Informed Investing: Are you monitoring your portfolio?

For many people, September is a hectic time of year. Work often picks up, and so does family life for those who have children.

Even though you may be busy, it is important to keep on top of your finances and investments. This is a good time of year to check in with your financial advisor to go over your plan and portfolio.

Before you set up the appointment, you should spend some time checking over your account statements to ensure that you are up-to-speed on the current state of your portfolio.

If your advisor has set up a spreadsheet for you to consult, look at it, and write down any questions that you want to ask about investments, fees, or performance.

If your advisor has not set up a chart or spreadsheet for you, it is something you should ask for when you go in. This chart should show the beginning value, deposits, withdrawals and fees, and current balance of your portfolio. Keeping these charts on file will help you track the performance of your portfolio year-over-year.

In July, regulators announced amendments that will require your advisor to provide you with detailed information about the fees you pay and the performance of your investments. Firms have until 2016 to meet their obligations under these new laws. Laying the groundwork with a chart now will get you and your advisor off to a good start.

Once you have a handle on your portfolio, you will want to make sure you watch how your investments are performing. Be sure to keep an eye on higher-risk investments in your portfolio, and call your advisor if you have any concerns about certain products or performance issues.

It is a good idea to see your advisor at least once a year, but a second, third, or even fourth visit is not a bad idea. It is your money and you are paying your advisor to manage it, so it should not be an issue if you want to meet multiple times over the year to discuss strategy and goals.