When first investing in a retirement plan, it can be hard to know where to begin. While you may feel like there’s a lot to manage, you might be surprised at how often you should actually be checking your account. The average investor usually doesn’t need to stress over the everyday changes in their portfolio. Anytime the markets are involved, you have to remember that they will naturally go up and down. You and I can’t control them, but even in volatility, it’s important to stick to your game plan. If it is a long-term plan (retirement accounts), it is important to stay invested so you don’t miss out on potential growth. Often, when people see the market tanking and the value of their portfolio falling, they follow their gut reaction, sell their investments, and go into cash. Conversely, when they see the market go up, they decide to buy when stock prices might be inflated. Neither of which tends to be the best decision.

For long-term investors, you shouldn’t add stress by checking your account too often or trying to time the market. Reviewing your account quarterly or semi-annually is plenty. However, no matter which accounts you have, you don’t just want to set it and forget it, and the closer you get to the date you want to use your funds (within 5-10 years of retirement, for example), the more often you should be checking – just to make sure your account is appropriately protected from the market ups and downs.

If you haven’t checked your account in the last three- to six months, now is a great time to review your investments to ensure you are comfortable with your investment strategy. 

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