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How Often Should I Look at My Investment Balance?

How Often Should I Look at My Investment Balance?

January 30, 2023

In these volatile times, with the markets down about 18% over 2022, and large changes in investment prices hitting screens more often, it’s easy to worry about your investments. But how often should you check your account value?

This may not sound satisfying, but the CORRECT answer is about once a year. The more you check, the more anxiety you will have. PERIOD.

Here’s why. Based on S&P 500 values since 1973.

S&P 500 Values

If the idea of checking your account values annually sounds hard to you, you are not alone. A recent survey done by Nationwide Investment Services shows that many investors are anxious about their accounts.

In fact, the survey found that nearly half of those surveyed check account balances 3 times a week. In a down year like 2022 and with increased volatility, that much checking will not make you feel better.

Here Are Highlights From The Survey Findings:

  • Investors are “terrified”: 51% of investors who are not retired say they are “terrified” about their long-term and post-retirement financial futures.
  • Watching their money: 43% of investors are checking their retirement account balances three or more times a week.
  • Retirement put on hold: Just 2% of men and 1% of women plan to retire in the next five years.

Men and Women See Retirement Differently

  • 41% of women who are not retired feel confident in their financial plan despite market volatility, compared to just 11% of men who are not retired.
  • 45% of men are generally more nervous than women (38%) about their post-retirement future.
  • 19% of men and 37% of women believe entering a major downturn in the economy will significantly change their expectations for retirement.
  • 38% of women and 26% of men are rethinking when they can retire because of inflation.
  • 53% of women and 34% of men are checking their retirement account balances more than three times a week.
  • 35% of women and 26% of men are likely to take steps to adjust their retirement portfolios in the current market climate.

If you find yourself identifying with some of these survey respondents, it might help to talk with an experienced, well-trained CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. A fiduciary financial planner – that is a planner who is ALWAYS the client’s advocate, can offer perspective and advice to help you cope with these challenging markets. And as your advocate, you can count on them for advice that is in YOUR best interests.

If you would like to talk with me about how recent market conditions have affected your retirement plans, I would be HONORED to visit with you. Yes, I’m a CFP® professional. I’m always a fiduciary for my clients. I work on a fee basis and NOT sales commissions. Just follow this LINK to find a time for us to talk.

Until we have a chance to talk, here are a couple of ideas that might help:

  • Be sure you have a cash emergency fund. Probably about 6 months of daily bills. Keep it at the bank where it’s safe and easy to access.
  • Think about your spending needs over the next 3 years. If you know you have important goals that will require cash in the next 36 months, move that money into steady, interest-bearing instruments so it’s less impacted by market gyrations.
  • Any money you don’t need for the next three years should do just fine in a prudently allocated investment account. Most bad news in the markets washes out over three years.

ONE LAST THOUGHT

If you are still 5 years out from your target retirement date, consider the current market conditions a SALE. Many great investments are still 15% to 20% cheaper than they were a year ago. If you have a little time, you can take advantage by loading up on the sale-priced investments.

If this article has you thinking about your own circumstances, contact my office at rdunn@dunncreekadvisors.com. I am always happy to meet with people who are working on their retirement plans. Dunncreek Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice, nor is this article intended to do so.