In past posts, we have looked into the process of finding more information about your profile, your objectives , your asset allocation  and we have given built some sample ETF portfolios  that could be used. Then, we looked at trading these ETF’s  and what things to look for when doing that. At this point, you would have a few positions and should be ready to monitor your portfolio. Why do you need to monitor? Several things can happen, especially in big market movements. What kind of things? For example, in huge market declines, the value of equities in your portfolio would become much lower. Depending on your own rebalancing rules, you would probably need to buy more equities, which will feel counter intuitive but it would be the right thing to do.
How To Monitor?
First off, you can set yourself up with an excel spreadsheet that will track your holdings. We will soon build one that you can download for free (sign up to our newsletter for more info) but it would basically look like this:
Using a simple macro, you can then go download the stock prices which will give you the value of your portfolio, your weighted holdings in each asset class and how under or over weighted you are in each one.
What Else Should You Look For?
One good idea is to go to a website such as Google Finance and enter all of the ETF’s that you hold into a portfolio, you do not even need to add the positions, simply the tickers. Then every day if possible or every week at worse, take a few minutes to go read news about those ETF’s simply by going to the homepage and clicking on “portfolio related”.
What are you looking for? I would say general news about the economy and any specific news about the ETF’s that you hold.
You would also be looking for confirmation that the ETF’s that you own and trade are still the right ones in your category. You can either sign up to our newsletter to get more information or simply take a look at the:
-ETF assets under management (on the Google finance page)
-Daily volume (is it increasing or keeping steady?)
-Spreads (at any time, take a look to see if the market is still a few pennies wide at most)
These checks could easily be done annually only. How much time are we talking about? A few minutes at most every week, not bad right to save a few hundred thousand dollars at retirement?