I logged into my wife’s 401(k) account this morning to find this:
The definition of personal rate of return (I put together a tutorial here) on Fidelity’s website is:
Your Personal Rate of Return is calculated with a time-weighted formula, widely used by financial analysts to calculate investment earnings. The calculated value reflects the result of your investment selections as well as any activity in the plan accounts shown. Other personal rate of return formulas may yield different results. Remember, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
That explains why our personal rate of return looks so good. For one, we increased our contribution amount AFTER the carnage of January and February. Two, the company’s profit-sharing contribution was also deposited in March, missing the bad months of January and February. In other words, our number could look much worse.
Invest regularly and forget about it! Have your allocation plan set up and STICK TO IT! Don’t worry about the news. If your 401(k) balance is going to bug you, DON’T LOOK AT IT! The worst thing you can do is allow your emotions to take control. Decisions made on emotion almost never work out.
Okay, that’s it. Carry on…