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Ask a Fool: How Often Should I Check My Stocks?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® – Updated Nov 9, 2018 at 4:26PM

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There's no perfect answer, but here's some advice.

Q: I'm pretty new to investing and have built a portfolio of a dozen stocks. How often should I check my stock prices?

Unfortunately, there's no perfect answer to this question. Many people love watching the day-to-day movements of their stocks, while others find checking stock prices stressful (or even boring).

Having said that, here's my advice on the matter: Assuming that you're investing for the long term, there's no need to check your stocks more than once a month or so unless you enjoy doing so.

The most important thing is not how often you check your stocks. Instead, the important thing is how you react to the moves you're seeing. And checking stocks too often can lead to knee-jerk reactions.

Specifically, checking their portfolios too frequently tends to make new investors sell stocks for the wrong reasons. For example, if a certain stock jumps by 20%, it can seem like a good idea to sell and lock in the gains. Or, if a stock plunges by the same amount, it could seem smart to sell before things get any worse. As long as you believe in the companies you invest in for the long term, both of these are bad reasons to sell.

The bottom line is that if you aren't prone to making knee-jerk reactions when your stocks move, you can check them as often as you'd like.

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