Don’t Compulsively Check Your Retirement Investments

July 31st, 2008  |  Published in General  |  1 Comment

I have a nasty habit of checking stuff all the time. Whether it’s the traffic stats on my blog or the performance of my retirement investments, I feel a compelling need to “check in” on things all the time. How often is all the time? I once checked how many times I checked stock prices while I was work and it was 14 times. Fourteen! Whenever I had a little break, I just typed in tickers into Google to check and I did it fourteen freaking times.

I didn’t need to check that often.

In fact, there’s a reason why financial markets have worked for so long without the internet. Remember when you could only get stock prices the next day in the morning paper? It’s because you only needed to know about stock prices once a day – the next morning over coffee.

There’s really no point to checking your retirement accounts everyday, especially if you’re like me and many years away from retirement. What happens today, tomorrow, or even anytime this year, should have no effect on my decisions if my retirement is twenty years away or thirty or forty. In 1987, the stock market lost 22% of its value in one day; but we’re still here and still humming along.

So, don’t check every day, just check it once and a while. I’ve trained myself to check my investment holdings only once a day, in the morning, and my retirement accounts once a month. I still check my traffic stats all the time though. 🙂

  

Responses

  1. cruisingoptimum says:

    August 5th, 2008 at 8:01 pm (#)

    I’ve been moving my retirement investments into a more aggressive posture as I get closer to retirement itself, because I’m already falling short of what I had expected to have accrued by now. At this point though, I’m beginning to think it’s not such a good idea. The InvestTalk radio guy (www.investtalk.com), who I respect, was pretty clear that this is not the thing to do. I’d thought it was. How do you weigh in? I appreciate your thoughts.