Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ask Matt: Best ways to track your portfolio

USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at

Q: What are good ways to track my portfolio?

A: Investors love to think about all their winning stocks. But if they're not careful, they might forget about losers and lose sight of how they're actually doing.

Careful tracking of investment returns is a critical skill successful investors have. It's not enough to just glance at daily changes in stock prices. Good investors know they must monitor their portfolios over a long period of time.

TRACK YOUR STOCKS: Get real-time quotes with our free Portfolio Tracker

That's not as easy as it sounds, since events like deposits, withdrawals, dividends and splits can cause complications. Investors might think that looking at the performance area of their brokerage Web site will keep them informed. Most brokerage Web sites, though, currently give just basic performance tracking information.

Investor familiar with building spreadsheets can always track portfolios that way. But for investors looking for the easiest way to get portfolio tracking with the most precision, it's hard to beat Intuit's Quicken. Quicken is the last surviving personal finance software that has advanced features investors need to monitor their investments.

Some Web sites and their matching apps, like Personal Capital and SigFig, are catching up with features in Quicken. These sites are designed to give you quick access to portfolio performance with very little setup. These tools, however, require you to share all your usernames and passwords, which some users are fine with, while others are not. And they lack the power, in some areas of Quicken.

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