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The Best Free (and ‘Free’) Tools to Evaluate Your Portfolio

Choosing the best free tools to evaluate your portfolio can be challenging, even for more experienced retail investors. New financial technology (fintech) is constantly being developed, so today’s solutions may be significantly different tomorrow. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best tools available that you can use for free to evaluate your portfolio.

Self-managing your investment portfolio can be overwhelming if you don’t have the right tools and technology for the job. We’ve broken these tools down into five primary categories. Visibility of all your accounts is at the top of the list. That’s followed by allocation tools, portfolio analysis tools that show performance, modeling tools, and goal tracking apps.

Category #1: Best Free Tools to Evaluate Your Portfolio Visibility

Visibility is the ability to see all your accounts in one place. This is common in the personal finance space where data aggregation has been incorporated into most of the mobile apps in the personal finance space. The clear leader in this category is Empower, the portfolio visualizer app formerly known as Personal Capital. It gives users full transparency on all accounts.

Empower has a lot of experience as a leader in the visibility category. Eighteen years is a long time to stay on top in fintech. They’ve survived many years of data aggregation solutions that couldn’t quite get it right. Whie this app isn’t free forever, you do get a free 14 trial. If you sign up after that, the monthly subscription fee is $8.

Category #2: Best Free Tools to Evaluate Your Portfolio Allocation

Visualizing all your accounts in one place doesn’t necessarily give you an understanding of how your investments are allocated. Morningstar Portfolio Manager is the best tool for that. Their (free) “Instant X-Ray” component for portfolio tracking can show you your total net worth, all asset classes you’re invested in, and will separate brokerage accounts from held-away assets.

Analyzing your portfolio in this way when you first start investing may seem like overkill if you’re focused only on financial goals. Achieving those goals is dependent on your allocation mix. Morningstar is iconic in the portfolio management software space. They offer a 7-day free trial to try out Portfolio Manager, followed by a charge of $249 a year if you choose to keep it.

Category #3: Best Free Tools to Evaluate Your Portfolio Performance

Our choice in this category is Ziggma. They offer stock scores and a portfolio simulator to evaluate your risk tolerance, a selection of model portfolios, and a dividend tracker that lets you know which accounts are producing real gains and which are paying out high dividends. Their performance analytics show advisor-level metrics like revenue, EPS, and liabilities.

One of the elements that separates Ziggma from the pack is their users’ free access to quarterly data. For the new investor, quarterlies can give you the short-term insights you need to construct a basic portfolio. The free trial period at Ziggma is seven days, so you’ll have some time to see if your model works. Keeping it after the trial is over costs $9.90 per month.

Category #4: Best Free Tools to Evaluate Your Portfolio Modeling

Thank you for hanging around long enough for us to get to this category. You can put your credit cards away for this one. Portfolio Visualizer is one of the few investment portfolio management tools you can get totally free. No trial periods. No money required. It’s also our top pick for portfolio modeling. Feature-by-feature, it easily outperforms the rest.

Check out their features page before you sign up. The free version offers portfolio backtesting, Monte Carlo simulations, portfolio optimization, factor regression, asset analytics, and tactical allocation models. Their paid versions, which are either $30 or $55 a month, give you additional tools you can use for cash flow analysis and tax preparation.

Category #5: Best Free Tools to Evaluate Your Portfolio Goals

This was our toughest category to pick a clear winner in. Achieving your goals requires a financial planning tool that you can use to set targets and review milestones. Ultimately, we made our selection based on experience. Mint.com has been around since 2006. That’s an eternity in the fintech world. They’re still going strong, and they are 100% free.

Mint offers a bill payment tracker, budgeting tools, a subscription tracker, and an investment dashboard. Their aggregation is done through Intuit, so expect to see pop-up ads from TurboTax and QuickBooks. If you want to eliminate those, pay a subscription fee of 99¢ per month. The app is consumer friendly, technologically sound, and secure.

How to Properly Use These Free Tools

Empower, Morningstar Portfolio Manager, and Ziggma all offer short free trial periods followed by an automatic charge on your credit card if you choose to keep the account. Make sure you know how to cancel the account before that happens if you’re only using the tool as a free solution. You won’t get your money back on that first month once it’s been taken.

Portfolio Visualizer and Mint.com are completely free, so you can set those up anytime and incorporate them into your portfolio management strategy. We suggest using Mint to figure out your budget, then creating a model with Portfolio Visualizer tools. For a deeper analysis on asset allocation, run the completed model through Morningstar X-Ray. That’s free, too.

You will see some redundancies between these software applications, so you don’t need all of them. For instance, Mint and Empower are direct competitors. Their features are almost identical, but your user experience will differ for each of them. Choose the tools that feel comfortable to you. That’s what free trials are for.

The Bottom Line

It doesn’t take a huge software investment to properly manage your portfolio. The tools here are just a few of the many quality fintech apps available on the market today. You can also look to your email provider for assistance with this. Both Yahoo Finance and Google Finance offer a suite of portfolio management tools that can help you get started.

If you get overwhelmed, seek help from a professional financial planner or financial advisor. Dabbling in the investment world with some free tools is one thing. Being successful will require commitment and extensive research. Financial service professionals can offer both. Keep an open mind about that as you embark upon this journey to financial prosperity.

KevinDFlynn
KevinDFlynn
Kevin D. Flynn is a former financial professional, business coach, and freelance financial writer. He lives in Leominster, Massachusetts with his wife Evelyn, two cats, and ten wonderful grandchildren. When he’s not working, you’ll find him at the golf course or on his back porch reading classic sci-fi novels.
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