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

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

Post by BalancedJCB19 » 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!

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

Post by catlady » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:57 am

Once a month to update my tracking spreadsheet. I end up seeing the Vanguard account twice a month when I login to buy shares each pay period.

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

Post by Info_Hound » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:46 am

I have accounts at Fidelity and get alerts from them daily. The evening alert tells me how my holdings did that day (% up or down), the next morning an alert tells me $$ balance in each account. Why do this you ask?

Initially I would get anxious on the down days and worry about out living my funds. Then I realized what the alerts were really doing. I knew the market has both up and down days. I just wanted to see more up days than down activity.

It dawned on me that my risk tolerance was reflected in how I felt about the daily alerts. The info allowed me to slowly move to a less risk tolerant AA and as a result the up and downs of the market did not dramatically affect my account balances thus reducing my anxiety.

I still get my daily notices and my response to them now is 'oh, the market did not do well today' and the next mornings' alert confirms *I* did not have a bad day.

Consider reviewing your risk tolerance in relation to your asset allocation.

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

Post by goingup » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:52 am

The most important thing is to do what works for you. If you know that you get excited or upset when viewing your portfolio balance, then look rarely. Many experts advise to "not peek" which I interpret to mean don't look very often. Looking annually would be prudent.

Some investing enthusiasts/hobbyists choose to look daily and say they are immune to the ups/downs of the market. There is a behavioral finance concept called Myopic Loss Aversion. The general idea is that the pain of loss is greater than the joy of gains. Because of this, the more often you look at your portfolio the more ups/downs you'll see. This can lead to holding a portfolio that is more conservative than warranted in order to thwart pain. It's a subconscious effect and I think it's 100% true.

I wouldn't be swayed by the responses which you may read here which advocate for frequent portfolio checks. The chance of something untoward occurring in your account is far less than the damage you can inflict yourself because of panic or euphoria, IMO. :happy

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

Post by MathWizard » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:59 am

I look once a week and update my retirement estimates.
I don't make moves based upon my looking at retirement accounts.

I also balance the checkbook once a week.
I just want to keep track of where I am at.

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

Post by John Z » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:04 pm

Every quarter.

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

Post by Tal- » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:06 pm

I check Mint daily.
I really look about once a month.
I only look with an eye open to adjustments once a year and haven't made changes since formalizing a plan 4-5 years ago.
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 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!
Nonsense! Of course you should look! Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances? They are and so should you.
Can you imagine, not looking then waking up on year 7 and find your retirement monies are not there? They aren't there because you failed to see that the risk levels exceeded your own tolerance and that of the market in general. If you had looked, you could have taken the appropriate action. Instead, Mr. Market made that decision for itself and now where is your portfolio?

I have many years to go hopefully, but I still look!
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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

Post by goodenyou » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:22 pm

I look not to change my strategy or lament loss or gloat over gains. I check to be sure there is no hacking or funny business. Having almost my entire net worth in 1s and 0s in digital format potentially accessible by the entire world that has access to the Internet is a bit unnerving.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.

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

Post by Big Dog » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:30 pm

before I retired last year, I was a Stay-the-Course kinda investor before I knew it was a thing; i.e., I never looked at my balances. (well, tbf, maybe once every 3-5 years...I was 100% total stock, so there was nothing to change)

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

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:32 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!
Once per quarter.

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

Post by Tamarind » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:32 pm

Daily to weekly, but I have never found myself tempted to alter my plan.

I started investing right before the financial crisis so market swings like we had in Q4 2018 feel like small potatoes. I check Personal Capital regularly to monitor cash flow, make sure my expected income or bills have arrived, and determine whether to move money out to savings. Since I have planned contributions to max all tax advantaged accounts, that's on autopilot. My focus is on seeing how quickly I can save enough cash to do a planned renovation.

Once a quarter or so I'll enter my retirement balances by fund into my tracking spreadsheet to see if I need to rebalance based on bands. My contributions still heavily outweigh the market as a contributor to change, so I haven't needed to yet.

Once a year I update my net worth tracker and look at overall growth rates from contributions and earnings, and progress towards financial independence.

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

Post by GAAP » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:05 pm

Once or twice a month to keep my accounting up to date and invest any dividends or distributions into whichever asset is farthest is below target allocation and/or to rebalance, schedule withdrawals, make RMDs, etc.

I think that looking and not "doing something" is a learned skill for most people -- as is learning to detach yourself from whatever the total happens to be at the time.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” ― Bruce Lee

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

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:12 pm

Once a month to update my tracking spreadsheet. Once a year I make any changes needed to keep asset allocation within the preferred bounds.

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

Post by JBTX » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:09 pm

Once per week with quicken. I see a total net worth number. I don't pay much attention to individual account balances. If there is a discrepancy in my register number of shares and online number of shares quicken will tell me that.

About twice per year I download pdf statements just to save but I dont actually look at them.

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

Post by rkhusky » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:30 pm

Twice a month and whenever I hear about big market gains or losses, to see if I want to rebalance.

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

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:43 pm

On my Microsoft Money which I have been using since 1998, I enter the fund's new daily price (no stocks anymore), then I see the latest portfolio balance.. (I also enter any credit card charges that day,)
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:50 pm

I check after month-end to track net worth and spending run rates. I also initiate any cash transfers needed to/from bank where I do bill-pay at month-end.

I check during the month if:
1. I don’t understand an account activity email alert
2. The market is down significantly if I think I can TLH
3. If I initiated some activity like a sell/buy/roth conversion/transfer between accounts that I want to verify posted correctly.

As time goes on, I check less and less as my portfolio holdings and asset allocation are where I want them and my financial processes are stream-lined and working well.

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

Post by bhusa » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:19 pm

If the market goes down, I don't look, sometimes for weeks. If the market goes up, usually once a day.

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

Post by Dandy » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:13 pm

Don't peek was a well meaning but very dumb idea. Yes there are people who will tend to make panic moves when the market plunges and sell all their equities and never invest in them again. It happens. Don't let that happen to you.

People need to check their balances on a reasonable time frame especially if they don't get statements during the year:
1. To make sure their contributions and any company match is made and made correctly.
2. To make sure that their assets haven't been stolen.
3. To reblance their portfolio to keep risk at or near the level they can tolerate.
4. To determine their current asset level and how that compares to the level they targeted for retirement.
You don't want to make your first peek shortly before you retire because you may not have the assets you need.
5. To adjust your allocation to meet significant life changes e.g. retirement, job loss, health issues, divorce, increased
earnings, etc.

I used to check my investments several times a week but it never drove me to make panic moves. I decided in later retirement to view my accounts on a monthly basis. It was more from a security basis. Now I go on, check things out, maybe printout my account and get off and on to other things.

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.

If you are prone to make panic moves then I suggest using Balanced, TD or Life Strategy type funds which tend to have more modest movements and/or have someone you trust review your investments for you. (not a paid adviser).

Someone needs to peek.

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

Post by fposte » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:28 pm

At least once a month on the workplace-related ones. I've had glitches with those so I want to make sure contributions are going when and where they're supposed to.

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

Post by jdb » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:30 pm

Once in mid December each year, both mine and my spouse IRA, which I “manage”. Lots better things to do with my time, just finished planting tomatoes for winter season. Good luck.

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

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:11 pm

I update Quicken probably 5 times a week. This is to 1) ensure there are no fraudulent charges to any accounts (credit, checking) and 2) properly categorize credit card transactions before I forget what I spent the $$ on. As a result, my investment accounts are updated and I look at the total of all accounts (it is right there on the homepage). Fluctuations don't bother me. Frankly, you'd have to not pick up a newspaper or watch news to not have an idea what is going on with the market. When I see the closing Dow/S&P numbers I can guess what my stuff did. If these fluctuations really bother you that much, you may need a better AA rather than sticking your head in the sand

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

Post by MotoTrojan » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:55 pm

Daily via an updating spreadsheet and twice a month to see my new 401K share counts to update after contributions. Would like to cut that down to bi-monthly and eventually quarterly.

rich126
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by rich126 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:14 am

Honestly it was pretty rare. I never tracked balances until about 6 years ago. And that was due to a job requirement to report year end assets. Now I’m within 4 years of retirement so I look at it more frequently so see where I’m at. I honestly don’t know why anyone who is decades from retirement would track things closely.

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

Post by MotoTrojan » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:26 am

rich126 wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:14 am
Honestly it was pretty rare. I never tracked balances until about 6 years ago. And that was due to a job requirement to report year end assets. Now I’m within 4 years of retirement so I look at it more frequently so see where I’m at. I honestly don’t know why anyone who is decades from retirement would track things closely.
Purely for the joy of the market. I particularly have been intrigued now that I have a large (relatively) side-portfolio which I’m tracking its XIRR against its benchmark (S&P500).

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

Post by mcblum » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:51 am

i have now been investing for thirty years. When starting out, i called my fund every evening to see what was happening. Because of my small portfolio, it would go up or down, maybe, a dollar.
When we got our first computer and internet hookup, it was easier. I still check everyday at about 6:30 pm. I don't like to see down days, but I know it happens. I keep a 50/50 balance and really have not had to re-balance very often.
Marty

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

Post by rascott » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:09 am

Daily to weekly when things are slow.... I've gone a few months when life is very busy.

I never have once felt the need to change a thing unless it's an actual strategic change of overall plan. And even that is rather minimal and has only happened a few times out of last 20 years.

h82goslw
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by h82goslw » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:14 am

bhusa wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:19 pm
If the market goes down, I don't look, sometimes for weeks. If the market goes up, usually once a day.
This is what I do.

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

Post by Garfieldthecat » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:28 am

Not retired yet, but only check twice a year.

I add up our various balances so I can record the total amount to track our growth, and make sure our AA's are still within range.

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

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:34 am

BalancedJCB19 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:53 am
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.
This is a bad idea. Since you asked for the psychological aspect of it only, not error or fraud monitoring, that delves outside of this forum. Asking for psychological advice would be medical advice, and that's not permitted.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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

Post by lazydavid » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:41 am

I update Personal Capital every day. I'm fascinated by the way it moves, and at least thus far haven't had any urge to do anything rash. Just a rather disconnected "huh, I lost $40k today" or something like that. When there's a string of big moves in either direction, I sometimes look to see if I've drifted far enough from my AA to require a rebalance, but that usually turns out not to be the case. I have no indication that I'll be likely to panic in an extended downturn, but of course won't know for sure until one actually occurs. If I do, I'll just stop looking.

Twice a month I record the balance of every account in a spreadsheet, and track YTD performance. But I only keep that data until the next quarter, then just keep quarterly records, with QoQ and YoY changes.

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

Post by meowcat » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:00 am

I check almost every time the market hits new highs. When the market is declining, I never check.
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:42 pm

I glance monthly to make sure everything is as expected, but can't tell you generally if it's up or down.

I update a spreadsheet of balances annually to check AA and overall progress to plan. If the market makes any major swings, I will check AA more frequently.

Conch55
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Conch55 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:48 pm

I check every Saturday morning and update my spreadsheets to determine if a rebalance is required. Most of the time I fill in the data with no changes. I log bank account balances then too. The spreadsheet updates coincide with my weekly computer backup so it's mostly a procedural thing.

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

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:06 pm

I look at it on the first of each month, in order to update our month-by-month net worth spreadsheet.
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 pm
you failed to see that the risk levels exceeded your own tolerance and that of the market in general.
Doesn't that imply there is a possibility of your investments getting riskier than you intended? I don't think that can happen (at least to me). My IRA is in a Target Retirement Fund, so it will inherently get less risky. My 401k is in 100% stocks, so it can't get any riskier. I don't see a way that I could come back later and say, "Oh, no, I ended up taking on more risk than I intended!"
Last edited by LiterallyIronic on Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by student » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:08 pm

Usually when I do a manual update of my accounts, which is at least once a month.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:22 pm

I don't so much have a balance in investment accounts, as I have a number of shares. Their values are updated each day the market is open.

I look weekly, and among other things check to see whether we agree on how many shares I have. I've caught a couple of errors, and sometimes I lose track of when a distribution is due, so having more shares reminds me to look it up and record it.

Of course in practical terms the important number is the total value, across all investment accounts because they're one portfolio, but I don't think of that as a balance like one would have in a savings account.

PJW

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

Post by Quercus Palustris » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:57 pm

I know that feel - when I first read Investor's Manifesto and discovered this site.

Now I only check quarterly, in order to update a NW spreadsheet and see if I hit a rebalance band (never happened, contributions > market swings, sigh). I do log in to one account 2x a month to buy an ETF because Schwab doesn't have any great REIT MFs for auto-invest :oops:

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

Post by JoeRetire » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:04 pm

BalancedJCB19 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:53 am
My question is how often do you look at your balances and does it serve a purpose?
I look at my balances every month or two. I update my spreadsheet that tracks all my assets, expenses, projections, etc.

The purpose it serves is mostly to reassure my wife and I that we remain on track with our financial plans. Plus I kinda enjoy seeing everything in one place.
Very Stable Genius

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

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:34 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 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!
Nonsense! Of course you should look! Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances? They are and so should you.
Can you imagine, not looking then waking up on year 7 and find your retirement monies are not there? They aren't there because you failed to see that the risk levels exceeded your own tolerance and that of the market in general. If you had looked, you could have taken the appropriate action. Instead, Mr. Market made that decision for itself and now where is your portfolio?

I have many years to go hopefully, but I still look!
I'm not sure I understand one part of the logic here:
"Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances? They are and so should you."

My State's pension fund regularly underperforms my State's balanced fund that's offered in the employees' 457(b) plan. The regional newspaper is too uneducated financially speaking to question their performance whenever they brag about the numbers they got, but I check over the same time period and find the pension fund would have done better if it had simply indexed instead. So I'm not sure why we're putting so much emphasis on how well the pension funds are doing (or whether their daily or moment to moment checking is adding any value. I don't believe it is). The proof is they're not doing as well as they should/could be, simply because they're not indexing but are paying exhorbitant fees to consultants and for active management that underperforms.

I do agree that if you don't know the value of your portfolio or how your allocations may have drifted, you may have a different level of risk than what you originally desired. That does make it worthwhile to understand how your portofolio has changed over time. Though it takes pretty big moves in the market generally to throw off your AA by a significant amount (where changes need be made): https://thefinancebuff.com/5-percent-re ... -band.html

To the OP, the question is what AA (asset allocation) do you have now versus what AA you want at age 62 and how do you plan to get from here to there (if a change is required in the next 7 years)? And are you continuing to contribute over the next 7 years? If so, how are you allocating these new monies? These could be some reasons to check periodically, but daily? If it hasn't added value to do so, then when would it (or what would it take for it to make daily checking worth it?)

I know your 401k/IRA might say "balance". My 457b plan does. However, when I click on "details" what I find is what I really own, which are shares. I don't have any money in my account (457b or IRA). My shares have a value which when you multiply by the current price per share tells you what all your shares are worth...if you were to sell them right now. Tomorrow your shares will have a different value (could be more or less) and your "balance" will be different than today, even though you may still have the same number of shares. This is one reason I think it's a little misleading to think of your account as if it has a balance of money in it, which it clearly doesn't. It has a value that you could cash in on if you sell your shares at today's price. If you sell at tomorrow's price (or the price 7 years from now) your 401k/IRA will have a different value. So, again, why care about the "balance" of your account (daily) when it will change daily over the next 7 years?

Finally, if you have an all in one fund like a target date retirement fund you don't need to check because the asset allocation is automatically rebalancing as necessary. The only reason to check then would be to see if/when you hit your "number".
Last edited by arcticpineapplecorp. on Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Pepper11
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Re: How often do you look at your IRA or 401K Balances

Post by Pepper11 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:40 pm

Look every day at 6 pm when vanguard updates. Good news more days than not. Why wouldn't you want to look and see you made more than your ordinary income.

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

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:45 pm

Pepper11 wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:40 pm
Look every day at 6 pm when vanguard updates. Good news more days than not. Why wouldn't you want to look and see you made more than your ordinary income.
because he's getting "upset when my balance was down".

The daily fluctuations I believe from what I heard on Tom Cock and Don MacDonald's show Talking Real Money:

up days 51% of the time
down days 49% of the time

So on any given day whether the market is up or down is a toss up.

Over 1 year periods the market has been up 2/3rds of the time and down 1/3rd of the time

And over longer periods 20+ the market has only been up (you wouldn't have lost money over a 20+ period of time).

So daily looking is not going to make one as happy as looking once a year or longer.
"May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live" -- Irish Blessing | "Invest we must" -- Jack Bogle

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

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:29 am

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:34 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 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!
Nonsense! Of course you should look! Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances? They are and so should you.
Can you imagine, not looking then waking up on year 7 and find your retirement monies are not there? They aren't there because you failed to see that the risk levels exceeded your own tolerance and that of the market in general. If you had looked, you could have taken the appropriate action. Instead, Mr. Market made that decision for itself and now where is your portfolio?

I have many years to go hopefully, but I still look!
I'm not sure I understand one part of the logic here:
"Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances? They are and so should you."

My State's pension fund regularly underperforms my State's balanced fund that's offered in the employees' 457(b) plan. The regional newspaper is too uneducated financially speaking to question their performance whenever they brag about the numbers they got, but I check over the same time period and find the pension fund would have done better if it had simply indexed instead. So I'm not sure why we're putting so much emphasis on how well the pension funds are doing (or whether their daily or moment to moment checking is adding any value. I don't believe it is). The proof is they're not doing as well as they should/could be, simply because they're not indexing but are paying exhorbitant fees to consultants and for active management that underperforms.
The State's pension plan under perform's likely because the allocation is vastly different than that of the balanced fund. It's not a plain-vanilla 60/40 fund, it probably holds private equity and hedge fund like investments. The state pension fund is looking at the balances because they are audited on a regular basis and also because they are held to a fiduciary standard with an quasi independent board (quasi because the representatives are likely appointed by the governor and treasurer of the state) that meets regularly to discuss performance, risk, assets under management, funding ratios, and consults with their ah hem "pension consultant" and actuaries.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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

Post by Nicolas » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:30 am

At the end of each quarter.

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

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:12 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:29 am
arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:34 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 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!
Nonsense! Of course you should look! Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances? They are and so should you.
Can you imagine, not looking then waking up on year 7 and find your retirement monies are not there? They aren't there because you failed to see that the risk levels exceeded your own tolerance and that of the market in general. If you had looked, you could have taken the appropriate action. Instead, Mr. Market made that decision for itself and now where is your portfolio?

I have many years to go hopefully, but I still look!
I'm not sure I understand one part of the logic here:
"Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances? They are and so should you."

My State's pension fund regularly underperforms my State's balanced fund that's offered in the employees' 457(b) plan. The regional newspaper is too uneducated financially speaking to question their performance whenever they brag about the numbers they got, but I check over the same time period and find the pension fund would have done better if it had simply indexed instead. So I'm not sure why we're putting so much emphasis on how well the pension funds are doing (or whether their daily or moment to moment checking is adding any value. I don't believe it is). The proof is they're not doing as well as they should/could be, simply because they're not indexing but are paying exhorbitant fees to consultants and for active management that underperforms.
The State's pension plan under perform's likely because the allocation is vastly different than that of the balanced fund. It's not a plain-vanilla 60/40 fund, it probably holds private equity and hedge fund like investments. The state pension fund is looking at the balances because they are audited on a regular basis and also because they are held to a fiduciary standard with an quasi independent board (quasi because the representatives are likely appointed by the governor and treasurer of the state) that meets regularly to discuss performance, risk, assets under management, funding ratios, and consults with their ah hem "pension consultant" and actuaries.
agreed, but I don't buy the premise that their checking adds value in and of itself. If it did, they wouldn't need to keep adjusting (downward) their futur return expectations as they've done (not because of high valuations, but because their performance doesn't match the actuaries' projected promises). That's all I'll say without weeding any further into political realms.
"May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live" -- Irish Blessing | "Invest we must" -- Jack Bogle

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

Post by Taylor Larimore » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:39 pm

BalancedJCB19 wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:53 am

My question is how often do you look at your balances and does it serve a purpose?
Balanced JCB19:

I check once a year when I receive my annual statement from Vanguard. I look for errors (never found any), rebalancing, and to have Vanguard take my RMD (Required Minimum Deduction) from my IRA.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success. The more complex the world around us becomes, the more simplicity we must seek in order to realize our financial goals.”
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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

Post by jebmke » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:45 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 pm
Nonsense! Of course you should look! Do you think pension funds and endowments are not looking at the balances?
Times have changed of course but for many years (~18) the bulk of our assets were in the pension and profit sharing plan at my wife's firm. They only reported valuations on December 31. We rolled it over to an IRA around 2005 so it could be that they have changed that practice to report more frequently.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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

Post by goodenyou » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:38 pm

I have aggregated all my accounts from Schwab, Fidelity, Retirement Accounts, Treasury Direct and others on Vanguard's Portfolio Watch tool. I transfer money from my Chase account into taxable every couple of weeks. When I login to Vanguard, I have no choice but to look at my IRAs and 401k balances. They are staring at me right in the eyes when I login. The outside investments must be manually updated, and if I want a snapshot of my current AA, I have to put in current balances since my wife and I are adding to our 401k accounts each month.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | Do you know how to make a rain dance work? Dance until it rains.

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

Post by Random Musings » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:59 pm

I look once a week to update my spreadsheet to see if rebalancing is needed. Also, for security purposes. If the markets are really moving in one direction, look a little more frequently for rebalancing opportunities.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ

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