducing savings and doing more NOW.
That is a very high savings rate. Those funds are pretty good choices for having "no real direction".

If you want to read about investing consider William Bernstein The Four Pillars of Investing or Rick Ferri All About Asset Allocation.

But I think it would be best to develop another interest for your time and attention.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

herpfinance
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by herpfinance » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:33 am

HoleInTheAir wrote: I'm taking a step back and reading more on coming up with a definitive investment plan. Do I want to tilt towards small/mid caps? What should my asset allocation be given my risk tolerance? What portion of my holdings do I want in International Funds? These are questions that should have been explored before getting involved, but I didn't.

We've socked away 25-30% of our earnings in our first 3 years of employment with no real direction. We've used all Vanguard Index Funds (VINIX, VBTLX, VTSAX, VTIAX, VDADX, VSMAX, VIMAX), but I've never been comfortable and confident with them because I have no real strategy and direction.
Do you have an IPS? I consider it very worthwhile to implement as it can help mitigate behavioral biases and make your goals clearer.
"The intelligent investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists" - Benjamin Graham

HoleInTheAir
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by HoleInTheAir » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:36 pm

herpfinance wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:33 am
HoleInTheAir wrote: I'm taking a step back and reading more on coming up with a definitive investment plan. Do I want to tilt towards small/mid caps? What should my asset allocation be given my risk tolerance? What portion of my holdings do I want in International Funds? These are questions that should have been explored before getting involved, but I didn't.

We've socked away 25-30% of our earnings in our first 3 years of employment with no real direction. We've used all Vanguard Index Funds (VINIX, VBTLX, VTSAX, VTIAX, VDADX, VSMAX, VIMAX), but I've never been comfortable and confident with them because I have no real strategy and direction.
Do you have an IPS? I consider it very worthwhile to implement as it can help mitigate behavioral biases and make your goals clearer.
This is actually what I'm working on now. I'll make an action plan this week, make any moves, and be done for a while. I'll check the balances monthly, and stick to just making sure the paycheck deductions are flowing properly.

bayview
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by bayview » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:11 pm

HoleInTheAir wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:25 pm
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I'm taking a step back and reading more on coming up with a definitive investment plan. Do I want to tilt towards small/mid caps? What should my asset allocation be given my risk tolerance? What portion of my holdings do I want in International Funds? These are questions that should have been explored before getting involved, but I didn't.
I disagree that you "should have... explored before getting involved." You started investing (and in index funds), and that's what counts. In fact, you strike me as someone who will be at risk for analysis by paralysis, obsessing over The Perfect Plan. You might want to watch out for that, especially as you're getting a finance degree.
We've socked away 25-30% of our earnings in our first 3 years of employment with no real direction....
And that is what matters in the end, along with a generally sensible AA.

Congratulations to both of you for an excellent start. You have all sorts of time for fine-tuning. :beer
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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Alexa9
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Alexa9 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:13 am

I see this as a really bad habit and you're most likely worried about your allocation and might consider making it more conservative so you can relax.
1. Set up automatic investing.
2. Change your password to something you won't remember (you can reset it) or set up a site blocker for your brokerage and only check your account quarterly (four times a year is plenty although you may start with monthly) or on really obvious good/bad days to rebalance if you do that. Put when you can check your account on your calendar and only do it then. 1st of the month or 3/1, 6/1, 9/1, 12/1
3. Set up automatic withdrawals when you're in retirement.
4. Find hobbies to take it off your mind. I suggest reading, music, movies, cooking, and exercise. I hate to say it but I'd take a break from bogleheads too!

Lynette
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Re: How to not obsess over investments?

Post by Lynette » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:31 am

Spend enough time on your finances until you are comfortable with your knowledge, financial decisions and then as others have mentioned find something else that engrosses you. I retired recently and spent nearly six months figuring out my new financial situation and the ghastly medicare. Then I fixed up my house - going to the Big Box store at 6:00 a.m. kept me busy and tired at night. Then it was the garden - lugging around soil - so tired at night. Now its gym, walking the neighborhood and Spanish at a community college and volunteered at a homeless shelter - so tired at night. I only rarely look at my investments.

I think a combination of being satisfied with your knowledge of finances and your decisions, then finding hobbies and exercise, exercise - besides gym I walk the neighborhood for at least 2 hours a day.

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