Updated: Oct 24
I’ll admit it. I check my investment accounts too much. I know I'm not alone. There are a lot of people who like to stay well-informed on their finances, but there comes a point where checking too often can create more stress than necessary.
Here are some facts to illustrate my point:
Historically the S&P 500 is positive 53% of trading days and negative 47% if you measure by daily performance.
So if you checked your accounts every day you would be happy only about half of the time.
This can cause a lot of unneeded anxiety. Remember the time horizon you're investing for; is checking daily really necessary?
What if you checked them monthly?
Again looking at the S&P 500 any given month is positive 60% of the time and negative 40% of months.
So if you space out your logins you increase your chances of being pleased.
More importantly– you decrease your chance of a stressful login and making changes or decisions that work against your best interest.
Not a huge surprise here, but if you space out your logins even longer the chance of a positive return goes up.
What if you took it even further and only checked them annually?
73% of the time you’d have positive performance, and negative results 27% of the time.
Again, by checking less often we decrease the chance of being stressed about our savings.
My point here is not to ignore your accounts, but you can overdo it and be over-informed without any benefit. I'd recommend checking on a set schedule. This can reduce angst but also keep you informed.
So the next time you read a headline and go to login to your account, maybe pause and back off instead.