Everyone? That seems overly broad for a title. Well, almost everyone is online to some extent and all sorts of companies and websites have tools for investors. Some of those tools are designed to show you that you need professional (read paid) help. As a financial adviser that doesn’t sell products or manage money, my role is to provide unbiased advice. Here are six, relatively easy to use and popular online tools for everyday investors:
Yahoo Finance (YF) – I’ve been using this tool for 15 years even though our company pays for more sophisticated software and websites. I call YF “quick and dirty”. That means I can find out most of the information I need by just a few clicks and compare one mutual fund or index fund to another. It will do the same for stocks. You can also put your holdings into one or more portfolios and get up to date reporting. Yes, there are those ads, but nothing you can’t ignore. There are even YouTube videos you can watch to become a more accomplished user.
Bankrate.com (BR) – A long time personal favorite. I’m on this site almost daily to find the best high yield savings rates, mortgage rates, and several calculators. I especially like its mortgage amortization calculator and debt payoff calculator that we call snowball. Ad supported too, but that’s how it is free to you.
Morningstar.com (Mstar) – Although ad supported, the ads are modest in comparison to other sites. The grandfather of research on mutual funds with its star rating system which was extended over the years to stocks and exchange traded funds. There is a premium version you should try out for free for 14 days that expand the tools including analyst reports and future performance indicators. The stars Mstar has always used are for past performance.
MarketWatch.com (MW) – I not only visit this site almost daily, I follow it closely on twitter for very interesting articles on investing and other personal finance topics. The website also claims that you have a 20% chance of becoming rich. I don’t know about that, but they have a great stable of columnists like Chuck Jaffe and Quentin Fottrell known as the Moneyologist.
Seeking Alpha (SA) – This site offers opinions on all sorts of publically traded securities written by independent voices. You can track certain writers or securities. You can also track all the holdings in a portfolio to see new content on what you own or what you might want to own. It provides alerts for both writers and specific securities.
ETF.com – A more recent website to offer content about Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which have become more popular over the past decade as more investors and advisors became attracted to passive and active funds that trade when the markets are open, rather than after the markets are closed, when mutual funds are bought and sold. ETFs started off with lower internal expenses, but have been matched more and more by the mutual fund industry as a competitive reaction.