The 5 Best Investment Tracking Apps

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Last updated on July 31, 2018 Views: 1100 Comments: 18

We’ve reviewed several investment tracking apps. There are many free apps, but most offer only minimal investment-related services. We’ve zeroed in on what we believe to be the five best investment tracking apps. In our opinion, the top app is SigFig. It’s also a free service, but it offers tools and features with the most tangible benefits for the largest number of investors. The app is also highly regarded in many other online evaluations.

The average return on the broad stock market–measured by the S&P 500–has been about 10% for the past 90 years. It’s highly likely very few individual investors are matching that average return. A big part of the problem is difficulty in managing multiple investment accounts.

If you’re like most investors, you probably have a taxable brokerage account or two, a mutual fund or two, an IRA, a current 401(k) plan, and maybe one or two 401(k) plans you haven’t gotten around to doing anything with.

With that type of “portfolio,” your money is sitting in several different “cookie jars.” While it may be possible to track what’s going on in each account individually, it’s a real nightmare getting a handle on the big picture. Investment tracking apps can help you track several investment accounts on a day-to-day basis. That’s the only way you’ll know how your investments are performing, and where you may need to make changes to improve that outcome.

At-A-Glance

  • Best for serious investors: Morningstar (with SigFig a close second!)
  • Best for casual investors, more interested in general financial management: Mint
  • Best for ongoing portfolio management: SigFig
  • Best for customer support: SigFig
  • Best app for investment analysis: Personal Capital

Our Investment Tracking Top Pick

Though it was close, SigFig comes up as the winner. It’s a free app, but it comes with a number of first-class investment tools and features.

Some of the reasons for our decision include the apps ability to:

  • Automatically track accounts with more than 80 different investment firms.
  • Perform real-time tracking, not just of the investments you hold in your portfolio, but also of news, information, and late-breaking stories.
  • Find hidden fees in your accounts.
  • Determine both your exposure to individual securities, as well as the level of risk in your overall portfolio.
  • Connect with customer service, either by phone or live chat.
  • Switch over to a low cost, fully managed robo-advisor function, if you decide you need professional management.

 

Our Investment Tracking Runner-up

This really was a close evaluation. SigFig may have come out on top, but only by a nose. Our choice for runner-up is Personal Capital. It has many similar features to SigFig, including the ability to shift over to a managed portfolio option. The single factor that shifted our opinion in favor of SigFig was that the advisory fee on Personal Capital’s wealth management option is much higher.

But Personal Capital is an excellent choice nonetheless. In fact, it’s probably the world’s largest investment tracking app, with at least twice as many users as SigFig. You really can’t go wrong with either app.

Our Selection Methodology

We used the following methodology to determine what we believe to be the five best investment tracking apps:

  • Number of investment tools available on each app
  • Relevancy of the tools and features provided
  • Investment assistance provided, short of using a paid management service
  • Cost of the app
  • Availability of additional services, including direct portfolio management, budgeting, or overall financial management
  • Reviews by third parties

The 5 Best Investment Tracking Apps

1.    SigFig Portfolio Tracker

SigFig is primarily a robo-advisor platform, providing automated portfolio construction and management. But they also offer their Portfolio Tracker tool. It’s free to use, even if you don’t subscribe to the robo-advisor itself.

The Portfolio Tracker provides weekly email summaries on the performance of your investments. It also breaks down the week’s top movers, the latest portfolio news, and provides a graphic on how well your portfolio is performing. The service is being used by more than 750,000 investors to track over $300 billion in investments.

More than anything else, the tracker offers a high altitude picture of your investments. It doesn’t actively manage your portfolio, or make investment suggestions. It gives you an opportunity to view your various investment holdings on a single app.

When you subscribe to the Portfolio Tracker, you also get use of the following services:

Investment Account Sync

You can sync various brokerage accounts in the app. SigFig can sync accounts for more than 80 brokerage firms. That includes brokerage, retirement, and advisor accounts. You can enter the information either automatically or manually, giving you a holistic view of your entire investment life.

Real-Time Market Tracking

SigFig provides up-to-the-minute stock market quotes, news and commentary from over 500 sources.

External Analysis

This service enables you to find hidden fees in your portfolio, as well as determine if you might be overexposed to a single stock or industry. It will also alert you if you are taking too much or too little risk in your portfolio.

The Portfolio Tracker offers phone and live chat support. That’s not something you find in most free apps.

And of course, one big advantage with SigFig is if you decide you need investment management help, you can always opt to upgrade to the robo-advisor service itself.

2.    Personal Capital

Personal Capital might be the most popular investment tracking app. It has 1.6 million registered users, tracking $500 billion in assets. Much like SigFig, they also have an asset management component, but they offer plenty of free investment services, even if you don’t take advantage of the premium service.

Some of the services they offer for free include:

401(k) Fee Analyzer

This tool analyzes your 401(k) plan(s) and determines the level of fees you’re actually paying. This is an important tool, since employer-sponsored plans often have fees that are not entirely obvious to the plan holder. Not only does it show you the fees, but also how much you’re losing to those fees.

The fee analyzer can point you to less expensive investment options within your plan. But it might also be a signal that you’ll need to diversify your savings beyond your 401(k). That could mean opening an IRA, or even a taxable brokerage account, either with lower fees.

Investment Checkup

You enter your various investment accounts, and this tool will give you an evaluation of where you’re at. That will include portfolio target recommendations, rebalancing suggestions, and a determination of the risk level in your portfolio.

Retirement Calculator

This tool calculates your expected monthly retirement income, including projected Social Security income.

And once again, much like SigFig, you always have the option to take advantage of the premium investment management service.

3.    Morningstar  

Morningstar has one of the most comprehensive investment apps available. You can set up an online portfolio, and also get access to ratings on both stocks and funds.

It has a feature called “Portfolio X-Ray”, that shows you what your actual holdings are. That is, they provide you with the breakdown of the individual stocks held within that fund. For example, if a fund is holding 100 stocks, the tool will show you what those stocks are, and the dollar amount that each represents in your fund position.

This ability can be more important than it seems at first glance. If you hold several funds, you should want to know if there’s a duplication of stock holdings within those funds. For example, you may find that seven of 10 funds you’re invested in have substantial positions in the FAANG stocks – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. That awareness may cause you to change some of the funds you’re holding, to avoid being too heavily concentrated in a small number of stocks, regardless of how successful those stocks may be. It may also be a way of discovering that you’re not quite as diversified as you believe.

When you’re a subscriber to Morningstar you also get various support services. For example, you can get The Morningstar Guide to Mutual Fund Investing, or The Fund Investor Online. Morningstar has a wealth of services.

Morningstar also has a subscription fee. It’s $145 per year for the Morningstar Fund Investor Newsletter, or for the Morningstar Stock Investor.

4. Yahoo!Finance

Whatever your thoughts may be about Yahoo as a search engine, they have a pretty good finance app in Yahoo!Finance. It’s available for both iOS and Android, and absolutely free to use. What’s more, it has over 1 million users.

Since Yahoo!Finance has grown to be one of the primary business and investment news sites available, you’ll have access to new stories, commentary and investment information as it develops.

But the app itself enables you to get personalized information, in real time, for the specific investments you own and need to track. You can add stocks to watch lists, and get real-time quotes and news about them. But you can also track currencies, bonds, commodities, world indices, and futures. You can track the performance of any holdings you have, using interactive screen charts.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Yahoo!Finance app is that it does include ads. That’s part of the price you have to pay for free.

5.    Mint.com

Mint is well known as a budgeting software, and it’s one of the most popular budgeting apps available. That’s not the least of which because the services easy to use, and also completely free.

But if you’re primarily looking for a budgeting app, that also provides some measure of investment tracking, then Mint can get the job done.

You enter your accounts into the app, including taxable brokerage accounts, mutual funds, IRAs and 401(k) plans. The app will measure the performance of each account against various market benchmarks, letting you know where you stand.

The app also determines fees from your various accounts, including those charged by investment advisors. They’ll let you know how those fees will affect the long-term growth of your investments. They’ll also help you to see any that are unnecessary, helping you to reduce those fees wherever possible.

Mint will also provide you with the tools to help you manage your portfolio, though it’s not a particularly deep selection.

But if you want some level of investment tracking, along with budgeting, bill paying capability, account alerts, and even your free credit score, Mint is worth a close look.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing An App

What Works Best for You?

Though we’ve organized what we believe to be the five best investment tracking apps, investing is a highly personalized activity. You have to select the app that has the best tools and features for you.

Know Your Own Investment Style

If you’re an active trader, it may be worth paying an annual or monthly fee for a comprehensive investment tracking app. But if you’re more passive, a simple, free version will get the job done.

Too Many Features Can Do More Harm Than Good

If you have a relatively simple portfolio, and you don’t need a lot of tools, go for the apps that don’t have as many. Too many tools can confuse more than inform.

Do You Need a Pure Investment Tracking App or a Hybrid App

If you’re a serious investor, with a large, active portfolio, you’ll probably want to go with a pure investment tracking app. That will eliminate some of the “clutter” that results from additional services. On the other hand, if you’re comfortable combining services, like budgeting, a hybrid app will work well. In addition, if your portfolio is small and not particularly active, the hybrid app may work just fine for your needs.

Final Thoughts

If you only have one or two investment accounts, say a taxable brokerage account and an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, you may not have any need for a dedicated investment tracking app. This is particularly true if the account where your investments are being held provides similar tools and features.

But if you have three or more accounts, it can be very difficult to organize and track your investments in multiple locations. Perhaps the biggest advantage of investment tracking apps is their ability to take a diverse set of accounts, and convert it into a single comprehensive portfolio. That will enable you to make intelligent, long-term investment decisions, that will maximize the return on your investments.

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