Keeping track of your investments used to be a full-time job. It still can be, if you happen to be a professional broker or financial advisor. But many individual investors are finding that they can save time and money by looking after their investments using one of the many software solutions available online, or as a downloadable app.
If you don’t want to manage your investments manually, using record books and spreadsheets, and you’d rather not pay someone to do it for you, then using expert software is an affordable and hassle-free alternative. The options available range from basic money management platforms to full portfolio management that includes many sophisticated investing and analysis tools. Some are completely free, while others can either be downloaded for a one-off fee or paid for on a subscription basis.
Which one you choose to use depends on your requirements. Understanding how these different platforms work and what they have to offer will help you come to the right decision as to which is right for you.
Money management software should sync all of your financial channels, including bank accounts, credit cards and investments, into a personalised dashboard or online portal. You should then be able to track and analyse all of your income and outgoings, breaking it down by category as well as getting an overall picture of your financial health.
One of the best is Personal Capital, which is a free-to-use platform that can be accessed via either mobile or PC. You can analyse your cash flow, calculate your net worth, and review your investments, asset allocation and account fees. The platform’s Retirement Planner Calculator looks at the best and worst case scenarios for your retirement, based on your current spending and savings. It then tells how much you’re currently able to afford to spend per month after retirement.
Mint.com provides web-based investment and money management software that includes budgeting tools and tracking of your investments, income and outgoings. It also allows you to pay bills and lets you access your credit score. Both of these software packages are free to use and are excellent for keeping on top of everyday spending and basic financial planning.
In terms of platforms specifically designed with a particular kind of investment in mind, the profit revolution software should be the first choice for anyone wishing to get on board with bitcoin investing. This combination of platform and investment community is extremely user-friendly as the tools provided automate the trading process, while the community feature gives access to expert advice from professional financial specialists. Secure and reliable, profit revolution requires a minimum account fund of $250 (191GBP)
Investment Account Manager is a sophisticated software tool used by professional investors and beginners alike. Its aim is not to do everything for you, but to help you to understand and better manage your investment portfolio. This platform is purely aimed at investors, not those who want to manage their everyday financial affairs.
Facilities include the ability to track an unlimited number of different portfolios, each handled individually, while transactions are segregated by account. You can call up reports on different aspects of your investments, breaking them down by sector etc., or combining your portfolios into one document detailing your overall investment health. The asset library includes detailed security data, while the analysis tools include rebalancing, benchmark comparisons and fundamental ratio analysis.
The popular all-rounder
One of the most popular investment software platforms on the market is Quicken, which combines sophisticated investment tools with everything you need for everyday money management. This comes at a price, and you can either buy Quicken as a desktop app or pay via a subscription model. All your accounts and income streams are synced to a comprehensive personal portal where you can work out budgets, track and manage debts and manage your investment portfolio.
Quicken offers a high level of customisation and a huge number of report options, including performance vs. market, rate of return, capital gains, risk/return analysis, tax status and much more. There is a retirement planner tool and options trade tracking, as well as the portfolio X-ray tool from Morningstar that allows deep analysis of your investments.
These are just a few of the investment software packages and platforms available today. Deciding which one is right for you is dependent upon your requirements, level of experience and personal temperament. However, those mentioned above are some of the market leaders that are definitely worth investigating if they meet your needs and expectations.