Author Topic: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?  (Read 13354 times)

webguy

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How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« on: January 31, 2013, 10:09:53 AM »
I suppose it's a mindset and likely comes with experience, but right now I find myself checking the stock market several times a day to see how my stocks/funds are doing.  It might just be the excitement of only recently investing in the market but currently I feel like I spend far too much energy and time reading up on the market and continually checking up on how my investments are doing.  I suppose I should follow MMM's advice and just set up regular investments to a Vanguard fund and forget about it.

A bit of background on myself...  I'm 27 and have been an official Mustachian (Woop woop!) for about 6 months now, but have always been good at saving.  I moved to the USA from England about 3 and a half years ago and have worked hard to try to carve out a career for myself in web design/development (something I didn't go to school for).  My wife and I just bought a house 2 months ago with 20% down and maxed out our IRA's for 2012 and 2013 - we currently have about 13k in VTSAX, 6k in IBM and 2.5k in Coca Cola, and my wife has about 2.5k in her 403b (my work doesn't offer a retirement plan).  Anyway, I find myself constantly checking my investments and thinking 'I read there might be a correction in the market soon.. should I sell some of my index fund and keep it in cash and then reinvest after the correction?  Or I heard that this stock is a good pick for 2013.. should I sell some this stock and buy that one?'.  How do I correct that mindset?!?  I think part of the fascination with investments is that growing up in England I had zero exposure to it.  My parents were anti-risk but pro-savings, and so had all of their savings in savings accounts - specifically ISA accounts (which are tax-free high interest savings accounts used in the UK) - and pension funds.  I'd hear stories of people who lost money in the stock market and was always told to stay away from it as it was way too risky...

Now that I'm in the US and I want to save for retirement I had to open an IRA last year as my work doesn't offer a 401k.  I thought an IRA was just a high interest tax-free savings vehicle and so was surprised when I opened one up (through Scottrade) that I actually had to choose how I wanted to invest my IRA savings.  This was both confusing and scary as I had no prior experience in anything close to stock market investing.  This is what led me to research investing and eventually led me to MMM (thank goodness), who informed me that I could actually invest rationally in the market and make a decent return over the long term.

My goal that I set my wife and I is to save 250k over the next 5 years so that when we have kids at that time then we can create some flexibility in our work situations (maybe part-time or a full-time freelancer from home).  Any advice on how to not drive myself crazy checking the market 5 times a day?? (Guess what I'm going to go do now...?!!).

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 07:55:23 AM by webguy »

arebelspy

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tooqk4u22

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 01:05:10 PM »
Distract yourself by spending too much time on MMM forum :)

Kriegsspiel

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 04:41:40 PM »
When I was 6 months into Mustaching I checked my numbers all the time.  Now that I've graduated to about 10 months of Mustaching, I just don't really that much.  I invest using the Permanent Portfolio, so it's pretty boring anyways, no big ups or downs.

Jamesqf

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 11:27:25 AM »
The way you stop wasting time checking all the time is that you use an app that will display real time status, for instance a script like this (with conky): http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1017394 or this http://lifehacker.com/5241344/display-stock-quotes-on-the-desktop

I haven't done it myself, but it looks like it'd be fairly easy to add code to sum the net worth of your portfolio, establish trend lines/alerts  for particular stocks, etc.

RoseRelish

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 12:39:03 PM »
I don't think there's anything wrong with checking the market so often. As long as it doesn't make you change your strategy or keep you up at night. And as long as it doesn't affect your overall life.

webguy

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 06:29:46 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone.  @arebelspy, thanks for the link to that post, I'm surfed around these forums quite a bit so I'm not sure how I didn't come across that one.  Some good advice in there though so I appreciated you pointing me that way!

I'm sure my constant checking of the market will ease off once I have my allocation in place and can set up some automatic payments to fund them.  Then I can focus on other things.  I think it's just a lot to do with the fact that I'm still learning about all of this investing stuff and checking the market regularly actually helps me to learn.  I think it would be fun to set up auto payments and not check it for a whole year and then to see where I'm at!  Ok or maybe a month is more realistic...

Anyway, thanks again everyone!

projekt

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 10:06:56 PM »
If you have goals that depend on asset prices, then you can set price alerts with a number of services. For example, if you want to buy stock X at a calculated "low price", you can set an alert to tell you when X is below that price so you're not always checking the market. Then you can check your analysis again and invest. Similarly, if there is a price that you think a stock would be worth selling at, you can set a high price alert. This policy works best for Benjamin Graham type investing.

arebelspy

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 10:11:28 PM »
Or, if the above post interests you, just use limit orders to automate it.

Or just DCA and don't worry about trying to time things.
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projekt

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 10:22:47 PM »
Limit orders are a good way to automate a strategy based entirely around price but when you are doing long-term stuff, price isn't the only question. So you wouldn't want to have a GTC limit order hanging around and find out you're buying a dying dog that you thought was good a couple months ago.

DCA is one way to do it, but if you're going that way you never need to check the market at all. However, it's apparently hard for the OP to avoid checking the market. So, the alerts method is one way to assure yourself that you are within your parameters, assuming you have goals.

If you're just checking the market to see how much $$$ you have made, then you need a better system that takes into account dividends and everything.

strider3700

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 11:49:39 PM »
I have to admit I get up in the morning start the coffee, wake the kids up, let the dog out, check google finance, get everyone out the door and settle down to work an hour or so later.  Check google finance,   work work work or just work depending on my motivation level, noon pacific roles around  check google finance,   break for lunch, 1:30 roles around remember the markets are closd,  check google finance.     All this for .22% in the 11 days since my first stock purchases ever.     The first week was a minor loss every day so I was checking every 30 minutes.... I should just find a widget and embed it in my taskbar so I won't need to jump back to the browser.
 

arebelspy

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 06:17:49 AM »
I have to admit I get up in the morning start the coffee, wake the kids up, let the dog out, check google finance, get everyone out the door and settle down to work an hour or so later.  Check google finance,   work work work or just work depending on my motivation level, noon pacific roles around  check google finance,   break for lunch, 1:30 roles around remember the markets are closd,  check google finance.     All this for .22% in the 11 days since my first stock purchases ever.     The first week was a minor loss every day so I was checking every 30 minutes.... I should just find a widget and embed it in my taskbar so I won't need to jump back to the browser.

No, you shouldn't.  You need to wean yourself off that behavior.  It will only lead to stress and misery.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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smedleyb

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 06:31:30 AM »
I have to admit I get up in the morning start the coffee, wake the kids up, let the dog out, check google finance, get everyone out the door and settle down to work an hour or so later.  Check google finance,   work work work or just work depending on my motivation level, noon pacific roles around  check google finance,   break for lunch, 1:30 roles around remember the markets are closd,  check google finance.     All this for .22% in the 11 days since my first stock purchases ever.     The first week was a minor loss every day so I was checking every 30 minutes.... I should just find a widget and embed it in my taskbar so I won't need to jump back to the browser.

No, you shouldn't.  You need to wean yourself off that behavior.  It will only lead to stress and misery.

This.  Warren Buffett doesn't even have a computer or phone in his office.  If he's not checking the pulse of his multi-billion dollar portfolio minute by minute, I doubt you should either. 

GoStumpy

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 07:28:07 AM »
I have to admit I get up in the morning start the coffee, wake the kids up, let the dog out, check google finance,

I haven't even started the coffee, or let the dog out yet :(

LOL

mpbaker22

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 08:08:29 AM »
I think I do it mostly out of boredom.  Same reason I'm on here much of the day.  If I'm chained to a desk but don't have that much to do ...

arebelspy

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 08:34:59 AM »
I think I do it mostly out of boredom.  Same reason I'm on here much of the day.  If I'm chained to a desk but don't have that much to do ...

What can you do during those moments that will improve your life?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
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sheepstache

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 08:54:15 AM »
I thought an IRA was just a high interest tax-free savings vehicle and so was surprised when I opened one up (through Scottrade) that I actually had to choose how I wanted to invest my IRA savings.  This was both confusing and scary as I had no prior experience in anything close to stock market investing.

If it's any consolation, a lot of people think this.  Whenever I think I'm halfway towards convincing a friend to open an IRA, I go through the whole explanation of Roth vs. Traditional, tax advantages, circumstances under which you can access the money, etc. and they seem on board... and then I'm like, great, now you just have to decide what to invest in!  And that shuts the whole thing down.  Even if I'm just suggesting a single mutual fund like the Wellington or something (or even a money market account for some reason) to start, it's just information overload.  So good for you for persevering and following the thought through!

Richard3

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2013, 12:48:05 PM »
If you can't control your addiction, at least make it productive.

I don't use a google finance account so I have to go through the annoying security procedures to "just check my balance". That removes the temptation for constantly checking my stocks. Unfortunately it doesn't work for my short term spreadbetting positions like the 500 ounces of silver I "bought" today (hooray leverage).  I'll leave that window open, despite having a trailing stop set up (there is a reason though - I like to tighten my stop if the trade starts going my way).

If I open the brokerage website to look at stocks then I am either looking to invest cash I have on hand or I am checking to see if I should sell any of my existing positions (every share gets at least a monthly review just in case). The day to day value just doesn't matter.

ed

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2013, 09:05:13 AM »
Nothing wrong with checking your portofolio often - perhaps even as often as every year.  Looking at day-to-day variations is like trying to admire your wife through a microscope - full of colour and interest, but telling you nothing of the larger picture.  For a new investor, checking too often is normal, but dangerous.  You'll get nervous and worried when you don't need to be, or excessively happy with your success.  Read Kahneman's "Thinking, fast and slow", particularly the story about investment manager performance, and remember that over the short term, chance dominates returns - so perhaps I should had said "kaleidoscope" instead of microscope! 

I suggest a training/weaning program; begin by setting your calender to give you a daily "check shares" reminder; after a week of daily checks, cut back to once every two or three days.  In your third week, set your calender to allow you a *single* peek.  Keep doubling the periods like this until you reach the vicinity of a year.   Checking every few months for dividends that need to be re-invested is just good housekeeping and perfectly safe.

arebelspy

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2013, 09:09:58 AM »
Nothing wrong with checking your portofolio often - perhaps even as often as every year.  Looking at day-to-day variations is like trying to admire your wife through a microscope - full of colour and interest, but telling you nothing of the larger picture.

These first two sentences are brilliant, and I want to steal both.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

ed

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Re: How do I stop myself checking the stock market all the time?!?
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2013, 01:40:19 AM »
Too kind!