Personal Wealth Management / Expert Commentary

Ken Fisher Explains How and When to Do an Investment Portfolio Review

Ken Fisher, Fisher Investments’ founder, Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer, shares his perspective for investors on how and when to conduct a portfolio review.




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Title screen reads: “Ken Fisher Explains How and When to Do an Investment Portfolio Review” The Fisher Investments logo is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

A man in a navy suit appears on screen seated in a chair in front of a fireplace and begins to speak. A banner identifies him as Ken Fisher, Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Fisher Investments.

Ken Fisher:You know about the worst thing most people can do is to pay attention what happens to their portfolio every day. It's a little bit like saying that you should be paying a lot of attention to what happens to the second hand of a clock. It's just going to keep you away from things that are more important.

Ken Fisher: The reality is for most people they don’t need to check their portfolio too often. Of course that is going to vary to some extent based on who you are or who any person is, but in a very simple sense the best time to actually think about a year-end checkup on your account, is actually not at your end.

Ken Fisher: The reality I learned when I was a kid is that the calendar year is kind of artificial in reality. Almost all real projects in the real world go on over a much longer period than a year, and particularly not associated with a calendar year. Taxes are done on a calendar year basis and you get a lot of people in December trying to take tax losses to minimize the tax effect for the next year. One of the worst things you can do is to try to take tax losses right when everyone else is taking tax losses because you’re trying to sell the same things that they’re trying to sell just when they’re trying to sell them. So you tend to sell low and then have the things that you would want bounce back before you can get to them after the mandatory weight before you can buy them back.

Ken Fisher: The best time to think about these things is to create your own sort of fiscal year end for planning purposes that’s in the middle of the calendar year and to take your tax losses in maybe the late summer. Kind of the notion of buying your straw hats in the winter and your skis in the summer. To take advantage of the fact that people aren’t doing tax law selling then and then you want to review your portfolio to make sure it’s still consistent with your long term needs. Because really the only purpose of your portfolio in the first place is what are you trying to accomplish in the long term and for most of you the long term is longer than you can feel emotionally.

Ken Fisher: Once a year is a good time to go back and say what’s really important to me, what are my goals, what am I trying to accomplish, where do I want this sent of investments to take me in the long term and why. That’s one of the most basic financial planning questions you can ever ask and it worth to think through from the beginning.

Ken Fisher: Sort of once a year again maybe at that same time when you’re not distracted by holidays, when you’re not distracted by what to get as a present for your grandchild or your sister or your spouse. In the calm of a quiet time to think through what is it that I really need these to do for me in the long term. Once you’re comfortable that nothing’s changed in your life in the year that would change that and you’re comfortable with what you’ve done relative to minimizing tax impacts you’re pretty much done the job. Thank you for listening.

A series of disclosures appears on the screen “Investing in Securities involves a risk of loss. Past performance is never a guarantee of future returns. Investing in foreign stock markets involves additional risks, such as the risk of currency fluctuations. The foregoing constitutes the general views of Fisher Investments and should not be regarded as personalized investment advice or a reflection of the performance of Fisher Investments or its clients. Nothing herein is intended to be a recommendation or a forecast of market conditions. Rather it is intended to illustrate a point. Current and future markets may differ significantly from those illustrated here. Not all past forecasts were, nor future forecasts may be, as accurate as those predicted herein.”

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