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How To Audit Your Own Investments

I've hinted before that I was a  passive investor. And by passive, I mean that I have always set up a 401(k) and IRAs, then promptly ignored them. But since 2013 is the year  I want to learn more about investing, I knew I needed to evaluate our current investment portfolio.

  • Am I saving enough for retirement?
  • Am I diversified?
  • Is the risk of my investments appropriate for my age/circumstances?
  • Is my money in the best investment vehicles?

So first I needed to know what we had to work with.

1.  List all your investable assets. Your investable assets may include things like an emergency fund, work retirement plan accounts, bank accounts, CDs, mutual funds, annuities, cash value of life insurance policies, stocks, bonds, and real estate (not including your primary residence or vacation home).

My list included our emergency fund, my work plan account, various savings accounts, and some individual stocks. This step didn't take long, because our list of investments is short. We had already  rolled over some old 401(k)s a few years ago, we didn't have most of the assets on this list, and we had cashed out my husband's life insurance policy (because I am a term kind of girl).

2.  Find the account value of each investable asset and total them up. Once you have a list of your accounts, find out how much money is in each one.

This was a relatively simple step. I dug through a few dusty folders in our filing cabinet to find some IRA statements before deciding that I needed to register an account to get online statements. Then it was easy to add up everything.

3.  How is your investment portfolio invested? After you have the entire list of your investment accounts, it's time to get down to business. Dissect each account: Is it invested in mutual funds? Which kind? Individual stocks?

For instance, my husband's Roth IRA consists of 51 percent value funds and 49 percent global funds. My Roth IRA with another firm is 51 percent growth and 49 percent growth and income. Include the funds that are invested as well. One of my husband's accounts has Capital World Growth and Income Fund, among others.

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