Last week, I asked you how you are keeping track of your portfolio. There are so many options out there, from simple to extreme, that I thought it would be interesting to hear how real readers are tracking their investment performance. I put no stipulations, and even threw out a few suggestions. I found the results to be very interesting. It seems most readers are still NOT using personal finance software or online apps. Instead, the are choosing to track their portfolios manually using Excel.
Here is the breakdown of what everyone said:
Old School By Hand
Excel: Excel, or similar spreadsheet program like Google Docs, was the most popular choice by readers by 2-to-1. I was very surprised by this, as I would have thought more people would have transitioned to software or apps. Why were people choosing Excel? Many people wrote things like “I only update things once a month so it is quick and easy”, or “I’m very un-tech savvy”, and finally, “I prefer Excel because I can customize it however I want”.
Filing Systems: Another solution was to keep everything on paper, but use a system like HomeFile to make sure that everything is organized and easy to find. I use the HomeFile system and I highly recommend it.
I hope that some of these individuals do try out a free app like Mint or Personal Capital. There are so many great tools out there that can make this process simple and painless, so get out of your old ways!
Using Your Main Broker
Broker/Bank Website: Another bunch of individuals relied exclusively on their bank or broker’s websites. Some bank websites have some great systems in place to accommodate other accounts. For example, one reader shared how he could import everything into TD Ameritrade. Many people stay with their broker’s websites because of the tools their brokers offer. Vanguard was mentioned several times, especially because of their Portfolio Tracking Tool and for the ability to host other accounts in one place.
Free Online Services
Yahoo! Finance: Two readers used Yahoo! Finance Portfolios almost exclusively, or in conjunction with Excel. One mentioned it was great for checking day to day positions, since it updates instantly. However, Yahoo! Finance Portfolios can be difficult to track trades and other transactions, so both used it mainly for position monitoring.
The Solution I Use
The best of the rest. Only one other reader besides myself uses Quicken, although I may have convinced another reader to use it. I love Quicken because it integrates everything into one spot. The reader who used it mentioned the easy to access and print reports, which I also love at tax time. Another user used Mint, and liked how it instantly updates everything in the cloud. And the free price doesn’t hurt either.
Readers, will these suggestions or uses make you consider a different way of keeping track of your portfolio? Are you happy with your method, or are you looking for something easier?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.