Monitoring your investments’ performance is critical to ensure that you meet your financial goals.
However, keeping your finger on the pulse of your investments can be a challenge, especially if you have an extensive portfolio.
In this guide, we look at the most effective methods for tracking your investments in 2021.
Online Tools for Convenient Portfolio Management
With a portfolio tracking app, you can add multiple investment accounts and manage them from a single platform. Each app offers unique portfolio management and budgeting features, so it is critical to select one that fits your investment profile. The right tracking app will also provide you with the information you need to make calculated investment decisions, ensuring long-term portfolio growth.
1. Personal Capital – Track Every Aspect of Your Finances
A tool like Personal Capital is ideal for investment analysis. The app features two versions, namely the Free Financial Dashboard and the Wealth Management service. The latter is a complete investment management solution, much like a robo-advisor. However, with the Wealth Management service, you also get access to real financial advisors’ live support.
The Free Financial Dashboard is a popular financial aggregator and budgeting app. After opening a free Personal Capital account, you can link all your financial accounts to the platform.
Accounts you can add to your Personal Capital Dashboard include taxable investments, checking, savings, credit cards, and loan accounts. You can also link your 401(k) and other retirement accounts. After linking your accounts, the dashboard will aggregate all your financial data for an in-depth analysis.
With the free dashboard, you can:
- Monitor your spending patterns and keep track of your cash flow
- Track the income and expenses of each financial account
- Analyze the investment fees of your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plans
- Gather the information you need to optimize your portfolio mix
- Ensure that you are on track to reach your retirement goals
- Calculate your net worth
If you’re looking to manage your finances and investments from the same platform, Personal Capital is a viable option.
2. Morningstar Premium – The Tracking Solution for Buy-and-Hold Investors
Morningstar Premium is a subscription service giving self-directed investors the tools and insights they need to make calculated investment decisions. Unlike a robo-advisor, Morningstar Premium doesn’t make investment decisions for you.
If you’re a long-term or value investor who prefers to make investments through mutual funds, Morningstar Premium is the first tracking option to consider. The screeners help you select the funds and stocks with the most potential and suggest comparable securities. You also get a detailed schedule of annual fees for mutual and exchange-traded funds.
Portfolio Manager is Morningstar’s tracking feature. With the Portfolio Manager analyzer, you can track investments and evaluate your investment strategy. You can also use this feature to create lists of potential investment opportunities.
3. SigFig Portfolio Tracker with Optional Automation Features
The Wealth Management app from the investment company SigFig allows you to track stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, options, 401(k) plans, and individual retirement accounts.
The free tracker is similar to the Free Financial Dashboard from Personal Capital, and you can add investment accounts from more than fifty brokerages. The Wealth Management app pulls information from all your accounts and displays real-time insights on one dashboard.
Every week, the app will email you a summary of your accounts’ performance and news that apply to your portfolio. Whenever the app detects hidden fees or overexposure to a single industry or stock, you’ll receive an alert.
SigFig has an automatic investment feature you can access for an additional fee. Portfolio optimization strategies of this feature include daily monitoring, dividend reinvesting, and rebalancing.
If you need ongoing portfolio tracking with automation features, the SigFig portfolio tracker is the tool to consider.
4. Mint.com Combines Investment Tracking with Budgeting Features
Mint is a popular budgeting app that allows you to manage your entire financial life from one single platform. You can track all accounts with the Mint app, including bank accounts, taxable investments, your 401(k) plan, and Roth individual retirement accounts. The app will also display your total investments.
The Mint app features are not as extensive as those of Personal Capital, but they may be the better alternative for you. With Mint, you can track your real estate investments without having to pay additional fees. Mint also offers credit score monitoring so you can respond early to credit changes and identity theft.
If you only need a budgeting service, or if you’re looking for a service without a minimum investment, Mint is your best option.
Hands-on Investment Tracking with Spreadsheets
When it comes to investment tracking, many investors regard spreadsheets as an outdated and labor-intensive alternative to software and online tools. However, using spreadsheets for portfolio management provides you with unparalleled control and customization.
Spreadsheets are also a viable option for investors who are apprehensive about linking their accounts to online platforms. By using the correct formulas, a spreadsheet can have the same functionality as a pre-existing program. For example, you can use a spreadsheet to determine asset allocation adjustments, calculate dividend income, and track investments.
Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are the most popular spreadsheet options for investment tracking.
1. Google Sheets – Import Real-time Financial Data
When you open a Google account, you get free and unlimited access to Google Sheets. You can access and edit your documents from anywhere in the world, provided that you have an internet connection.
With Google Sheets, you have to enter your investment data manually. However, by using the GOOGLEFINANCE function, you can import real-time data into Google Sheets. The data from the Google Finance web application include market trend information, news from the financial and currency markets, and stock prices.
You can choose various financial formulas from the Functions tab, including INTRATE to calculate effective interest rates. ACCRINTM calculates the accrued interest payments you’ll receive when a security reaches maturity.
2. Microsoft Excel – High Data Capacity
Excel is a useful tool for tracking your investments and viewing positions such as entry prices, closing prices, and returns. You can also use this product to calculate an asset’s return percentage, profit or loss, and standard deviation.
Unlike Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel isn’t a free product. However, Excel’s capacity for data, formulas, and customization is significantly higher than its cloud-based counterpart. You can also aggregate data from several individual sheets to view an entire portfolio’s data at a glance.
Formatting a spreadsheet with the formulas and data you need to track your investments can be time-intensive. However, once you’ve formatted your sheets, entering and analyzing data is a relatively quick and straightforward process.
Desktop investment-tracking software is a program you buy and install on your device. Many investors prefer desktop software to web-based apps due to their consistent user experience and better integration with hardware.
After installation, desktop software is also easier to access, and you don’t have to log in with a username and password.
1. QuickBooks – Track Your Capital Investments
QuickBooks is an accounting software for businesses, but you can use it to track your investments using the platform’s ‘asset account’ feature. You have to add an asset account for each investment you want to track.
Traditional account software allows for ample tracking flexibility, especially in combination with spreadsheets. If you’re an accountant or familiar with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, you’ll have no problem managing your portfolio with this product.
QuickBooks online is ideal for tracking capital investments. If you only are funding a business from your personal account, link your bank account to the platform, and it’ll keep a record of all transactions.
2. Quicken Premier for Optimal Asset Allocation
Quicken Premier is a popular investment tracking software that keeps you updated on your finances and movements in the stock market. When you link your brokerage account to the Quicken platform, it’ll download all investment activity, and you can track capital growth and dividends.
Quicken integrates Morningstar data so you can make informed investment decisions. The platform shows the Morningstar category and rating of each investment. You can also set a target asset allocation at portfolio or account levels and compare it with your portfolio’s actual asset allocation.
Another notable advantage of Quicken is that it displays all portfolio fees, which allows you to track your real returns on investment.
Does Your Tracking Tool Meet Your Investment Needs?
Each investment tracking tool has unique features and benefits. When choosing an investment portfolio tracker, you must consider your unique needs and the tool’s features and capabilities.
You also have to consider costs such as the purchasing price or subscription fee of a tracking tool. The free versions of most platforms don’t offer all the features active traders need. However, if you only want to track your 401(k) plan or retirement accounts, the Free Financial Dashboard from Personal Capital should be sufficient.
Before choosing an investment tracker, do research and read reviews. Other investors’ experiences with a tracking tool can help you determine if it’ll meet your requirements. For example, a review may point out a flaw that might render a product worthless for your needs.