Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tracking your investments and more

I'm retired. My wife is sorta retired; She works the lunch hour at a neighbourhood daycare centre.

We both have RRSPs and when my wife retired she was given control of the retirement fund her employer operated for her. When I was bought out, I had two retirement plans shifted to my control. That's a total of five plans we must track, if you're counting.

Now, some of these plans are quite small. One given to me by Sun Media is worth about $250. Other plans hold our main retirement investments in retirement. Tracking five plans could be complex but it isn't. I have a Globe and Mail "My Portfolio" account.

I played with the Sun Media/Canoe portfolio tracker but was not impressed. The Globe and Mail got it right. For instance, dividend income and DRIPs are automatically calculated and added to "My Portfolio". Maybe this is now being done by SM/Canoe, I don't know, I haven't played with their portfolio tracker in years. (Maybe someone from SM/Canoe would like to comment on the strengths of their product?)

The Globe's "Watchlist" feature is a really handy. It will update while you watch, if the markets are open. I used the list to follow some ETFs for weeks before committing to invest. Click on the name of an investment and it brings up a screen showing a rich summary of everything related to the stock, ETF or mutual fund in question. Again, the quote shown is updated frequently, although it is delayed 15 minutes. Of course, this does not apply to mutual funds which are updated daily after the close of the markets.

I've been getting some assistance with managing my retirement money from a financial adviser at the ScotiaBank. I simply print out "My Portfolio" and bring it to the bank. One sheet details all our investments, my wife's and mine.

And best of all, the basic "My Portfolio" is free.

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