Review your investments regularly to make sure you're on track to reach your financial goals and you're comfortable with the investment risks.
Find out how to review your investments' performance and what to do if you're not getting the returns you expect.
Monitor your investments regularly
How often you review your investments will depend on:
- your financial goals
- how long you're planning to invest
Defensive versus growth assets
Defensive assets include savings accounts, term deposit and fixed-interest investments like bonds. When you receive a statement, check income (for example, interest) is being paid and the value of your capital hasn't changed too much.
Growth assets include property, shares and managed funds. They are more volatile and it's best to review them once or twice a year. For example, for shares, around the time semi-annual and annual reports are released. Over-tracking may lead to over-trading. This can result in selling when markets fall and not sticking to your investing plan and investing time frame.
Review your investing plan
It's important to review your investment plan once a year. Check your investments are still in line with your financial goals, risk tolerance and investing time frame.
Ways to monitor your investments
You'll need to monitor different investments in different ways.
Key ways to monitor your shares:
- Set up a 'watch list' for the shares you own. You can do this through the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) or your online broker platform. This will help you track share prices, dividends and price sensitive announcements.
- Review semi-annual and annual reports. These tell you about the company's performance, important changes, and expectations for the coming year.
For more information, see keeping track of your shares.
To monitor your managed funds:
- Read your fund's annual statement. This shows how your fund performed, fees and any distributions.
- Check the fund's performance through its website. They publish unit prices, online fund updates and financial statements.
- Track the fund's returns through websites such as Morningstar and InvestSmart. You can also compare a fund's performance against its benchmark and similar managed funds.
To monitor an investment property's performance:
- Use real estate websites to review the prices of similar properties that have sold.
- Monitor monthly housing price updates published by CoreLogic and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- Monitor auction clearance rates online or in newspapers. These tell you the percentage of properties sold at auction and show the strength of the property market.
If you invest in a real estate investment trust (REIT), monitor it the same way you monitor shares.
Investment performance warning signs
It's difficult to tell if an investment will perform poorly. But there are warning signs that you can look out for.
Financial and accounting problems
Watch for mistakes, delays and media controversy over financial accounts. Genuine errors happen, but repeated accounting issues can be a sign of more serious problems.
Frequent changes of a company's board, directors and management can be a warning sign. Another sign can be directors and managers selling their shares in the company.
Company announcements will show changes in a company's management and director holdings. You can find these on the ASX, the company's website or through your online broker platform.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the ASX can ask issuers of investment products to publish statements clarifying or correcting information given to investors. These public statements can be a sign of issues within the company or their reports, so read them carefully.
Keep an eye on ASIC media releases.
When to sell your investments
It's important to not panic and sell an investment when the price has fallen. Before you sell an investment, take the time to review it. Check if it can still help you to reach your financial goals and if you're comfortable with the risks involved. If you are, it may be better to hold on until the price rises again.