At this point, it’s fair to say that 2022 has not been a good year for stocks. And it’s certainly not been a good year for my portfolio.
The last time I checked in, my investments were down about 30% year to date. And that was as of a few weeks ago.
I actually haven’t looked at my portfolio since the beginning of June. And I intend to keep ignoring it for these reasons.
1. I know it’s down
Years ago, I got a bad haircut I was really unhappy with. Instead of torturing myself by looking in the mirror every few minutes in the days following, I instead slapped a hat on my head and went about my business.
I’m taking a similar approach to the current market downturn. Since I’m well aware that my portfolio is down, looking at my balance daily or weekly isn’t going to do much for my mental health other than perhaps make it worse. Rather than put myself in a position where I might get so upset or panicked that I’m driven to sell stocks at a loss, I’d rather stay out of my portfolio for the time being.
The one exception to that rule is if I choose to add stocks to my investment mix. Because stocks are down, it’s actually a great time to buy, so I might occasionally log on to buy shares of the companies I’m following. But other than that, I’m staying signed out.
2. I’m not looking to sell
A down portfolio is a big problem for anyone who needs to liquidate investments to cover living expenses. Some retirees, for example, may be in this boat if they’re currently withdrawing from a stock-heavy 401(k) or IRA.
But I have no plans to sell any of my stocks anytime soon. I’m not retired, and I have lots of emergency cash on hand so that if a need for extra money arises, I’ll look to my savings first. As such, I don’t feel the need to track my portfolio.
3. I’m well aware of the companies I own
Before you buy shares of a given stock, it’s important to determine how that investment will tie into your general strategy. And to do that, you need to have a good sense of what your current holdings look like. That’ll help make sure any stocks you add give your portfolio a nice amount of diversification.
But I happen to be well aware of the stocks I own at present, and I know which investments are and aren’t appropriate for me right now. So I don’t feel the need to keep peeking into my portfolio — and seeing those disturbing losses on screen.
Stock market downturns are fairly common and nothing new — but that doesn’t necessarily make them easier to cope with. While I’m not horrendously worried about the state of my portfolio, I also know that checking up on it isn’t a good use of my time or mental energy right now. And that’s why I’m ignoring it as much as possible.
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