One of my brothers asked about tracking performance for the newly created portfolios 4 and 5 for the nephews that just reached the age that I set up a trust fund for them for the first time. I suggested the Google Finance gadget, rather than logging in to the web site that physically holds the stocks in their brokerage account.
The Google Finance gadget is shown in a screen shot above. Every time I click in to see the stocks it seems like Google is improving performance and features on this tool.
This screen shows (most) of the critical facts about your stock – your # of shares and the price you paid for them (which makes up your cost basis, excluding commissions, which I track on my page so that I can be perfectly accurate for tax time), your cumulative unrealized gain or loss (you don’t actually realize the gain or loss until you sell the stock, once again net of commissions) and that day’s gains or losses.
Entering data is easy – you just need to put in the stock’s price, and the number of shares. “Unclick” the cash box, because it makes it more complex with dividends, and then after you’ve added all of your stocks just estimate the cash value in your brokerage account as of that day and there you have it, an easy way to see your stocks at a glance. Every so often you need to change the cash holdings at the bottom to track dividends, but that is about it for complexity.
There is a second tab that you can click that shows the 52 week high and low for your stock, plus other market facts like capitalization. About the only fact that they don’t include that would be useful is the dividend yield, but I am sure that some time I will log in and it will be there, too.
Also they link all of your stock picks to news feeds so that just news feeds that are linked to your selections come up when you click on the detail page. You can just view the “summary” of this portfolio without drilling in to the details on a custom version of your google home page.
Once again I like this better than logging in to the site because for some reason they don’t show my basis and unrealized gains and losses on the main tab, although they are improving, as well.