Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Preparing my Portfolio for Vacation

I’m preparing to take a three week vacation from work.  We’re heading to Washington DC for two weeks and then to Quebec city. After a busy year at work, and a job change in May, the three weeks should give me an opportunity to recharge.

While preparing to go on vacation, there are many details to handle in advance to ensure things go smoothly while I’m away. Setting up my out-of-office notifications for work, assigning my tasks in progress to my back-up, exchanging some Canadian dollars for suddenly even more expensive US dollars, getting a haircut, cleaning up around the house,  packing, prepaying bills, and many other activities need to be done before Friday morning.

What I’ve been thinking about today is how I should prepare my portfolio for vacation? More specifically, here are a couple of the issues I’m facing:

1.       Do I leave my portfolio notification e-mails on?
Each day, I receive about 150 articles through three e-mail alerts designed to keep me abreast on my various stock holdings. Although this might sound cumbersome, the e-mails contain many interesting articles, and I can generally skim through them in 10-20 minutes. However, coming back to about ~60 emails containing ~3,000 articles might be overwhelming.

2.       Do I invest cash or keep it?
As I’ve previously written about, I still have in excess of 3% of my portfolio in cash. Although the percentage seems reasonable enough, I know I’ll think about what to do with it while on vacation, instead of taking the mental break that I truly need. Although I like the flexibility that cash provides, the thought of it sitting there in my accounts, doing nothing for almost a month, seems counter intuitive.

3.       Do I force myself to log off for three weeks?
In the past, during extending vacations, I made it a habit not to check my portfolio, and not to conduct any trades.  Afterall, dividend investors should be thinking of the long-term, and I’m comfortable enough that none of my companies will announce earth shattering news during a lazy three week period in the summer. That said, the control freak in me knows it’s hard to ignore the financial news for three weeks. With the potential Grexit, maybe I’ll miss an excellent buying opportunity.

What all three items boil down to is how connected I should be during my vacation.  My preference would be to have very limited connectivity. A by-product is that this blog will likely be less active over the course of the next three weeks. 

If anyone has any tips about managing their investment portfolio during vacations, please send them my way. 


2 comments:

  1. I wouldnt worry too much about cash sitting in your account, DIH. A little bit of cash is always good in the portfolio in case you find yourself in need to make a purchase.

    I personally like to have minimal checkins on vacation - if I feel that I need to monitor a stock in my portfolio continuously, surely it doesnt belong in my portfolio.

    Sounds like you are set for a great vacation - have a good one. Havent been to QC in a while...i should plan a trip up there.
    R2R

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  2. Thanks for the great advice R2R. Although I ultimately decided to use most of the cash for two purchases, I appreciate your point regarding having some cash set aside for special situations.

    My wife lived in QC for a couple years, so I'll have an excellent tour guide. Do you have any vacation plans for the summer?

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