Resolved: Look Less

Ron Wayne

TOO MUCH FREE TIME, coupled with easy access to the internet, create a problem for this retiree. I obsessively check my IRA at least once—and often several times—each day.

I retired two years early with an above-average Social Security payment and a decent state pension, but not a whole lot in my IRA, which is my only retirement savings. Experts say I need much more, but a job loss in my late 50s, and the inability to find an equivalent position in my field and at the same pay level, have left me far behind where I’d hoped to be.

My account is like my baby. I want to make sure it stays healthy and grows. But there’s not much I can do most days, as the markets gyrate up and down.

I don’t actually make frequent changes. I know investing is for the long haul, but when you’re age 65, the road might be short. I look at the many mutual funds and individual stocks, and ponder my choices. Here’s what the software tells me:

  • My stock holdings have drifted higher than my target allocation.
  • The “style” of my stock holdings looks pretty similar to a benchmark that follows the U.S. stock market.
  • The “style” of my bond holdings appears pretty similar to a benchmark that follows the U.S. investment-grade bond market.
  • The portfolio doesn’t appear to be too heavily weighted in the stocks or bonds of any one company.

I need to learn to trust my decisions and let go of this IRA babysitting. It’s my New Year’s resolution to end this obsession and check the account no more than once a day, if that.

It has become almost a hobby to find and research investments. Admittedly, that can be enjoyable. But it’s time for a new hobby—one that’s less stressful.

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