Haven't Touched Your Brokerage Account in Years? Take These 3 Steps Now

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 22, 2021

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Here's what to do if your investments are way overdue for a check-in.

Opening a brokerage account and investing in it is a good way to grow wealth. But your brokerage account isn't something you should just set up and forget. A good idea is to check up on your investments three or four times a year at a minimum. So if you can't remember the last time you looked at your brokerage account, here are some essential moves to make.

1. Check on your gains and losses

Some of your investments may have performed well over the past few years, while others may have underperformed. If you're looking at your brokerage account for the first time in a long time, you'll want to go into each position and see how it's fared -- don't just look at your overall account balance to see if it's up or down. You may own a specific stock that's consistently lost value month over month, and that could be a good one to dump and replace with a stronger alternative.

2. Make sure your portfolio is diversified

If you own stocks and other investments, it's important to try to maintain some diversity within your portfolio. A diverse mix can help you grow more wealth, and it can also help protect you from losses during periods of turbulence.

If it's been years since you put together your portfolio, it could be that -- due to the way the value of your investments has shifted -- you're heavily invested in one specific segment of the market. If that's the case, you may want to do some rebalancing.

For example, say that three years ago, you bought eight stocks and they covered four segments of the market -- tech, energy, healthcare, and banks. If one of those stocks has grown in value so that half of your portfolio is now invested in tech stocks while the other half is invested in the remaining three segments, you may want to rebalance to make things more even. If you don't, and the tech sector takes a major hit, your portfolio value could tank.

3. See how your brokerage account stacks up

Brokerages have gotten increasingly competitive in recent years, so it's easier now to find an account that doesn't charge commissions on trades. Similarly, a lot of brokerages don't impose account minimums, and many offer other perks like fractional investing, which allows you to buy a portion of a share of stock if you don't want to spend the money on an entire share.

If you haven't looked at your account in a long time, run a comparison. See what benefits you're getting in your account compared to other accounts out there to determine if it makes sense to move your money elsewhere.

You may also want to look at a brokerage account that allows you to invest in cryptocurrency. There are several that allow you to buy a mix of stocks and digital coins.

If you haven't been keeping tabs on your brokerage account, now's the time to break that habit. Spend some time doing a thorough checkup and make changes as necessary. Giving your investments the attention they deserve could get you closer to meeting your financial goals.

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