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Question of the Day (Stolen from Vanguard’s Facebook Page)

By JLP | October 19, 2010

Today’s Question of the Day comes from Vanguard’s facebook page:

How often do you check your portfolio?

A. Monthly
B. Annually
C. Whenever the market drops
D. Never

My response:

E. Whenever I think about it but NEVER after a huge market drop. I went something like six months before. I figured there was no point. I wasn’t going to change anything so there was no reason to get upset over the balance. When I finally did get around to checking it, I was pleasantly surprised.

So, what’s your response?

Topics: Investing, Question of the Day | 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “Question of the Day (Stolen from Vanguard’s Facebook Page)”

  1. philip Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Used to check daily for about a year just for fun. Now I am closer to checking about once a month out of curiosity.

  2. Mr. GoTo Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I check daily. Watching how individual investments change in value in relation to changes in general market conditions and in relation to each other provides valuable information as to relative volatility, correlation, and suitability of your investment choices to your long term goals. As the saying goes, if you don’t measure/monitor it, you can’t manage it. Ignoring bad news does not make the news any better. Deciding to make changes or to not make changes without having all of the data in front of you – I don’t get that, even for a buy-and-hold investor.

  3. Beth Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Every 12-18 months, but I’m a VERY conservative investor, and I don’t worry too much about the short-term. I don’t typically ride the rollercoaster of high’s and low’s…my portfolio takes more of a stroll. Besides, I’d get too depressed looking at it go up, then down, then up…

  4. Matt Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 5:18 am

    I take a look at it probably about 3-5 times a week (Quicken). But I rebalance every 3-5 weeks.

    I just went back to school (left work) so I used to contribute to my portfolio monthly. I would decide where to contribute (to which fund) based on which allocation target was most out of whack. So if, at the end of the month, large cap was at 15% of total portfolio value and I wanted it at 17%, I’d add that month’s contribution to that fund. The monthly contributions were never quite that much, but over the period of year these very small, monthly tweeks keep my portfolio in balance without any big end of year sales. Each month I just contribute to the most out of what part (large, mid, small, foreign, cash, bond).

    Now that I don’t have an income, I just check it every 3-4 weeks and see what category is most out of whack high, sell that, to fund what’s most out of whack low. I never move more than 1% of the total portfolio’s balance so that over the period of a year I could rebalance about a ~15% imbalance.

    About twice a year I’ll revisit my allocation selection to decide if I’m still happy with what percentages I want to put in large, small, etc. Sometimes life-style changes that requires changes. For example, when I was working I was happier with less cash, but now that I’m at school and might need to tap that from time to time, it’s nicer to have a higher cash buffer.

    So much research suggest asset allocation is a more driving factor in returns than is stock/fund selection, I like striving towards a perfect allocation at all times, rather than a “perfect return” (which is exceeding disappointing until the last few months). However, overall I’m doing quite well (perhaps “fairly” is a better word) and most importantly I don’t sweat the every up and down because I’m always working towards the more perfect allocation.

  5. Stacey Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Because of my use of Microsoft Money, I see it daily, but do nothing. (However, “seeds” are always subliminally planted in my brain…)Husband’s 401K is diversified and his rollover IRA is in a T Rowe Target Fund. Can’t say I’ve ever rebalanced, except at the time of job changes when we relook at things. Often, I do go by “gut” and sell/buy stocks w/our “fun money” portfolio. Guess I’m not the numbers person you are JLP, but we’ve done ok. Could we have done better? Who knows!

  6. Dave Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Daily. I’m retired, and looking at my portfolio every day has become part of my routine. However, I make changes to my portfolio only about once or twice a year, often for rebalancing and sector rotation.

  7. Dan Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I check my portfolio every day. More accurately, a computer program I wrote downloads information from Yahoo every day and sends me an alert if my investments have moved outside their allowed range of portfolio percentage. For example, my nominal allocation to the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is 30% of total portfolio but is allowed to actually be anywhere between 27% and 33%. When this band is violated I sell the investment (or set of investments) which has moved in the opposite direction. The computer basically does everything except place the orders, as this is too sophisticated (and dangerous, if there were to be a bug in the program) for my rudimentary programming skills.

    By keeping the process highly algorithmic I endeavor to insulate my portfolio from my emotional responses to short term market fluctuations.

  8. BG Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    “…Whenever I think about it but NEVER after a huge market drop….”

    I’m the opposite — if there is a huge percentage change in a short amount of time then I’m gonna do a ‘manual’ rebalance.

    I was getting warning letters from Fidelity about ‘active trading’ in my 401k — LOL! My response was that I’m just rebalancing when the market swings 10% in a few days. I didn’t have to pay any penalties.

    If the market does something crazy (7th deviation range), you bet, I’m gonna take a real close look and probably make a move.

  9. Martin Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I average about once a month, but it’s not uncommon to go several months in a row without checking. Haven’t had to do much rebalancing. I usually just adjust future contributions.

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