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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.

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