On not looking at your statements...

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yules
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On not looking at your statements...

Post by yules »

Dear Bogleheads,

Still newish here, lots to learn, reading through lost of threads.

I know that many of you proudly say that you never look at your balances and try to joke about not knowing that Vanguard issues statements. So, lol there. I get that this is really you saying that buy and hold is the best strategy.

But if you "never" look at your statements,then how exactly do you rebalance? Are you rich enough that you have Vanguard personal services? Or do you have a financial advisor? (This i snot a question for people in target date funds, because I know that this rebalance and change allocation over time by themselves.)

Yules
TheHouse7
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by TheHouse7 »

Scheduled re-balance, contributions (allocated as target balance), and or log in once a year to re-balance. :beer

I don't pay for anyone to re-balance my accounts.
"PSX will always go up 20%, why invest in anything else?!" -Father-in-law early retired.
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Stinky
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Stinky »

yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am
I know that many of you proudly say that you never look at your balances and try to joke about not knowing that Vanguard issues statements. So, lol there. I get that this is really you saying that buy and hold is the best strategy.
I think that “never” is a little tongue in cheek.

To me, “never looking at statements” means:
—Not obsessing over daily/weekly/monthly moves in the markets
—Sticking with our investment policy statement and asset allocation, regardless of short term moves
It's a GREAT day to be alive! - Travis Tritt
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yules
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by yules »

Stinky wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:42 am
yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am
I know that many of you proudly say that you never look at your balances and try to joke about not knowing that Vanguard issues statements. So, lol there. I get that this is really you saying that buy and hold is the best strategy.
I think that “never” is a little tongue in cheek.

To me, “never looking at statements” means:
—Not obsessing over daily/weekly/monthly moves in the markets
—Sticking with our investment policy statement and asset allocation, regardless of short term moves
Thanks--yeah, I got the feeling that "never" was jokey, but it's hard sometimes to detect tone, even with smilies, on the forum! But I also wasn't sure even if "never" meant looking very rarely, how people detected variation from their X% bands for purposes of rebalancing. Like, if people "only" looked on January 1, or June 1, or their birthday...they would not be scheduled to look now which could be an ideal time to rebalance according to an IPS (not timing the market purposes).

Thank you for the clarity!

Yules
michaeljc70
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by michaeljc70 »

I rebalance once a year on my birthday. I don't look at statements as they are antiquated. I download transactions and prices into Quicken all the time. IMO if you need to not look at statements and stick your head in the sand you probably don't have the right AA. I ran a report a few minutes ago in Quicken and I am up 8%+ over the last year (as of today) so not so bad.

Also, if you own index funds you really have to be oblivious to not be able to know what is going on in your portfolio unless you cut out all media and newspapers and the internet. I mean if you hear the market was down 5% that day in the news and stick your fingers in your ears and say "lalalalala" there is probably something wrong with your AA.

I agree there is no reason to obsess over your daily/weekly/monthly balance but I don't believe ignorance is bliss.
Silence Dogood
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Silence Dogood »

michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:56 am I don't look at statements as they are antiquated.
Personally, I would feel uneasy not getting statements.

I download, review, and then save all of my statements to my hard drive (I usually get a statement once a quarter).
michaeljc70
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by michaeljc70 »

Silence Dogood wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:10 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:56 am I don't look at statements as they are antiquated.
Personally, I would feel uneasy not getting statements.

I download, review, and then save all of my statements to my hard drive (I usually get a statement once a quarter).
I download any transactions on an almost daily basis. I don't have to wait a month to see an issue.
BoggledHead2
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by BoggledHead2 »

yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am Dear Bogleheads,

Still newish here, lots to learn, reading through lost of threads.

I know that many of you proudly say that you never look at your balances and try to joke about not knowing that Vanguard issues statements. So, lol there. I get that this is really you saying that buy and hold is the best strategy.

But if you "never" look at your statements,then how exactly do you rebalance? Are you rich enough that you have Vanguard personal services? Or do you have a financial advisor? (This i snot a question for people in target date funds, because I know that this rebalance and change allocation over time by themselves.)

Yules
I do an annual rebalance with my Roth IRA (max in January). Whichever fund needs it - gets it. Or I split as needed. Vanguard provides you with a portfolio analysis (Us/INT) ... I use that as a pretty simple guide

Periodically when I have enough emergency fund + other expenses (vacation/other) saved for ... I sign back in and see if my allocation is off. If it isn’t, I do nothing. If it is, I buy what I need to.

When you pick an asset allocation that works for you .. the balance is irrelevant. You need to have an honest AA that’s appropriate for age/risk tolerance

I’m investing for 20+ years from now ... and downturn is great for my long term prospects. As I near 50-60, my asset allocation is going to change drastically, because weeks like last week if I was approaching retirement would freak me out

When you have the right AA, the markets themselves will tell you what to do. Finding the right AA is the key ... most people overestimate their risk tolerance then panic sell during downturns and delude themselves into “I’ll buy back in ... sometime”

Pick an AA, be honest with yourself, then set and forget
Silence Dogood
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Silence Dogood »

michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:13 pm
Silence Dogood wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:10 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:56 am I don't look at statements as they are antiquated.
Personally, I would feel uneasy not getting statements.

I download, review, and then save all of my statements to my hard drive (I usually get a statement once a quarter).
I download any transactions on an almost daily basis. I don't have to wait a month to see an issue.
Well, with my Vanguard account, I usually only make one transaction per year.

Regardless, I like to keep a record of how much is in my account. It's very simple for me to just keep my statements.
Dandy
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Dandy »

I feel you must look at your statements to see if contributions are being allocated correctly and to make sure no one has tampered with your account. If there was a fraud and you didn't let the institution know in a timely matter there may be no recourse. And you may have a nasty surprise when you finally look at your account. If you are likely to panic then have someone you trust look at them.

One of the worst ideas the late, great Jack Bogle had was suggesting that people don't look at their statements. While well meaning it is really bad advice.
dbr
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by dbr »

"Never look at your statements" is a kind of silly mantra offered for a legitimate purpose, which is to remind people to not make frequent investment changes as the market comes and goes and to not get either upset or excited and do stupid things over short term variations in investment performance. Better advice would be to tell people to not make frequent investment changes as the market comes and goes and to not get either upset or excited and do stupid things over short term variations in investment performance.

The practical advice is that people should keep an eye on their accounts to be sure everything is as it should be, to monitor possible changes in policy or activity on an account, to keep up with notices, settings, communications issues, to be aware of how one stands, including any rebalancing one should do and so on. Providers sometimes change the plan offerings, and you have to be responsive. There was even a thread a while back about what happens to holdings when there is no communication with the account holder for too long a time. Their was a recent thread about how assets can escheat to the state, though the exact legal issues there were murky. It may have been more about confused communication than real issues.
michaeljc70
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by michaeljc70 »

Silence Dogood wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:18 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:13 pm
Silence Dogood wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:10 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:56 am I don't look at statements as they are antiquated.
Personally, I would feel uneasy not getting statements.

I download, review, and then save all of my statements to my hard drive (I usually get a statement once a quarter).
I download any transactions on an almost daily basis. I don't have to wait a month to see an issue.
Well, with my Vanguard account, I usually only make one transaction per year.

Regardless, I like to keep a record of how much is in my account. It's very simple for me to just keep my statements.
It doesn't matter how many transactions you make with regard to fraud. You could not make any transactions for years and have fraud or an error (say another persons withdrawal or buy/sell applied to your account).

Don't you get dividends? Those are transactions.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
yules
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by yules »

BoggledHead2 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:18 pm When you pick an asset allocation that works for you .. the balance is irrelevant. You need to have an honest AA that’s appropriate for age/risk tolerance

I’m investing for 20+ years from now ... and downturn is great for my long term prospects. As I near 50-60, my asset allocation is going to change drastically, because weeks like last week if I was approaching retirement would freak me out

When you have the right AA, the markets themselves will tell you what to do. Finding the right AA is the key ... most people overestimate their risk tolerance then panic sell during downturns and delude themselves into “I’ll buy back in ... sometime”

Pick an AA, be honest with yourself, then set and forget
I agree that the balance is irrelevant, maybe to an extent, but I wasn't talking about checking statements/balance for purposes of timing the market or other shenanigans. I was assuming that someone already has the right AA for them...and monitoring the investments as a mechanism for maintaining the right AA. (So if you started 2020 at 60/40, you might be at 52/48 now, and if that is outside your rebalance bands according to your IPS, then you should rebalance...unless you are not looking at your statements.

Basically, I am trying to reconcile the ideas of not looking at one's investments (to the extent that "never" is not hyperbole, which earlier is discussed as a possibility/likelihood) while needing to look to rebalance.

If that makes any sense.

Yules
MathWizard
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by MathWizard »

I would say that some say they do not look at their balances.

I think that some are not looking because they think that they might
be spurred to take some action contrary to their plan if they look to often.

I certainly look, at least on a monthly basis, if not weekly. I also looks
at our checkbook balance just to know where we are at, in case I need to move
some money from savings, but I don't change behavior based on the checkbook balance,
any more than I would change investing behavior based on account balance.

I have very wide rebalancing bands, so it tales a lot of movement for
me to do a buy/sell rebalance. I generally rebalance by shifting new contributions.

That was extremely effective early on when my monthly contributions were relatively
large compared with my balance. Now this strategy is less effective, and I had to
rebalance a few months ago.

The swings these last two weeks are not enough for me to rebalance, but I am keeping watch.
Last edited by MathWizard on Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
yules
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by yules »

Dandy wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:21 pm
One of the worst ideas the late, great Jack Bogle had was suggesting that people don't look at their statements. While well meaning it is really bad advice.
I agree very much with the idea that this is bad advice, Dandy! He is overcorrecting for those people who get too nervous and look too often.

Yules
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yules
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by yules »

MathWizard wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:24 pm I would say that some say they do not look at their balances.

I certainly do, at least on a monthly basis, if not weekly.

I have very wide rebalancing bands, so it tales a lot of movement for
me to do a buy/sell rebalance. I generally rebalance by shifting new contributions.

That was extremely effective early on when my monthly contributions were relatively
large compared with my balance. Now this strategy is less effective, and I had to
rebalance a few months ago.

The swings these last two weeks are not enough for me to rebalance, but I am keeping watch.
MathWizard,

I think that you very well articulate what my basic feeling is. Get a good AA, whatever is right for you, stick to it, don't look at the balance for purposes of tactical changes, but look enough and know enough about the market swings and how a portfolio might be affected in case rebalancing bands are hit. (Plus, look enough, as other posters said, to protect against fraud.)

Thank you so much.

Yules
dbr
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by dbr »

yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:29 pm
MathWizard wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:24 pm I would say that some say they do not look at their balances.

I certainly do, at least on a monthly basis, if not weekly.

I have very wide rebalancing bands, so it tales a lot of movement for
me to do a buy/sell rebalance. I generally rebalance by shifting new contributions.

That was extremely effective early on when my monthly contributions were relatively
large compared with my balance. Now this strategy is less effective, and I had to
rebalance a few months ago.

The swings these last two weeks are not enough for me to rebalance, but I am keeping watch.
MathWizard,

I think that you very well articulate what my basic feeling is. Get a good AA, whatever is right for you, stick to it, don't look at the balance for purposes of tactical changes, but look enough and know enough about the market swings and how a portfolio might be affected in case rebalancing bands are hit. (Plus, look enough, as other posters said, to protect against fraud.)

Thank you so much.

Yules
Maybe a distinction needs to be made between looking at asset balances and making sure one is looking at the nuts and bolts of one's accounts, such as monitoring for correct transactions, keeping settings and communications up to date and so on. I would almost always visit all my accounts at least monthly from the latter point of view. I look at but don't really take much notice of what the balances are.
capjak
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by capjak »

I look multiple times a day (Personal Capital) to see what bills/transactions that are occurring. But not to buy/sell assets.
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Dandy wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:21 pm I feel you must look at your statements to see if contributions are being allocated correctly and to make sure no one has tampered with your account. If there was a fraud and you didn't let the institution know in a timely matter there may be no recourse. And you may have a nasty surprise when you finally look at your account. If you are likely to panic then have someone you trust look at them.

One of the worst ideas the late, great Jack Bogle had was suggesting that people don't look at their statements. While well meaning it is really bad advice.
Yes, I agree it was well-meaning, but, like you, I think it is poor advice. I have no desire to log into our Vanguard accounts one day and find an issue that should have been addressed months ago.

The idea about not "peeking" might be helpful for those who cannot control their impulses to act on what they see when they log in, I totally get that. But, if they are truly so impulsive, they might be a good candidate for some paid hand-holding.

Me, I like knowing where my dollar peeps are at all times, as I don't want them taking up with the wrong crowd. I also like to check my credit unions and credit cards at least once a week, for the same reason.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
Rosencrantz1
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Rosencrantz1 »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:11 pm
Dandy wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:21 pm I feel you must look at your statements to see if contributions are being allocated correctly and to make sure no one has tampered with your account. If there was a fraud and you didn't let the institution know in a timely matter there may be no recourse. And you may have a nasty surprise when you finally look at your account. If you are likely to panic then have someone you trust look at them.

One of the worst ideas the late, great Jack Bogle had was suggesting that people don't look at their statements. While well meaning it is really bad advice.
Yes, I agree it was well-meaning, but, like you, I think it is poor advice. I have no desire to log into our Vanguard accounts one day and find an issue that should have been addressed months ago.

The idea about not "peeking" might be helpful for those who cannot control their impulses to act on what they see when they log in, I totally get that. But, if they are truly so impulsive, they might be a good candidate for some paid hand-holding.

Me, I like knowing where my dollar peeps are at all times, as I don't want them taking up with the wrong crowd. I also like to check my credit unions and credit cards at least once a week, for the same reason.

Broken Man 1999
^^^ This. I'll admit logging into my Fidelity account several times/day. But, I'm a glutton for punishment (see the past couple of weeks). :D I'm retired with 3 COLA pensions that exceed expenses, so, I really don't get upset over the market moves in my 70/30 retirement portfolio. I'm in it for the long haul. I have had to rebalance into stocks with the latest slide - so, there's that :beer
Flashes1
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Flashes1 »

I hunker down in times like these and don't log-in to my 401k - it hurts too much.

I don't sell anything, but I can't look at the losses.
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by saintsfan342000 »

yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am But if you "never" look at your statements,then how exactly do you rebalance?
Part of the trick is being aware of the fact that it take substantial market moves to throw a portfolio off its target allocation by more than 5%. See this most excellent article from the Finance Buff. It takes no less than an 18% drop in equities, or a 22% gain in equities, to trigger the standard 5% rebalance. These things happen both rarely and gradually enough that you just don't have to look all that often.
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yules
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by yules »

saintsfan342000 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:50 pm
yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am But if you "never" look at your statements,then how exactly do you rebalance?
Part of the trick is being aware of the fact that it take substantial market moves to throw a portfolio off its target allocation by more than 5%. See this most excellent article from the Finance Buff. It takes no less than an 18% drop in equities, or a 22% gain in equities, to trigger the standard 5% rebalance. These things happen both rarely and gradually enough that you just don't have to look all that often.
This is really interesting, saintsfan342000! As the article says, it is more complicated because bonds have increased a bit, which creates another variable, as does regular contributions to a 401k, but this math helps put things in perspective! Thank you so much!

Yules
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JoeRetire
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by JoeRetire »

yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am But if you "never" look at your statements,then how exactly do you rebalance?
They are using the term loosely.

I was always taught never to say never. (Oops)
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Third Son »

I am paperless but look at my balances daily. I don't do anything about it but find it interesting how markets react to the gloom and doom of the day. There is really nothing actionable for me to do so I just watch from the bleachers.
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DarkHelmetII
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by DarkHelmetII »

TheHouse7 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:35 am Scheduled re-balance, contributions (allocated as target balance), and or log in once a year to re-balance
+1. Predefined frequency remove all emotion knee jerk actions.
Silence Dogood
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Silence Dogood »

michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:23 pm It doesn't matter how many transactions you make with regard to fraud. You could not make any transactions for years and have fraud or an error (say another persons withdrawal or buy/sell applied to your account).
Here are the steps that I take to secure my Vanguard account:

My account is set up so that I can only log on from a recognized device (only my home computer is recognized).

My account is set up so that two-factor authentication is required each time I log on (regardless of the fact that my computer is already recognized).

I use a unique, complex, randomly-generated password that is changed periodically.

I never click on any links to access my account.

I have account activity alerts set up - I should be alerted to any activity via both e-mail and SMS.

I log on whenever I get a new statement or tax form. I download each statement/tax form and, after careful review, save them to my hard drive. I periodically back up my main hard drive to a backup hard drive. Note: Vanguard generates a statement at least once a quarter, regardless of account activity. Vanguard also generates a statement for any month in which there is activity.
michaeljc70 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:23 pm Don't you get dividends? Those are transactions.
Yes, I do receive an annual dividend (which is automatically reinvested).

You're right - I should have counted this as a transaction.
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

If you read Jack Bogle's books he points out that the majority of fund holders do not get the return advertised because they sell when it is down and buy when it is up. He certainly was joking about never looking at your statements till it is time to retire but that might not be a terrible idea if you are one of those who posts "when is it time to get back in?" or some sort of similar statement.
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Elysium
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by Elysium »

yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am Dear Bogleheads,

Still newish here, lots to learn, reading through lost of threads.

I know that many of you proudly say that you never look at your balances and try to joke about not knowing that Vanguard issues statements. So, lol there. I get that this is really you saying that buy and hold is the best strategy.

But if you "never" look at your statements,then how exactly do you rebalance? Are you rich enough that you have Vanguard personal services? Or do you have a financial advisor? (This i snot a question for people in target date funds, because I know that this rebalance and change allocation over time by themselves.)

Yules
I look, almost every day, depends on the type of day, sometimes to observe something. I don't login to my accounts though almost never, other than to download transactions monthly into my Quicken. The looking is all in Quicken and it updates all the values to show in one single snapshot all accounts.

For me looking every day or not doesn't make a difference, because I don't get perturbed by how much it went up or down. In fact, if I see how much S&P 500 index went up or down in a day, I know without looking how much in real dollars my portfolio would have moved roughly.

The main thing is to keep emotion out of it. Once you have done that you can look as much as you want.
trueblueky
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Re: On not looking at your statements...

Post by trueblueky »

yules wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:30 am Dear Bogleheads,

Still newish here, lots to learn, reading through lost of threads.

I know that many of you proudly say that you never look at your balances and try to joke about not knowing that Vanguard issues statements. So, lol there. I get that this is really you saying that buy and hold is the best strategy.

But if you "never" look at your statements,then how exactly do you rebalance? Are you rich enough that you have Vanguard personal services? Or do you have a financial advisor? (This i snot a question for people in target date funds, because I know that this rebalance and change allocation over time by themselves.)

Yules
I get a TSP statement in the mail annually. I do not look at it on line. I rebalance each year, if needed.
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