I have a very bad habit. I love to watch the market everyday, closely. The futures get me out of bed in the morning. While the market is open I am glued to my computer, obsessively checking my portfolio and scanning different news sites and tickers. I am quite adept at it, and it can be problematic.
Being a long term investor, watching the market like this is dangerous. I may start to see things that are not there, second guess my decisions on a down day, or even risk getting caught up in the mass psychology of the market. While I have spent years training myself against this, no one is perfect. Therefore, I have devised a strategy to defend myself against these potential dangers.
The plan is to take all of my positions and create my own mutual fund with those positions, with the proper weighting and yield. That way I can monitor the progress of my portfolio without watching my individual holdings too closely. Every quarter I will review the 10-Q of the companies that I own to make sure everything is going well and there are no major issues. Drastic changes or blowoffs will trickle down through the many news venues I shuffle through every day. Other than that I will leave my stocks alone, monitor my fund, and focus the rest of my attention on other prospective investments.
Using Excel you can import live quotes and with some basic Excel skills create your own fund based on your holdings. Unfortunately there is no simple way to import dividend yields into Excel. I recommend updating them manually every few weeks. It takes about one minute. Here is an example to guide you through the process:
Step one is to import all of your tickers. Then create a column with the number of shares you own for each stock. Next create a column with each cell equaling the number of shares multiplied by current price. Create a cell below that column that adds up the total of that row, which should equal your portfolio equity balance.
Create a new column that takes the amount you have in an individual stock divided by your equity total, giving you a ratio number between 0 and 1. Take each of those numbers and multiply them by the current stock price. Next take the total of that column. Now you are ready to create your fund. The sum of the ratio times current price column is the current price of the fund, and the sum of the ratio times the yield column is your current yield.
Put the stocks you own several pages below the fund quote so you do not get tempted to peak as I surely would be. Hopefully this will smooth out the way you view your portfolio.
While watching your account balance may achieve similar results, it would frazzle my nerves watching my account drop in real dollars. This fund organizes everything into an easy to track ticker. For impulsive, high energy people like myself this approach helps me stay in control and do what I love: holding positions for a long time.