How Much Time Should You Spend “Watching” Your Investments?

Or how much time should you have a professional do that for you?  In my view, I would say that it should take anywhere from nothing to maybe 30 minutes a year. Yes, that’s right.  I have been in the industry long enough to have realized that most of the activity involved in trying to enhance your investment return is probably, over the long run, just a waste of time and money.  This recent article in the Wall Street Journal speaks to this idea.

Obviously, many advisers would dismiss this approach.  They would say that you need to stay on top of the markets and opportunities so you can take advantage of the trends to enhance your wealth.  You need to get your money working harder. And most importantly, they would argue, you need their assistance to do this.  Blah, blah, blah.

I think the smartest strategy is to set-up a well diversified, low-cost portfolio of investments and leave it alone – for the most part.  You should only modify it if something in your life changes that requires rethinking your strategy.  This could include things like unemployment, divorce, inheritance, triplets, career change, upcoming retirement, etc…  Another reason for a change would be if you do not feel comfortable with the amount of risk in your portfolio.  Other than that, you are better off focusing on saving, controlling expenses, and planning.

And if you don’t spend any time watching your portfolio each year, that is fine with me!

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