Ten Tips to Keeping Track of Your Investments
With our busy lives, it's often difficult to keep track of our investments. You may find that you only review them once a year. However, it's important that you keep on top of your finances and review on a regular basis. Here are some tips to help you.
- Read and keep all your financial documents. This includes your account statements and prospectuses. These contain important information about your investments, any associated risks and your returns. Many investors are now offered simplified prospectuses that are easier to read and understand.
- Check your trade confirmations against your account statements, and report any discrepancies. Look for any unapproved transactions or fees. It's important that you catch and resolve any errors immediately. This is much better than having to resolve things months down the road.
- If you don't receive regular account statements, follow up immediately. This is often the first sign that you are the victim of identity theft. Con artists who steal your mail get lots of information about you, and are then able to apply for credit in your name. If you suddenly stop receiving your regular statements, report it immediately.
- When you speak with your adviser, take notes. You should keep records of all your conversations, including your instructions and your adviser's advice.
- Ask questions about your investments. If you don't understand something, speak up. Verify the information with a credible source.
- Even if you don't trade online, consider getting Internet access to your account. Internet access allows you to review your account whenever you want. It's much easier to monitor your account if you can check it online at anytime. Periodically check the balance of your portfolio and bank account. This allows you to track your returns and enables you to catch problems early on.
- Meet with your adviser and visit the firm. While many transactions can be made over the phone, it's important to meet with your adviser at least once. This helps you develop a relationship and understand their investment philosophy. Check out the firm and ensure you feel comfortable having them handle your account.
- Conduct independent research on your investments. Read financial statements, and learn about the company's business risks before you invest.
- Periodically review your portfolio. Make sure it matches your current investment objectives. Most investors find that their objectives change over time. Ensure that your adviser understands your current financial situation and has developed an appropriate plan.
- Check registration by calling your securities regulator. Anyone selling securities or providing advice on securities has to be registered with a regulator. Find out if they are registered, what they are registered to sell, and if there are terms and conditions attached with their registration.