Technology has always been at the forefront of financial markets – and finding the best portfolio tracker is as simple as ever.
Hedge funds used algorithms and automation long before Amazon and Google. Computers fully manage our money today at firms like Betterment and Wealthfront. But technology isn’t just for the “set it and forget it” crowd. Investors who want to accurately (and instantly) track the market can benefit from portfolio tracker platforms.
Personal Capital provides you with advisors that are RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors) and puts care into the accounts they actively manage. Their free financial dashboard and extensive selection of tools put their services over the top, with their mobile app giving you constant updates on your bank and investment holdings, portfolio performance, investment allocation, and the power to know what's happening with your money at any time.
Quick look – the best free portfolio trackers
- Personal Capital — Open a Free account
- Sharesight – Free
- Morningstar’s Portfolio Manager
- Yahoo Finance – Free
- SigFig Portfolio Tracker – Free
- MarketWatch Portfolios – Free
- Active Portfolio from Mobile Interactive – Free, premium package available
What is a portfolio tracker?
A portfolio tracker is a program or service that allows you to trace the movements of your individual holdings. You can see how your current allocation stacks up with your long-term goals and get an idea of how your portfolio is doing compared to the rest of the market.
You can add portfolios from your investment accounts or create manual portfolios to test out particular strategies. Remember, checking your investments too frequently can lead to excessive trading, but if you want to keep your asset allocation on the right path, a portfolio tracker is a simple and effective way to monitor it.
Most brokerages have some sort of tracking and research tool, but you can only use accounts affiliated with that broker. If you have a 401(k) with TD Ameritrade and an IRA with Vanguard, you’ll get access to great research but you won’t be able to combine the accounts and form an overall snapshot. With a portfolio tracker, you can better analyze your total allocation and formulate a more pointed strategy.
Qualities of great portfolio trackers
Great portfolio trackers have a large pool of investment tickers to draw from and provide great research tools. Here’s the criteria we used to determine our top seven favorites:
- Cost: All seven portfolio trackers we’ve put on this list have a free option to get started. Some have add-ons that can be purchased to enhance the experience, but a free method for new users is a must.
- High number of trackable assets: What good is a portfolio tracker if you can’t follow the funds you own? A good tracker will let you follow all types of investments, from stocks and bonds to ETFs and even cryptocurrencies.
- Speed: You obviously want a tracker that loads quickly on your phone or laptop, but speed is also required for price updates. A tracker should post real-time (or close to it) stock quotes; you can’t trade if you’re getting prices more than 15 minutes old.
- User-friendly interface: A portfolio tracker should be easy to use and simple enough that your parents (or grandparents) can operate it.
Best portfolio tracker
All seven of Benzinga’s top trackers have a free service of some kind, but many do offer premium subscriptions for extra perks.
7. Active Portfolio from Mobile Interactive
Mobile Interactive has produced a number of stock tracking apps, but Active Portfolio might be its best work. Active Portfolio lets you build and track custom portfolios containing stocks, bonds, options, cash, and cryptocurrencies. You can also import portfolios by linking the app to your brokerage account.
The free version lets you track two different portfolios and you can add more with the premium monthly package for $2.99 (or $19.99 for 12 months). The premium package gives you access to market research, stock charts, and SEC filings.
The biggest drawback is the app only supports iOS, so anyone using Android or Google products won’t have access to it.
Cost: Free, but a premium package is available for $2.99/month or $19.99 annually.
Available on: iOS for Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhone
6. MarketWatch Portfolios
Register for a free MarketWatch account and you can not only build and track custom portfolios but trade in real-time on a virtual stock market. MarketWatch’s portfolio tracker is backed by Dow Jones and Company, so you’re getting plenty of relevant investing news and data.
You’ll stay informed about trends, economic reports, and world news as you track your investments. A MarketWatch smartphone app is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores, but the portfolio tracking must be done using a desktop computer. Still, you’re getting all the tracking and research tools for free, something for which most apps would charge monthly.
5. SigFig Portfolio Tracker
SigFig is actually an asset management company with no fees on accounts under $10,000. But the real gem they offer is the Portfolio Tracker, available to anyone (even if you don’t have an account with SigFig).
You’ll get free investment analysis by either linking your brokerage account or creating a manual portfolio. SigFig Guidance will optimize your accounts and get you in the proper asset allocation for your goals. The robo advisor service offers tax-loss harvesting, too.
4. Yahoo Finance
Sometimes the old ways are still the best. Yahoo Finance has been a cornerstone of investment research for decades and despite its longevity, it’s still innovative.
The My Portfolios feature allows you link brokerage accounts or create your own portfolios for free. With this, you’ll gain access to Yahoo Finance’s wealth of data and information, as long as you’ve signed up for a Yahoo account. Remember that fantasy football league you signed up for on Yahoo? You can use the same credentials to reach My Portfolios.
3. Morningstar Portfolio Manager
At the top of the list, we have one of the most recognizable names in the industry. Morningstar’s Portfolio Manager offers the widest array of features, and many are available on the free service.
You can import or manually enter 25 different portfolios, the highest number on any free tracker we could find. Registered users can also use Morningstar’s X-Ray feature, an under-the-hood analysis of your portfolio. Are you diversified enough? Paying hidden fees? You’ll find out using these tools. Morningstar’s platform offers a premium monthly version for $21.99, but the free stuff is more than enough to adequately track any portfolio.
Sharesight really revolutionized the online portfolio tracking space. They are a frequent award winner, including placing in Benzinga’s Best Financial Advisor or Wealth Management Platform in 2018. See more about that award here.
Fully understand how you are performing
Without any insight into why you are performing well or poorly, it becomes harder to make decisions that impact your growth. Sharesight makes it easy to benchmark your portfolio and see how you are performing compared to others. You can also organize your holdings in custom groups that allow you to easily compare and contrast the winners and losers in your portfolio.
1. Personal Capital
We like to think of Personal Capital as Mint with an investing kick. Personal Capital monitors not only your portfolios, but your bills, bank accounts, and credit card statements. This all-inclusive snapshot makes managing and funding your investments easy since you’ll know where every dollar you make goes.
Personal Capital will survey your risk profile and keep your asset allocation on target. You’ll get everything that Mint offers, plus an extra focus on investing. And it’s free to use on iOS, Android, and desktop.
A smartphone or laptop can track and analyze your investments in real-time. But beware of information overload. If you pay too much attention to daily market moves, you’re bound to make investment mistakes. Don’t treat your portfolio tracker like you do your Facebook page and check daily. Breathe, relax, and let the computers do the work.