Author Topic: Looking at portfolio value too often  (Read 2286 times)

diffusate

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Looking at portfolio value too often
« on: July 02, 2018, 12:55:40 PM »
Lately, our invested assets have been hovering almost exactly at $1 million. As of today, $1,002,000 or so. I'm usually pretty good at not tracking daily (or weekly or monthly) market swings, but I sort of gave myself permission to pay attention with this huge milestone. I'm putting way to much emotional energy (pretty much any is too much) into whether or not we stay above the big M.

Just wanted to see if anyone has had a similar experience, or has tips of moving past this.

RedmondStash

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 12:58:33 PM »
Congrats on the milestone.

I check more often than I think is healthy. My best tip to stop doing that is to develop a new and different obsession. :)

You can also put yourself on a schedule: You can't check until 5:00 p.m., or until Saturday.

But I think that over time, the urge to check really often subsides a bit on its own. It's okay to indulge it unless it's really interfering with your life or giving you insomnia or something.

FIRE@50

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 01:03:33 PM »
I've been interesting in the stock market since I was a child, so continuing to watch the market well into adulthood doesn't feel out of place to me. I don't look much when I'm on vacation though. Only if it is convenient I guess.

I wouldn't consider it a problem unless it temps you to change your investment strategy or something like that. If you can't handle looking without wanting to buy/sell, then I would try to limit my exposure.

honeybbq

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 01:09:13 PM »
I just update all our spreadsheets (and check balances) once a month, on the first of the month.
Doing it regularly allows me to not worry about ups and downs that much and just see the overall progression.
As yourself, what do you get out of checking it (and worrying) more often than in necessary?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 01:13:27 PM »
I check every day. I used to do it out of worry and concern, but after months turned into years, I started adjusting to the small ups and downs (and the crazy roller coaster ups and downs) and overall, I am now desensitized to worrying over what happens to my portfolio. I usually just don't bother looking at all if it drops down anymore. Why bother? It either will continue and eventually I'll hit my time to check for rebalancing or it will recover.

If you can't step back and rationalize that losses will happen, you will eventually see heart-wrenching drops at some point, but that is okay and it is not something to get crazy over, then you do need to take a break from checking on it. Put a self imposed block on checking your portfolio if the market drops by X percent, or you are only allowed to look every month or quarter. Just leave it alone. Your eyeballs on the $ isn't going to help fix the market and panic should not be part of your investment strategy. The market will fix itself eventually all on its own, so adding stress or worry to your day or week isn't a great choice.

As long as you're following your asset allocation, investing smart (not gambling, likely using index funds) then you can stop paying attention for the whole year even. Just set up a reminder to go check for rebalancing at some point.

diffusate

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 01:22:19 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts everyone, very helpful. I think part of what's happening is that at this point the twists and turns of the market have a way bigger impact than earnings/savings. I used to check balances and feel good because I knew I was investing in the future, and I could really see my progress. Made me feel good about where I was and where I was going.

I'm still looking at the numbers looking for that validation/feeling of control, but all I see is the randomness of the market. I think I have to shift my mindset. And probably do what some of you suggest and just quit looking other than monthly or so.

BTDretire

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2018, 01:46:18 PM »
I recently had a thread stating I generally do a net worth statement roughly every 3 months.
But because of the downturn in the market I skipped the Mar/April count and just did it this weekend
at the 6 month mark. It was pointed out to me that the S&P was up over 4%, so I checked my VTSAX
and it was up 5.2% over the last 5 months, but it was down 2% over the last 3 months.
  All that said, I do look at the value of my Vanguard and TD Ameritrade accounts 2 or 3 times a week, but don't
add up any numbers. I check more often when the market is making big gains.
 The good news, I was up $37,000 over the last 6 months, the bad news, I had to write checks for my daughter's
tuition and tools for dental school. They totaled $37,869.
 My net worth has peaked, I hope in 5 or 6 years I can get back up to the same number again.


merlin7676

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2018, 09:27:09 AM »
I used to do it everyday but then tapered down to about once a week. And I update my spreadsheets and graphs completely every two weeks on payday.
Probably too much but it's "fun" for me. I find it interesting and it's more a hobby than a chore.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2018, 09:59:21 AM »

I watch the stock market every day, but I don't check my portfolio numbers every day, but at least weekly, particularly during good days with the market.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2018, 10:15:34 AM »
We check all the accounts monthly. It's too much stress to check daily, especially with the economy as it is right now.

FIRE@50

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2018, 10:22:58 AM »
We check all the accounts monthly. It's too much stress to check daily, especially with the economy as it is right now.
It is stressful for you to check your investment accounts when the economy is great?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2018, 10:30:12 AM »
We check all the accounts monthly. It's too much stress to check daily, especially with the economy as it is right now.
It is stressful for you to check your investment accounts when the economy is great?

The economy really hasn't been great... It is all over the place with all the announcements of tariffs and what not.  Our accounts aren't exactly growing right now.

dude

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 10:34:27 AM »
I check it pretty much every day, but dispassionately. I don't care if it's gone up or down, or by how much.  It's not going to change how I invest. I stayed the course in 2000 and 2008, and I'll stay the course when the next big crash comes, which is a near certainty.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 11:06:22 AM by dude »

Hargrove

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 01:19:01 PM »
I check often. Sometimes every day, sometimes a week can go by. I crave feedback on how the battle goes.

I go "all right!" at the good ones, "oh man!" at the bad ones, and then I do something else. If work was particularly annoying, I might update the spreadsheet and look at it Really Seriouslyô for a few minutes. That's about it.

I don't think looking at the portfolio value is a problem unless you do something outside your investing plan BECAUSE you're looking at it. Or if you're trying to Jedi mind trick it; that's also probably a bad sign.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2018, 01:35:05 PM »
My index funds are shown in my primary bank. I visit the website about twice a week to mark the transactions with spending category. Then I also take a look at my portfolio.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2018, 08:56:42 PM »

Well, it's a good day like today that makes me want to add up my accounts to check my stash levels.  I'm within 0.5% of my record high.

texxan1

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2018, 09:37:08 PM »
I check mine all the time, but have a different approach to it.

I like seeing 30 to 40k dollar swings daily... Helps me be used to it so when I do FIRE I don't freak out on the market swings

better late

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2018, 09:58:10 PM »
I hardly ever check our balances...maybe once a quarter. Something like that. But right at the moment we were hovering around 1M I looked all the time. Pretty much daily. It's a big milestone...and there's a comfort in that milestone number but you know it's a hollow comfort as it could be out of reach the next day.  it's mentally hard to create meaning from that.

the_fixer

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2018, 07:43:34 AM »
We check all the accounts monthly. It's too much stress to check daily, especially with the economy as it is right now.
Guessing you are a newer investor that has yet to experience bad swings and is used to seeing it always make big gains?

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Retire-Canada

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2018, 08:09:40 AM »
Lately, our invested assets have been hovering almost exactly at $1 million. As of today, $1,002,000 or so. I'm usually pretty good at not tracking daily (or weekly or monthly) market swings, but I sort of gave myself permission to pay attention with this huge milestone. I'm putting way to much emotional energy (pretty much any is too much) into whether or not we stay above the big M.

Just wanted to see if anyone has had a similar experience, or has tips of moving past this.

I tend to look daily when I am nearing a milestone like $X00K and will definitely look a lot nearing $1M. I don't feel like there is anything wrong with that. I put a lot of energy into my saving/investment plan so being excited about progress is normal to me. Usually once I hit a milestone I stop looking frequently because there is nothing to gain and the next milestone is $100K away.

When I know markets are tanking I stay away from my investment account unless I am adding funds. Nothing good happens watching your portfolio drop.

If this feeling around $1M is a temporary thing for a week or two I wouldn't worry about it. You are human. You just achieved something huge. You are going to react. Give yourself a break. OTOH if 2 months from now you are checking 5 times a day and freaking out if it drops to $999K for a day than you need to make a change.

Indexer

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2018, 08:20:34 AM »
Just tell yourself it will grow over time, but the trade off is that it will go down a lot in the next year.


It probably won't go down a lot in the next year, but if you are mentally okay with the fact that it might then it won't be a surprise when it eventually does. ;-)

I'm a red panda

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2018, 09:30:13 AM »
We check all the accounts monthly. It's too much stress to check daily, especially with the economy as it is right now.
Guessing you are a newer investor that has yet to experience bad swings and is used to seeing it always make big gains?

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Wrong. Held the course in 2008. Been in the market since 2000.

Doesn't change that it isn't growing right now and my only gains are money I'm putting in.

We, of course, lose a lot more with any drop because we have a lot more.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2018, 09:39:00 AM »
Doesn't change that it isn't growing right now and my only gains are money I'm putting in.

Yes, but that means you are putting money at a lower cost/share than if it was going up a lot this year.

Hargrove

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2018, 09:53:34 AM »
Nobody lost anything in Mustachian broad-market index-fund investing until they agreed to.

Stocks are trading cards representing some part of production. Prices change a lot, but if you don't actually turn in your trading cards for current prices, you lost nothing. Your portfolio is not the money you have, it's a by-the-millisecond report of what the market thinks about your trading cards.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2018, 10:12:25 AM »
Nobody lost anything in Mustachian broad-market index-fund investing until they agreed to.

Stocks are trading cards representing some part of production. Prices change a lot, but if you don't actually turn in your trading cards for current prices, you lost nothing. Your portfolio is not the money you have, it's a by-the-millisecond report of what the market thinks about your trading cards.

Stocks are equity, not money.  You definitely can lose "equity" in your portfolio at any point during your investment timeline.

the_fixer

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2018, 01:38:47 PM »
We check all the accounts monthly. It's too much stress to check daily, especially with the economy as it is right now.
Guessing you are a newer investor that has yet to experience bad swings and is used to seeing it always make big gains?

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Wrong. Held the course in 2008. Been in the market since 2000.

Doesn't change that it isn't growing right now and my only gains are money I'm putting in.

We, of course, lose a lot more with any drop because we have a lot more.
I started putting money in 1999 so we have seen the same market and that included some really bad times I guess we just have different expectations.

Mine has gone up 2.9% YTD and 11.9% over the last year

There are good years and bad years and they all go into making up the average.

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Huffduf41

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2018, 06:14:52 PM »
I look and record in my spreadsheet every workday.  I find the shape of the data and the regression line fascinating.  The bad days donít change my mood, I just check to see if I have any money to invest in a taxable account.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2018, 06:00:18 AM »
Since the latest political comments, by Asia index fund has really lowered, while my world wide index is still well in the positive range. I have not money left on my account to buy Asian stocks for. Therefore I changed some of the world wide index into the asian index.

So yes, I buy stock the whole time, once or twice a month. But I still try to plan the purchase a little bit. I often try to buy the stock that have a little dip.

chasesfish

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2018, 06:22:00 AM »
I've always checked my accounts more than weekly, then updated my net worth spreadsheet at least once a month.  I've found it incredibly useful to log where my month-end net worth was.  Over time, I can reflect on the balances, balance changes, and say "okay, that downswing wasn't that bad".

To each their own.

boarder42

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2018, 06:26:48 AM »
i check the market daily - if the market's going up i check it multiple times a day b/c i like to look at it ... if the market is going down i may look 1-2x a day - i check my assets daily when the market is going up on PC... when the market is going down maybe a couple times a week. b/c its not as much fun - doesnt really effect me emotionally or otherwise i just started trading stocks when i was 10 indexing takes 0 emotional toll on me compared to what i was doing when i was watching individual stocks.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2018, 06:49:56 AM »
I look and record in my spreadsheet every workday.  I find the shape of the data and the regression line fascinating.  The bad days donít change my mood, I just check to see if I have any money to invest in a taxable account.

This is what I do.  I have a detailed spreadsheet with graphs and projections that I built in January of 2017 to track balances.  I use five categories (cash/credit cards/long-term debt/investments/assets) that I get from Mint to track everything every day.  Iíve been doing it long enough that itís more of a lab exercise than anything at this point. 

If I was relying on the money to pay the bills, I might feel differently.  We just crossed 1M in net worth today so thatís a cause for a short, quiet celebration.  Now back to work!!

begood

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2018, 08:00:31 AM »
Thanks for the thoughts everyone, very helpful. I think part of what's happening is that at this point the twists and turns of the market have a way bigger impact than earnings/savings. I used to check balances and feel good because I knew I was investing in the future, and I could really see my progress. Made me feel good about where I was and where I was going.

I'm still looking at the numbers looking for that validation/feeling of control, but all I see is the randomness of the market. I think I have to shift my mindset. And probably do what some of you suggest and just quit looking other than monthly or so.

This is me! The daily ups and downs were hard on me because I had so little control over them. On the advice of someone here on the forums, I shifted my actions, and that helped my mindset. Since 2015, I check "everyday" money - checking, savings, CD total, and my husband's 403 (b) - on the 15th of every month. I track it in Excel, very old-school. Then once a quarter - March 15, June 15, Sep 15, and Dec 15, I look at our investments - my husband's rollover IRA and our taxable account. I also do a Dec 31 "final snapshot" for the end of the year.

We have never sold in a down market. HOLD ON TIGHT is our motto. So the panic/anxiety feelings never led to action, which is good, but also really underscores how useless those feelings are.

Raymond Reddington

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2018, 12:12:19 PM »
I have a spreadsheet that tracks how much passive income my investment generate each year, and what percentage of my portfolio this yield is. As long as the passive income number keeps going up, I am getting (slowly) closer to my goals.

While I do check the balance frequently just to see, I don't act on that information typically. When things go down, it provides an opportunity to dollar cost average, and the key is just to stay the course.

Threshkin

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Re: Looking at portfolio value too often
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2018, 11:07:07 AM »
I check my portfolio performance daily and review my transactions every few days.  The latter is a good way to spot credit fraud or billing errors.  The former keeps me informed of broader trends in the market.

But the important thing is that I don't worry or react to ups or downs in my portfolio.  I make changes to my portfolio very slowly, roughly every 1 to 2 years.

I like to say, stocks go up, stocks go down but over time they always go up.

This approach works for me because I keep a fairly large buffer of low risk money so we can ride out larger downturns.