Bearing Up in a Bear Market: You Still Need to Open Your Account Statements
Especially in a down market, investors may be tempted to try and avoid the trauma of seeing the reduced value of their holdings by not opening their statements for their brokerage, mutual fund, or 401(k) or other retirement plan accounts. It has even been suggested that avoiding looking at your statements may be a good way to respond to turbulent financial times, because it prevents you from selling out at the market bottom and foregoing the expected—but unpredictable—turn around in the markets.
Don't Check Out on Checking Up
This advice may be comforting—and may even help keep you focused on the long-term performance of your investments—but ignoring your statements can blind you to problems in your accounts other than their performance. No one can protect your accounts like you can, and so you need to open your statements and see what is going on in your account.
Looking for Trouble
Here's a checklist to help you identify potential problems you may need to respond to promptly:
Don't Snooze and Lose
Some of these problems, such as incorrect electronic fund transfers, must be identified to your stockbroker or banker within 60 days after they occur or you waive your right to a correction. Still others may result in actions by your firm you don't want and—if you don't act promptly—take time, effort, and cost to undo. Immediately question any transaction or entry that you do not understand or did not authorize. Don't be timid or ashamed to complain. Here are the steps you should take:
Always check to see if there are problems in your statement that you can—and need—to correct. While it may feel better to avoid seeing the losses in your portfolio from the bear market, you can be opening yourself to problems if you don't open your statements.
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