Keeping A Close Eye On Retirement Accounts


There are two kinds of retirement account investors: those who pay close attention to the way their accounts are managed and funds invested, and those who make their deposits (often automatically and without consideration) and then never give those accounts another thought.

But how many of those two kinds of investors are there? Which is the predominant manner of handling retirement account investments?

As part of Spectrem’s monthly research with affluent and wealthy investors, it asks one or two questions that go beyond its usual research topics. It recently asked investors to detail just how often they check their defined contribution or retirement accounts, and to what detail those check-ins reach.

Here are the results of that survey of 600 investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $25 million:

Employer-Sponsored Retirement Accounts (401K and similar) – More than half of investors (52 percent) check their 401(K) or similar accounts on a monthly basis, and 22 percent do so on a weekly basis. Eight percent check their balance only when an account statement shows up in their snail mail or email accounts. Only slightly less often do investors check the individual investments in those accounts; 44 percent check the performance of individual investments monthly, 19 percent check them weekly if not more frequently, and 11 percent wait until they get a detailed statement to worry about the individual investments.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) – Investors with IRAs appear to pay closer attention to those accounts than do investors with their 401(k) accounts. Sixty-two percent of investors with IRAs check their balance monthly, and 13 percent check those balances daily. Fifty-four percent of investors check the individual investments in those IRAs on a monthly basis, and more than one-quarter (28 percent) check the individual investment performance at least once a week. Less than 10 percent claim to wait until a statement shows up to check how the accounts are performing.

The investors were then asked how often they discuss the performance of their 401(k) or IRA accounts with their financial advisor, and the percentages dropped significantly. Only 18 percent of investors with an IRA discuss the account’s performance with their advisor on a monthly basis, and less than half (46 percent) do so on a monthly basis

When it comes to the employer-sponsored retirement accounts, 23 percent of investors discuss the performance monthly, and 15 percent never have that conversation with advisors.

Advisors should enquire with clients how their retirement accounts are performing with an eye toward correcting misplaced decisions and improving performance for better returns on investment.



©2019 Spectrem Group



Keywords: investors, advisors, spectrem, retirement, IRA, 401, employer-sponsored