Opinion: How Often Is Too Often to Check Your 401(k) Balance?

Daniella Cressman

Disclaimer: This information is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

It's difficult not to scroll through Instagram for five hours during the day, eager to see if anyone messaged you.

It's also challenging not to constantly check your bank account to see when your paycheck has finally arrived.

Similarly, it can be tough not to monitor your investments in the stock market a little too closely and some people have trouble distancing themselves from their 401(k)s, so how often is too often to check your retirement account?

You should be just fine if you take a look at it at least twice per year: after all, this is a long-term investment that will inevitably fluctuate as you age.

At most, you may want to check your 401(k) on a quarterly basis and speak with a financial advisor if you have any concerns.

"The markets are constantly shifting due to world events, so my balance is always going to be fluctuating. Volatility is normal, especially when my asset allocation is aggressive (like it tends to be when I’m younger and further away from retirement)." —Julia Glum

When you are younger, it is smart to invest aggressively instead of playing it safe. If you are getting older, on the other hand, it's probably wise to invest in low-risk assets in order to set yourself up for success in the long run.

Right now, the stock market isn't doing very well, but investors could still experience major gains in the more distant future.

Similarly, your retirement fund might not look that pretty right now, but that doesn't mean you won't profit from it immensely during your golden years—This is a long-term game.

"Investing for retirement is a long game: It’s important not to get spooked or respond emotionally to big swings. And staying the course is a lot harder to do if flashing red numbers and scary downward arrows are staring me in the face." —Julia Glum

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM

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