As I work with younger to middle-aged investors, I hear a common theme – many of them never open their quarterly investment statements. There are a lot of different reasons for this. Some are 10 or more years from retirement, so they don’t keep a close eye on their investments. Others are tired of hearing bad news on Wall Street, so they prefer not to know how it is impacting their own long-term finances. Another category of investors trust their advisors and their advisors’ investment recommendations so much that they don’t feel the need to review the statements. And still another group of investors feels like there is little they can do to change how the stock market impacts their future, so they just “ride it out.” The statements often end up in a pile in a home office, waiting to be opened or filed away.
If this sounds like you, I hope you’ll rethink your approach to your quarterly statements. Why? Because no matter what your time line to retirement, this is YOUR money and you need to know where you stand whether you are retiring tomorrow or 20 years from now. These statements are part of your financial road map. They help pave the way from where you are today to where you want (or need) to be when it is time to live off of your hard-earned income.
But how do you know what path to take next if you don’t know where you’re starting from? How do you know what detours your financial road map needs to take if you don’t have a starting point? Don’t be afraid of those statements. Open them each quarter, review them and ask your advisor questions.