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Investing Specialists

Warning for Investors: Sobriety Checkpoint Ahead

Large balances can encourage unrealistic expectations and perverse behaviors.

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In an upward-trending market like the one we’ve enjoyed for much of 2019--and for the past decade, for that matter--checking your investment-account balances can provide a little bit of a thrill, or maybe just some well-deserved peace of mind about your financial future.

If you had $100,000 in a boring old balanced fund (albeit a good-quality one) 10 years ago, you’d have nearly $272,000 today--and that’s not factoring in any additional contributions you may have made. And if you had your whole $100,000 portfolio in stocks at this point 10 years ago, your balance would be more than $400,000. Seeing your account value grow from year to year is a strong motivator to stick with the plan and perhaps even bump up your contribution rate as your salary allows.

Christine Benz does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.