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  • It's OK To Look... Right?

    Sorry/Not Sorry for the Clickbait Title

    Tangler's Long View post got me thinking. I feel like the prevailing practice among index investors on this forum is to come up with their financial plan and automate as much as possible, rarely (annually/quarterly/monthly?) checking how their portfolio is doing. Some voice concern about reacting to the market and deviating from the plan. Others simply say that the fluctuations are irrelevant to their long game.

    I'm probably 15-20 years out from retiring. I notice that I check and trend my finances/portfolio daily, updating my Personal Capital account. I've thought about cutting back to weekly, but I find I enjoy the level of detail, empowered by information regardless of not acting on it. I like the noise. I find it reinforcing to have days when my portfolio drops 2-3% and remind myself that markets don't just go up, that it's part of the process, and that I'm conditioning myself for potentially larger drops in the future.

    I was wondering if anyone else checks on things daily? Anyone think it's actually contrary to good index investing practices... or just atypical?

  • #2
    Most ( myself included) look more than is healthy.

    If you are not going to react to the noise it is likely easier to ignore it if you don’t look at it.

    If you are not going to change anything and you are 15 + years out from retirement then looking at short term is like ordering medical tests that won’t change your treatment.

    Hard to ignore totally.

    I am trying to look weekly only but one could argue for less than that.

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    • #3
      I probably look daily, except when the market is having a bad snap and then I force myself to stay away.

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      • #4
        I update the spreadsheet monthly, and that’s the only peek I take. And I feel like that’s a lot.

        Daily is definitely a lot—and to answer your question, I do think it’s contrary to good index investing practices (as you call them).

        So many more chances to do something that (you think) you know better than to do.

        Certainly doesn’t seem very passive.

        Regarding the reminder that markets don’t just go up—checking monthly, quarterly, or even yearly will absolutely teach you that same lesson if you wait long enough.

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        • #5
          I stop looking when the market is down.

          I rationalize in my mind that over time, 2 out of 3 days the market will go up, and 1 of 3 days down. And all of those up and down days will be random, and at times black swan events will cause long runs of down days.

          In my younger days, I would rationalize by looking at the long time horizon to retirement, and I would further rationalize by telling myself that I was buying the market “on sale”.

          These days, I am better at stomaching the ups and downs because beyond stocks, I also have bonds, cash, and cash flowing rental real estate. I no longer have many years until retirement. I might retire tomorrow, or maybe in another decade. Who knows?

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          • #6
            I admit to looking around the COVID market bottom in Feb/Mar 2020: at that previous high, I was up 60%. At the low, I was up 0.7%. Looking didn’t make me sell, but it seemed to validate my investment selections and buying on the ride down…

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            • #7
              Yep. Ok to look but not touch

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              • #8
                I have an app on my phone. I put all the major indexes Plus a couple of key stocks that I like to follow even though I don't own them. Some days I click into it multiple times. Usually these are days that are quite turbulent. Sometimes I go days without checking because I'm busy in real life.

                I could stop if I wanted to!

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                • #9
                  I also think there is a distinction to be made between checking on “the market” in general and checking specifically on the current value(s) of holdings within an account.

                  The former, sure—happens incidentally every time I swipe right on the phone to look at the weather. No problem.

                  The latter, not necessary. Only when I’m contributing or doing the formal monthly tally.

                  And that’s almost always the same day.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Larry Ragman View Post
                    I probably look daily, except when the market is having a bad snap and then I force myself to stay away.
                    Behaviorally, I have always checked the market very frequently. Multiple times per day.
                    In good times, I love playing with the account balance. I actually keep a spreadsheet with All time highs. I have no idea what day or time it was.
                    Monthly back to 2003.
                    During drops, I do not pull up the account. I force myself not to look at the balance. I do have a pretty good idea (ironic to call it good) when I see the indexes on my phone or TV. I have a market addiction and refuse to look at the damage in summary or detail of my account. I would find it depressing to track lows for a month. Typically I go back to updates when I think we are getting close to new highs.
                    Spending $100k is a different feeling than $100k drop in a day. I have been losing more than spending! I actually don’t know how much.
                    Short version, I avoid the feeling intentionally.
                    Last edited by Tim; 03-20-2022, 01:36 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Daily

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                      • #12
                        The last 2 years I occasionally check my house on Zillow. Does that count? No actionable info.

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                        • #13
                          I don’t see any good coming from daily checking. If this is your “tic” then I suppose we’ve all got something but, otherwise, what’s the benefit? It’s on online gambling mentality. Would be far more comfortable with checking your house value daily than your portfolio, too easy to make significant buys and sells with only a few keystrokes.

                          For the few regulars posting here who can control their emotions, probably harmless waste of time. For the x1000 lurkers reading this who don’t have the discipline or understanding, financially risky. Just reviewed a return for doctor, new client, lost 6 figures day trading last year and can’t afford to fund solo-k for 2021. Makes me sick.
                          Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bovie View Post
                            Regarding the reminder that markets don’t just go up—checking monthly, quarterly, or even yearly will absolutely teach you that same lesson if you wait long enough.
                            Yeah, but time dilutes the lesson. Of the 252 days of trading that occurred in 2021, the S&P 500 closed up less than 55% of the time, but by month it was 75% of the time, and for the year 100% of the time.

                            Originally posted by jfoxcpacfp View Post
                            I don’t see any good coming from daily checking. If this is your “tic” then I suppose we’ve all got something but, otherwise, what’s the benefit? It’s on online gambling mentality. Would be far more comfortable with checking your house value daily than your portfolio, too easy to make significant buys and sells with only a few keystrokes.

                            For the few regulars posting here who can control their emotions, probably harmless waste of time. For the x1000 lurkers reading this who don’t have the discipline or understanding, financially risky. Just reviewed a return for doctor, new client, lost 6 figures day trading last year and can’t afford to fund solo-k for 2021. Makes me sick.
                            I feel like a daily reminder that markets go down all the time actually makes me less apt to do something stupid... makes me feel acclimated to the swings. That, as opposed to overhearing people talk, making me curious or anxious enough to look, and seeing oh noes the markets are really down, the sky is falling.

                            Daily checking the market didn't cost the doctor six figures. Day trading did. But I agree, it probably boils down to individual temperament and discipline. I have my own reasons/justifications for daily checking, and yeah it's probably a tic... I was just curious if any others thought along similar lines.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Special Delivery View Post
                              Yeah, but time dilutes the lesson. Of the 252 days of trading that occurred in 2021, the S&P 500 closed up less than 55% of the time, but by month it was 75% of the time, and for the year 100% of the time.


                              I feel like a daily reminder that markets go down all the time actually makes me less apt to do something stupid... makes me feel acclimated to the swings. That, as opposed to overhearing people talk, making me curious or anxious enough to look, and seeing oh noes the markets are really down, the sky is falling.

                              Daily checking the market didn't cost the doctor six figures. Day trading did. But I agree, it probably boils down to individual temperament and discipline. I have my own reasons/justifications for daily checking, and yeah it's probably a tic... I was just curious if any others thought along similar lines.
                              Speaking from experience and an abundance of evidence on the internet, your POV represents the minority. I’m glad it works for you, but wouldn’t recommend you teach your family, friends, and colleagues that is how they should oversee their portfolios.
                              Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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