Stay on track! The best times to check your financial plan

By now, as a Fidelity® Personalized Planning & Advice client, you have:

  • Defined at least one savings goal you'd like to achieve
  • Turned to Fidelity's full-time professional investment management to help you toward that goal

With those 2 smart decisions comes a freedom—the freedom to now focus more time on the exciting possibilities the future holds for you… and less time and worry on twists and turns in the financial markets.

In your everyday life, here's a real-world benefit: Any temptation to check your balances every day―or at least when there's a big swing in the market—should fade. You should feel a newfound confidence now that our team of investment professionals is handling your day-to-day investment decisions based on the investment strategy that we've recommended for your personal situation.

That said, do we expect you to just tune out on your portfolio and progress toward your goals? Of course not. We know you've partnered with Fidelity because you want to take charge—and stay in charge—of your complete financial picture. To that end, staying on top of how your investments are progressing toward your goals is just plain smart.

So, the question is: When should you be checking in on your goals and investments? To understand the right times, let's start by reviewing a critical question…

What does full-time professional investment management mean?

With your Personalized Planning & Advice relationship, that means, based on personal information you told us (any savings goal you'd like to achieve, your risk tolerance, time horizons, and other details), we recommended an investment strategy for your goal—a specific mix of stocks, bonds, and cash—that we're now managing for you.

As part of that, the day‐to‐day investment and trading decisions in your account are now being handled by Strategic Advisers LLC, a registered investment adviser and a Fidelity Investments company. One important piece of that ongoing work is rebalancing your account when needed. From time to time, your original mix of investments may drift from your strategy due to movements in the market. When this happens, we'll restore that original mix by buying some types of assets and selling others to ensure your money is sticking to your investment plan for each goal, no matter how the market is performing.

Why is that disciplined, long-term focus so important? Because, over the long haul, history shows that having an investment strategy that stays the course through the ups and down of the market may actually perform better. Remember the financial crisis of late 2008 and early 2009 when stocks dropped nearly 50%?1 Selling at the top and buying at the bottom would have been ideal, but, unfortunately, that kind of market timing is nearly impossible. In fact, a Fidelity study of 1.5 million workplace savers found that those who stayed invested in the stock market during the downturn far outpaced those who went to the sidelines.2

From June of 2008 through the end of 2017, investors who stayed in the markets saw their account balances—which reflected the impact of their investment choices and contributions—grow 147%. That's twice the average for those who moved out of stocks and into cash during the end of 2008 or early 2009.2 The vast majority of 401(k) participants did not make any asset allocation changes during the market downturn, but, for those who did, it was a fateful decision that had a lasting impact.

With our team of investment professionals keeping your strategy on course, you can feel free to tune out the market "noise" and focus more on your hopes for the future and personal habits that can help, like increasing your savings contributions and lowering your personal debt.

Now, that brings us back to the big question:

What are the best times to check in on your financial plan and goals?

At all times, we want to make sure that any investment strategy we are managing for you fits your current situation. So, it's smart to check in on your plan when:

  • You've experienced a change in your life
    One thing is certain for all us: Life is going to take twists and turns. We want to know when those changes take place in your life so we can see if any investment strategy needs adjusting. The changes you experience could be a new job (or a job loss), a new child, a new target date for retirement, a change in tolerance for risk, you name it.
  • You have a new goal or savings priority
    Sometimes, a new goal or savings priority can be related to the changes in your life we just discussed. Other times, though, it can just be a simple matter of timing. Maybe, say, saving for college wasn't a priority when you started planning, but now it's your big focus. Based on that information, we can recommend another investment strategy that fits your new goal. That way, when you're ready to get started with investing for that new goal, we'll be right there with you.
  • At the mid-year and year-end mark
    If the two events above do not trigger you to look at your plan, the calendar should. The midpoint and end of the year are smart times to pause and make sure we have your up-to-date information, helping to ensure our investment management remains personalized to your current needs.

For all 3 instances above, we make it easy to conduct a quick review of your plan through the Personalized Planning & Advice online experience.

Conduct your review in 3 simple steps

In minutes, help us keep your investment strategy personalized to your true needs:

  1. Review the goals you've told us about: Have any of the details changed (for example, the amount you want to save or the date you'd like to save it by)? Are there any new goals you now want to save for? Simply check the goal information we have on file and make updates as needed.
  2. Review your investor profile: Check to see if we still have up-to-date details on key areas like your working status, risk tolerance, and more. Your answers could impact how aggressive we think you should be with your investments. To review your profile, select a Personalized Planning & Advice account in Portfolio SummaryLog In Required, go to About Your Account, and choose Update Profile Information.
  3. Consider any new investment proposals we may have recommendedLog In Required: If you edited or added any information in the first 2 steps, our pros may recommend new investment strategies for your situation under Your Goals and Accounts. In some cases, we may, in fact, find that your current strategy is no longer appropriate for your account. That's a good time to review any new or existing recommendations for helping you toward your hopes and dreams.

Remember, as you progress on the journey toward your goals, we'll keep you updated every step of the way. Periodically, we'll send you account statements, breaking down your balances and investments. And, when we make any transaction while managing your account, you'll receive notification as well. Of course, you can also check your accounts and progress toward your goals at any time by logging into Fidelity.comLog In Required.

As a Personalized Planning & Advice client, you also have the added value of speaking 1-on-1 with a member of our coaching team about investment planning by scheduling a 30-minute coaching callLog In Required.

Rest assured, at all times, we're keeping an eye on your progress and your accounts with us. So go out and focus on those big adventures in life. And keep us updated as your life changes. We want to make sure we're investing for you in a way that fits your life for today and tomorrow.