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Any smart investor should outweigh the pros and cons before making any financial decisions, and personal investment portfolio management software should be no exception to this general rule. Some of the potential advantages of using a software program to track your investments are as follows:
- You may spend a lot less time hunting down interest rate increases and decreases on the Internet or through your favorite newspaper.
- You can input your stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments and calculate the gains (or losses) without keeping track of this aspect of your money using pencil and paper.
- A software program is independent of your brokerage, therefore it may offer you more peace of mind when it comes to a formula calculating possible future yields.
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Like investing in general, investment tracking software also has associated risks. Human nature in itself can also create its own set of disadvantages when it comes to any aspect of money.
- You could become complacent and not educate yourself thoroughly before selling investments or buying new ones. Remember that no computer program or person is infallible, and you should stay on top of trends in your investment sector(s) without becoming obsessive about them.
- You must be mindful to enter correct figures. A simple typo could render your investment software program useless depending upon your objective.
- While software is usually independent of a brokerage, don't allow your use of it to coerce you into totally dismissing your stockbroker or investment counselor. Balancing the advice you get from investment professionals, what you read on your own initiative, and any software calculations is essential to smart investing.
Always remember that investing holds absolutely no guarantees; you could gain a small fortune or lose a small fortune in a matter of hours or days.
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A Sampling of Available Investment Software Options
Now that you have reviewed the possible advantages and disadvantages of personal investment portfolio management software, you're ready to dive into the available options. Before buying any software, you should evaluate your personal spending plan and ensure you're not gambling your family's future on an expensive program.
Quicken Premier 2010 costs about $90 and is designed to track your financial portfolio and may also offer some useful investing tips. For example, this version of Quicken purportedly shows you ways to not only pick investments targeted toward your financial goals, but also methods to minimize taxes on investments. Those interested in buying the program can order an immediate download or a postal mailed CD-ROM.
Fund Manager at first glance may seem a little too extensive for the casual investor, though this software offers personal, professional, and advisor versions. You can also import files from Quicken, Microsoft Money, or a general text file. The personal version also includes features like tracking trailing stop loss alerts and the capability to export to tax software programs. As of 2010, using Fund Manager for 60 days is free. If you want to continue using the program after the trial period, a personal license costs $69.
Stator is another option available on the investment software market. Investors can choose to purchase lite, standard, or professional versions; as of 2010 the cost ranged from about $50 to $460 depending on the version selected. Lite version features include tracking of unlimited bank accounts, one investment portfolio, and online price updates. The program also includes a trader's diary-keeping feature.
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- "Quicken Premier 2010." http://quicken.intuit.com/personal-finance-software/premier-investment-management.jsp
- "Fund Manager." http://www.fundmanagersoftware.com/
- "Stator." http://www.stator-afm.com/