finances: rebalancing your investments

I’d love to see how everybody else handles maintaining their investments.

Personally, I set up a do-more goal to rebalance my portfolio yearly, and I specified everything in excruciating detail, and made an easy-to-update spreadsheet.

How do you sidestep all the laziness and emotion? Did you find a way to automate this task (without paying through the nose)?

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I keep most of my financial tracking in Mint. This gives me a fairly quick and accurate look at my financial standing.

I have a Beeminder goal to check Mint six times each week. In practice, this means every day after the markets close, except Sunday. I also score a point every time I log into a financial service to check a balance or make some action. Rebalancing a portfolio certainly scores a point.

Over the last five years I’ve found that daily checks have not encouraged me to rash action. This contradicts the common advice to avoid looking at one’s investments on a regular basis. Daily checks have shown me the difference between market noise, short-term fluctuations, and longer-term changes.

Do not sidestep laziness. Instead, commit to doing whatever the simplest thing that works and that you can do over the long term. For me, this has been letting Mint look at my account balances and checking it every day. Habit and routine dull anticipation. A long track record dulls surprise when the market surges or retreats.

I have not automated this action because the manual check provides a daily ritual that focuses my attention on my current financial state and its relationship to my long-term goals.