How Often Should You Check Your Brokerage Account Balance?

by Christy Bieber | Published on Nov. 16, 2021

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A woman checking her tablet.

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You don't want to check in too often -- or not often enough.

Key points

  • Signing into your brokerage account online is quick and simple.
  • It's not a good idea to follow your brokerage account balance too closely.
  • Checking in periodically to rebalance your portfolio is crucial to limiting the risk of loss.

Online brokerage accounts have made it really easy to sign in and check your account balance within seconds. But while it's tempting to check in with your investments on a daily basis -- or even more often -- doing so may not necessarily be the best idea.

In fact, it's smart to be strategic about how frequently you sign onto your broker's account to see how your investments are doing.

Signing into your brokerage account too often -- or not often enough -- could cost you

So how often should you check in on how your account is performing? For most investors, it's ideal to do so around once every few months.

Checking in on your brokerage account once every few months enables you to:

  • Ensure your portfolio is balanced: Often, some of your investments outperform others and your portfolio can end up too heavily concentrated in those investments. This can expose you to more risk than you should be exposed to. You'll want to check your account balances every few months or so in order to determine if your portfolio needs to be rebalanced to be better diversified.
  • Confirm you're exposed to the right level of risk: You need a mix of higher-risk investments that have the potential to produce better returns and lower risk, safer investments. The amount of risk you can take will change. As you get closer to the time you need to rely on investments for income, you become less able to wait out downturns. So it's important to check your portfolio once a year or so to make sure it's well aligned to your current risk tolerance.
  • Reaffirm your commitment to your investments: You want to invest for the long term to maximize your chances of building wealth. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't ever sell assets. Checking in every few months or so allows you to confirm you're still confident the companies you're invested in have solid future potential.

You do not, however, typically want to check your account balance every day or even every few weeks. Doing so creates an unnecessary risk that you'll overreact to swings in the price of your investments that can occur as a natural part of the market's fluctuations.

Selling assets because of short-term market trends all but guarantees that you'll end up with a losing investment strategy. That's because you'll almost always end up reacting after your stocks have started to go down and could sell and lock in losses as a result. Or you might miss out on potential gains by selling at the first signs of a profit when there's potential for much more money to be made.

Now, if you know you can be disciplined enough to avoid making decisions based on short-term price movements and you find it fun to check your portfolio, then it isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world to check in more often.

But watch for signs you're becoming too obsessive about tracking daily performance; are becoming tempted to react to daily movements; or are confusing losses and gains on paper with permanent shifts in your wealth. If these things start occurring, then take a step back and avoid logging into your brokerage account as often as you have been.

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