3 Moves to Make One Year After Opening Your Brokerage Account
- A brokerage account isn't something you should set and forget.
- It's important to track your account's performance, look out for fees, and maintain a wide range of investments.
Opened an account to invest in? Here's how to check up on it.
Any money you need on hand for near-term expenses or emergencies should sit in your savings account. While you may not earn much interest on that money (especially these days with rates so low), your money is also protected.
That's not necessarily the case when you invest in a brokerage account. Since brokerage accounts can lose money or see significant shifts in value over time, it's important to keep track of them. If it's been a year since you opened your brokerage account, here are three essential moves to make now.
1. See how your investments have done on a whole
Your goal in putting money into a brokerage account is to make money. And so it's important to assess how your investments are performing.
Right now, if you check your portfolio balance compared to a year ago, it may not be up. That's because the stock market spent much of early 2022 in correction territory (that refers to a period of time when the broad stock market loses 10% of its value or more). But that's not necessarily problematic.
If your investments are performing in line with the broad market, you may not need to make any changes to your holdings. But if your portfolio is down way more than the general stock market, it could be a sign it's time to shift some investments around or rethink your strategy.
2. Make sure your portfolio is nice and diverse
A diversified portfolio could help you minimize losses during periods of stock market volatility and maximize gains when the market is healthier. But it's possible for a portfolio to start out being diverse and become less so over time.
The reason? Investment values can change a lot in the course of a year. And it may be the case that the stocks you bought a year ago have gained or lost value to the point where you're now more heavily invested in one sector of the market and less evenly invested in others.
That's why it's important to do a diversification check a year after opening a brokerage account. If you see that, for example, you're now overly loaded on tech or energy stocks, you can make changes to your holdings for a more even mix.
3. Make sure you haven't been charged any surprise fees
Some brokerage accounts charge fees for things like inactivity or having too low a balance. Those fees are supposed to be disclosed upfront. But perhaps you missed some, or figured they wouldn't apply to you.
That's why it's a good idea to do a fee check once your brokerage account has been open for a year. If you see any unwanted fees, you can investigate -- and potentially look at moving your money to a new account.
A brokerage account is something you should keep regular tabs on. Make sure to check these items off your list if it's been a year since you opened your account and started investing in it.
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