How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

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abuss368
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by abuss368 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:08 pm

Twice a month when we invest additional funds. In between we don’t bother. If our buying frequency was less the checking of the account would also be less.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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abuss368
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by abuss368 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:15 pm

I always enjoyed interviews when Mr. Bogle would tell the “don’t peek” story! He always recommend having a doctor nearby once an investor finally looked.

Thank you Jack Bogle.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

birdy
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by birdy » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:32 pm

I picked my mutual funds with the help of this site way back when. I bought funds I believe in and have not felt the need to change since. I used to check my balances to update my spread sheets on my net worth every 4-6 months. When we had that big loss in 2007/2008, I went about 1 year before I checked them knowing that I had plenty of time to recover any losses there might be. Now that I am retired, I check them every 6-8 months. What makes you sleep sounder is what you should do.

birdy

TheEleven
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by TheEleven » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:14 am

I go to the gym almost every day to get some cardio in. With so many TV screens there it's virtually impossible to not see the numbers on the financial channels at some point while exercising, even accidentally. I'm mostly in S&P500 index so it's in my face on those screens. So I give up on not checking regularly!

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Portfolio7
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Portfolio7 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:34 am

Daily, for the most part, but sometimes I will go weeks without checking. My portfolio tends to do worse when I ignore it. This is because if I'm going to leave it unattended for a long time, I tend to go with an overly conservative AA. I start thinking of all the risks and trying to balance them, and risk aversion becomes too central to my thought process.

If I'm watching the market daily, I tend to better balance volatility risk and FOMO. It also gives me a much better idea what the market is doing in response to various events, which helps me clarify certain risks a little better. This also serves as a negating input to my monthly rebalance process.

I check my individual funds monthly as part of my regular process. I maintain an allocation range for each asset class, and depending on moving averages I will adjust those up or down slightly. Basically, I have a slice and dice 70/30 portfolio in which all the components can vary up and down within a 4% range or so. There are times when I don't change anything for a perhaps a year, and also times when I make changes almost every month. Monitoring daily market movements should confirm those changes, but when it doesn't I default to my base AA. The recent value surge is a good example. When it comes to value vs growth, I default to blended funds, and all my small cap is in a blended fund at the moment (despite solid moving averages for scv, the daily price activity was inconsistent.)

Those AA ranges also help ensure that if I have a family emergency or whatever and don't look at my investments for months, I will still be ok with the AA, and can live with what happens while I'm not paying attention.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest" - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by ClaycordJCA » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:54 am

At the end of every month when I record our net worth and when I make my monthly 401k and taxable investment purchases. I also see the balances when I update Quicken, but don’t pay much attention then.

SrGrumpy
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by SrGrumpy » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:39 am

Only after a couple of "up" days.

SandysDad
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by SandysDad » Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:37 am

BalancedJCB19 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:53 am
I am trying not to look at my balance until the year I decide to retire.

My question is how often do you look at your balances and does it serve a purpose?

Do what works for you but you really have to look at least once per year to see if you are on track and are following your investing policy statement if you have one.
If you don’t look once per year how will you know you can retire at 62?

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by ChowYunPhat » Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:54 am

Once every couple of days. Using Personal Capital or YNAB helps with monitoring to make this an easier chore. There are many reasons we look, but primarily for budgeting, fraud prevention, and frankly for the sheer fascination of it all. We've been through a couple of downturns and DCA so the behavioral impacts are negligible.
Dandy wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:13 pm
There are times when more frequent access might be needed e.g. when brokerage CDs or individual products mature, setting up and checking on RMDs, rebalancing, Checking on distributions to determine estimated taxes, etc.
What Dandy said. TLH, Roth transfers, tax planning, and so forth. At every stage of your life, efficient investing requires paying attention and understanding when opportunities arise.
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by khh » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:05 am

I check all my accounts daily just to be sure no mischief has taken place.

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by abuss368 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:20 pm

birdy wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:32 pm
I picked my mutual funds with the help of this site way back when. I bought funds I believe in and have not felt the need to change since. I used to check my balances to update my spread sheets on my net worth every 4-6 months. When we had that big loss in 2007/2008, I went about 1 year before I checked them knowing that I had plenty of time to recover any losses there might be. Now that I am retired, I check them every 6-8 months. What makes you sleep sounder is what you should do.

birdy
I have always believed in the “sleep test” since I first heard Warren Buffett mention it.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by goodenyou » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:51 pm

Based on my AA, if I know what happened in the market on any given day, I can very closely approximate how much it went up or down. It is a testament to the simplicity of my portfolio.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.

anon_investor
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by anon_investor » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:57 pm

I am forced to look at my 401k twice a month on payday, because I have to manual convert to roth my after-tax contributions for the mega backdoor roth 401k... totally worth it :beer

I would probably check less if I had that fancy auto roth conversion feature that Fidelity managed 401k plans apparently have!

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Bluce
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Bluce » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:21 pm

BalancedJCB19 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:53 am
In an all-out effort to ignore the market noise and Stay the Course, I decided to take Jack Bogle's advice and not look at my account balances. I was pretty much looking at it daily which served no purpose except to get me excited when my balance was up and upset when my balance was down.

I'm 55 and my plan is to retire at 62. I am trying not to look at my balance until the year I decide to retire.

My question is how often do you look at your balances and does it serve a punrpose?

I do understand that some people feel they should monitor their accounts do to errors and fraud, but for the purpose of this discussion I would rather hear the psychological aspect of this decision. Thanks!
I check my balance nearly every day but I never act on it, it's just a curiosity.

During the 2008 bear I didn't sell anything, and kept up my auto investments going every month although it all went into cash. I never checked my balance and didn't open any statements for probably at least six months. As I found out later, my balance went down by about double my house's value, lol. OUCH!

Knowing that after the fact was one thing, but I didn't want to see it happen in real time.

jcar
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by jcar » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:01 pm

Every 90 days.

Tortoisesque
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Tortoisesque » Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:31 pm

Every two weeks, to update my tracking spreadsheet. But that's mainly to track my taxable accounts every pay period. I could probably ignore my IRAs and 401(k)s for long periods of time, but I update them in the spreadsheet too just for completeness and to satisfy my curiosity.

BigMoneyNoWhammies
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by BigMoneyNoWhammies » Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:41 pm

BalancedJCB19 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:53 am
In an all-out effort to ignore the market noise and Stay the Course, I decided to take Jack Bogle's advice and not look at my account balances. I was pretty much looking at it daily which served no purpose except to get me excited when my balance was up and upset when my balance was down.

I'm 55 and my plan is to retire at 62. I am trying not to look at my balance until the year I decide to retire.

My question is how often do you look at your balances and does it serve a purpose?

I do understand that some people feel they should monitor their accounts do to errors and fraud, but for the purpose of this discussion I would rather hear the psychological aspect of this decision. Thanks!
I check my balances after every IRA contribution has cleared, and after every pay period when my TSP funds are deposited. Both are to ensure there is nothing amiss with the contributions.

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by dcabler » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:00 pm

Probably once a week on Saturday mornings. I'm an early riser and this is part of my "me time" before everybody else gets up when I update all of my spreadsheets, take a pulse of where I am and determine (automatically) if I'm up for a rebalance. Not just IRAs and 401K, but across all of my accounts...

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BalancedJCB19
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by BalancedJCB19 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:35 pm

Thanks for all the replies.

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by mariezzz » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:28 pm

BalancedJCB19 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:53 am
In an all-out effort to ignore the market noise and Stay the Course, I decided to take Jack Bogle's advice and not look at my account balances. I was pretty much looking at it daily which served no purpose except to get me excited when my balance was up and upset when my balance was down.

I'm 55 and my plan is to retire at 62. I am trying not to look at my balance until the year I decide to retire.

My question is how often do you look at your balances and does it serve a purpose?

I do understand that some people feel they should monitor their accounts do to errors and fraud, but for the purpose of this discussion I would rather hear the psychological aspect of this decision. Thanks!
There are lots of threads on BH dealing with this kind of question. What is correct for you depends on how you are likely to behave. If you're likely to do something rash and dumb like sell when the market drops 15%, then perhaps don't look (but a better approach would be to educate oneself more about market fluctuations over time, with the aim of reducing the likelihood of this scenario). If you aren't likely to do something rash, and feel a need to keep tabs on your balance, then look - frequency is up to you but probably at least annually or quarterly.

I wouldn't advise anyone to go 7 years without reviewing balances, especially if you were planning to retire at the end of the 7 years. Fraud can occur, although if you have set the account up to get notices when certain events happen in your account, that reduces the likelihood. I think sometimes, people take Bogle's statements out of the context of all that he said, or too literally.
Last edited by mariezzz on Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by abuss368 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:30 pm

goodenyou wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:51 pm
Based on my AA, if I know what happened in the market on any given day, I can very closely approximate how much it went up or down. It is a testament to the simplicity of my portfolio.
That is a nice place to be at financially. Simplicity is the master key to financial success - Jack Bogle.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Bluce
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Bluce » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:08 pm

abuss368 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:30 pm
goodenyou wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:51 pm
Based on my AA, if I know what happened in the market on any given day, I can very closely approximate how much it went up or down. It is a testament to the simplicity of my portfolio.
That is a nice place to be at financially. Simplicity is the master key to financial success - Jack Bogle.
If one owns a few various stock funds that cover the market (or close to it), your PF balance will follow the market more closely than one might think.

If one has a 75/25 AA, with the above equity funds and some boiler-plate bond funds or cash, your PF balance will follow the market at that percentage (75%) very closely -- assuming there isn't a major disruption in the bond market.

On the occasion that I have tried this, it's even surprisingly accurate on daily moves, although the longer you go out the accuracy probably gets even better.

I found this out quite by accident 10 or so years ago.

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