Portfolio Trackers Explained

Keeping an eye on your investments is a must. It is also a big challenge especially if you have several accounts at different brokers. 

Do you struggle with keeping track of multiple investment accounts? Try using a portfolio tracker! It can be an app, website or spreadsheet that allows you to track the status of all your individual holdings. You can check how your current asset allocation measures up against your long-term goals and see how your portfolio is performing compared to the rest of the market.

What is a portfolio tracker?
How to pick the right portfolio tracker?

It depends on your investing style and goals. There are investment tracking tools for both professional and casual investors. Check out the available tools and services, the fees and the encryption protocol to make sure the service is safe. A good tracker will let you track several asset classes and support lots of brokerages.

We asked personal finance experts about their opinion on portfolio trackers.

Here is what Riley Adams says about how to choose the right tool. Riley is a Senior Financial Analyst for Google and the owner of a personal finance site dedicated to helping younger generations invest, manage and plan their money, called Young and the Invested.

"Some trackers offer detailed insight into just investment accounts with informational breakdowns on market exposure, asset allocation, fund types and much more. Others offer you this level of detail with the addition of your non-investment financial accounts, providing you with a comprehensive view of your financial picture. 

Decide why you need a portfolio tracker in the first place and what 'needs' and 'wants' are most important to you. Also consider the fees you can expect to pay (if any) and whether other services come paired with your tracker. Some might offer you a free service to track your portfolio with the hope of upselling you on more premium services."

Also here's a great take from Eric from Dividend Earner about what should be included in a portfolio tracker. Eric fired his financial advisor in 2009 and took control of his investments. He decided to share all his struggles and wins in regard to his trading journey to help others learn through his experiences.

"Over the years, I have found many services provided poor overall portfolio returns and innacurate account rate of returns. More specifically, DRIP shares are free shares and should be counted as full profit unlike the current tracking which is focused on tax accounting. The reality is that most investors invest in tax free accounts and performance of the investments need to exclude tax considerations.

Now, taxes can impact the bottom line and it’s important to know that, only some accounts need that consideration. Furthermore, too many track 1 year and compare to last year but like a marathon, we count the time for the entire marathon and not just the last 1/10 of it. So it’s critical to have a rate of return since starting which is rarely offered."

What is a portfolio tracker?
How do I monitor my investments with a tracker?

By using a portfolio tracking tool, you can manage all of your portfolios across all your investment accounts in one place, without having to switch between platforms. They let you import your trading history from your broker, either from a spreadsheet or manually.

"The most simplified tracking apps often work best for beginners. They don't provide confusing information and only show straightforward details to get you what you need. In my experience, one such example is Personal Capital. It provides high-level details on your portfolio and allows you to track it when you log into the app. You can also set up automated alerts to track other personal finance decisions like cash flow monitoring, credit spending and more." — Riley Adams from Young and the Invested

 

What is a portfolio tracker?
What are the best apps for tracking my portfolio?

Here is a list of the best portfolio tracking apps. 

Personal Capital
Personal Capital, a digital wealth management company, is considered to be the best and most comprehensive portfolio tracker. Its personal dashboard gives you a real-time view of your finances. You can track your home value, employee stock options, stock portfolio, other alternative investments and your cryptocurrencies, too. In response to increased market volatility, the dashboard has been expanded with more detailed market commentary.

Sharesight
Sharesight allows you to track shares, listed bonds and ETFs from over 30 exchanges worldwide. You can also track 67 global currencies, as well as unlisted investments such as fixed interest and investment properties. You can also see the impact of capital gains, dividends and currency fluctuations.

Mint
Mint is a personal finance software that brings together everything from spending, loans, balances, investments and budgets to your credit score. With its investment tracker you can compare your portfolio to market benchmarks and monitor your asset allocation across all your investment accounts, including your 401(k), mutual funds, brokerage accounts and IRAs.

SigFig
SigFig, which is primarily a robo advisor, also provides a free portfolio tracker. It syncs your 401(k), IRA, brokerage and advisor accounts from over 80 brokerages, then automatically compiles all your investment data into a single dashboard. 

Money Patrol
Money Patrol is a personal finance monitoring, budgeting and money management tool. You can connect and track your investment accounts, such as stock investments, 401(k) and Roth IRA contributions, along with an overall portfolio breakdown.

Kubera
Kubera (named after the Hundu god of wealth) advertises itself as the world’s most modern portfolio tracker. The app supports all kinds of assets and can link to your online accounts – banks, brokerages and crypto wallets. It supports multiple currencies, has storage for related documents and a sharing feature to ensure the information gets passed on to your beneficiary if something happens to you.

Yahoo Finance
The app is quite easy to use so it’s ideal for new or inexperienced investors. You can track your performance with real-time data and news related to your stock symbols.

What is a portfolio tracker?
How can I track my portfolio with spreadsheets?

By using spreadsheets you can build your own personal dashboard and customize your investment tracker to whatever you want. There are lots of YouTube videos on how to build a portfolio tracker with sheets. 

"This can be a very manual exercise if you don't know how to use streaming data feeds. At the same time, it might also be a powerful way to remain detached from your investments, allowing them to perform in the background. Often, the biggest mistake investors make is touching their portfolios in the first place." — Riley Adams

Google Sheets
In Google Sheets there are several advanced functions, such as GOOGLEFINANCE, SUMPRODUCT, INDEX, SPARKLINE and more, which can be used to build a spreadsheet that will track your portfolio based on transaction entries made for different tickers. GOOGLEFINANCE, for instance, fetches securities information from Google Finance, you just have to add the ticker of the security you want to track. 

Excel Sheets
You can build your own investment portfolio dashboard using the built-in tools available in Excel for Microsoft 365. You can pull live stock data from various exchanges in Excel with Stock Data Types. The STOCKHISTORY function, in turn, retrieves historical data about a financial instrument.

A DIY spreadsheet can do wonders, however, there are some pitfalls. 

"Data entry has to be the biggest pitfal. Everyone starts with 1 account but then in no time you have 4 accounts times 2 for a partner and all of which with dividends, DRIPs and transactions to track. To get over that, I make it a point to deal with it once per month. Automating it with broker access brings the issue of security and sharing passwords. In this day and age of hacking and ransom, it’s not clear or well explained how access is done and how secured it is." - Eric, Dividend Earner

What is a portfolio tracker?
Portfolio management desktop software tools

If you prefer a software over an app or spreadsheets, check out these trackers: 

Fund Manager

Fund Manager can track an unlimited number of accounts. You can monitor stocks, mutual funds, options, bonds, cash and other investment types. It helps you keep track of your purchases, redemptions, distributions, transfers, as well as advanced transactions such as splits, re-combinations, mergers and spin-offs. 

Quicken 

Quicken is a personal finance and money management software for viewing all your banking, investment, retirement and credit card accounts, all in one place. With its investment management tools you can track your holdings, including brokerages, 401(k)s, IRAs, options, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds, and see all investment fees together.

"I was religiously using Quicken until 2008 since the late 90’s only to question the math for my account performance and that’s when I realized it was doing tax accounting and not performance accounting regardless of the account.

If your DIY method is with a spreadsheet, then you can do everything you want with the math and reports. Seeing the math is important and I think for the big software out there, there isn’t enough transparency on the math used giving investors the wrong data to use and compare. Now, last but not least, even with a DIY tracker, I can compare to an index investing strategy to ensure I continue to beat it :)" - Eric, Dividend Earner

Author of this article

Gabriella Lovas

Author of this article

Gabi is now a Financial Analyst at BrokerChooser after working as a Content Editor for a year. Previously, she was a European equity reporter at Bloomberg covering European health care and chemical stocks as well as US futures, until she relocated to Spain in 2019. Gabi has a Master's degree in Economics and she is a stock investor on her own account. She is also a member of an investment club in Barcelona.

Gabriella Lovas

Content Editor

Gabi is now a Financial Analyst at BrokerChooser after working as a Content Editor for a year. Previously, she was a European equity reporter at Bloomberg covering European health care and chemical stocks as well as US futures, until she relocated to Spain in 2019. Gabi has a Master's degree in Economics and she is a stock investor on her own account. She is also a member of an investment club in Barcelona.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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