Download (direct link):
The National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC) portfolio management program and other portfolio management programs enable investors to sort investments by type of industry or company size and then print the reports. In this way, investors can make comparisons within their own portfolios. In other words, itís a convenient way to sort out the winners and losers. A limitation of some personal finance software programs is that they donít include this feature. Additionally, personal finance software programs often have trouble with dividend reinvestment plans.
MS Money(www.microsoft.com/money/default.mspx) is a personal finance software program that can help you stay organized by tracking activities in your savings and checking accounts, and doing your banking and bill paying online. You can use Money to manage your investments by downloading quotes and brokerage statements from the Internet, plan your retirement, and more. Four types of MS Money products are available, but only two of the products include the full menu of portfolio management tools: MS Money Premium ($79.95) and MS Money Small Business ($89.95).
MS Money tracks your portfolioís investment positions, updating the price or quantity held without entering all purchase and sales data. You get a detailed analysis of your investments by risk, performance, and asset allocation. The portfolio management program tracks stocks, CDs, and bond capital gains throughout the year. The asset allocation feature analyzes the allocation of the assets in your current portfolio and suggests ways to improve it, based on the historic returns for the investment classes that you hold. Portfolio management features include
Portfolio manager: You can directly download account information from banks and brokerages nationwide. You can access your account information 24/7.
332 Part III: Expanding Your Investment Opportunities
Portfolio tracking: MS Money includes features that many online free portfolio trackers lack. For example, you can track stock splits in the transaction list, as well as in the portfolio and transaction report. Additionally, there is a 401(k) manager and automatic Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Schedule D reporting (of capital gains and losses).
^ Capital gains estimator and capital gains tracking: The capital gains estimator calculates your capital gains taxes and alerts you of taxes owed if a specific investment is sold. You also discover capital gains tracking and optimization features.
^ Asset allocation and investing alerts: MS Money provides timely market information, as well as an Investing Advisor FYI module featuring recent alerts. These alerts can give you a quick snapshot of whatís happening with your stocks and can notify you of any significant news so that you can stay on top of your portfolio.
Quicken (quicken.intuit.com) is similar to MS Money in that both personal financial programs offer you the option of downloading your checking, savings, and investment data directly from your bank or brokerages. Additionally, when it comes to managing your portfolio and tracking your investments, both MS Money and Quicken provide high quality, personalized tools. The Quicken Premier ($79.95) personal finance software program
^ Can help you track tricky financial transactions, such as stock splits and corporate takeovers
^ Offers a portfolio analyzer, a capital gains estimator, and the ability to customize your portfolio data
^ Lets you download up to five years of stock quotes for trend analysis and recordkeeping
Have portfolio, will travel
In the past, if you were traveling, you couldn't access your desktop MS Money program to determine your exact financial position. Now you can get anywhere, anytime access to your MS Money data via CNBC on MSN Money (www.moneycentral.com). After you organize your finances on MS Money, use MSN
Money to extend the power of your software ó access your data from any computer with an Internet connection. In other words, you can now synchronize with MSN Money to access your MS Money data on the Internet while you're away from home.
Chapter 17: The Internet and Managing Your Portfolio 333
Quicken offers tax-preparation and planning tools. Quicken can help you calculate your capital gains taxes (not an easy task with todayís tax laws), and it easily integrates with Intuitís TurboTax software programs, a feature that users truly appreciate at tax time. Quicken also features Online Investment Tracking, which connects individuals to financial institutions for online banking, online bill paying, and online investment tracking.
Portfolio management software programs
Several hundred portfolio management programs are available for your investment tracking. The programs vary in price from free to $800. Many of the freeware and shareware portfolio management programs include an amazing amount of features, but are somewhat cumbersome to use.
Some brokers give free portfolio management programs to customers who open an account. Financial data providers frequently give free portfolio management programs with a subscription to their services. Other portfolio management programs are components of larger investment analysis applications.