For years, Google Finance was one of the best portfolio trackers available.
You could put in a list of stocks, including transaction information, and it would give you a snapshot in moments. It even kept a cash balance so that transactions could reflect an actual portfolio.
It was one of the go-to platforms for investment information and tracking stocks until they recently made a big change.
Launched in 2006, Google Finance became a primary platform for investors to monitor the markets and their own portfolios. It provided real-time stock charts, as well as news about individual companies.
Personally, my favorite part of Google Finance was that I could get a quick snapshot of my portfolio and read up on any breaking news if I saw any major changes. I didn't treat it as a serious investment research tool but a quick snapshot. It did a marvelous job too before they scaled it back significantly. 🙁
But after an encouraging start, the platform largely stagnated, getting only minor improvements.
In 2017, Google Finance underwent some significant changes that mostly reduced the amount of information provided. One big change was reducing the number of publicly traded companies it tracked on a regular basis.
It still provided company information, like stock charts, but contained far less information than it once did.
In its final form, it is now best suited for new and casual investors.
Before the 2017 update, Google Finance Portfolios provided full tracking capability and even allowed you to compare the performance of individual stocks against market indices. It also provided upcoming events, including earnings dates. And it regularly reported information on nearly every stock on markets throughout the world.
Individual company profile pages showed the full range of company statistics, including P/E ratio, trading volume, and dividend yield. It also provided a list of company executives and links to news services. The platform had an excellent stock screening tool that enabled investors to find companies based on specific criteria, such as market cap and dividend yield. You could even search for news and traffic trends for industry sectors, to determine where investor interest was gathering.
All of that was gone with the new Google Finance, forcing investors to find alternative platforms.
Fortunately, there are plenty. I've identified at least six free alternatives (they have premium versions) and each is worth investigating.
How it works. MSN Money has rapidly developed into one of the most popular investment tracking platforms. It can be used to set up watchlists of companies to follow, while providing stock updates, real-time trading figures and the latest financial headlines. You can also track personal finances, and get information on investments other than stocks, including bonds, currencies and commodities.
It provides extensive news from around the financial world, as well as investment tools and calculators.
Like most of the other platforms on this list, MSN Money is free to use. It's available on the web, as well as on iOS and Android mobile devices.
- Investing tab provides general market news, as well as news on specific companies, and especially on the top stocks.
- Real time tracking of markets and stocks.
- Provides content on related topics, like real estate, careers, and small business.
- The main pages of the platform are relatively ad-free, especially when it comes to those annoying pop-up ads.
- Valuable tools, like a mortgage calculator, retirement planner, and savings calculator.
- Excellent analysis of market sectors, such as high dividend yields, price-earnings ratios, and market capitalization.
- Many of the drop down menus offer duplicate content, mainly articles and commentary.
- Personal Finance content is aggregated from around the web, including blocks. There's little in the way of original content.
How it compares with Google Finance. MSN Money Outshines it on the sheer volume of information and tools it provides. This is particularly true of the ability to track individual stocks, as well as to get news and comprehensive information.
How it works. Yahoo! Finance is a much more mature platform than Google Finance, having been launched all way back in 1994. It's available for mobile devices and tablets, as well as the web version. The homepage might be the best organized in the space. Major market indices are across the top of the page, followed by breaking news stories. The remaining content appears in a neat column below, allowing you to scroll down.
From an investment standpoint, the primary information is in the right-hand column. That's where they list the most active and biggest performing stocks, as well as mutual funds, ETFs, currencies, commodities, and even options.
From the drop-down menu, you can take advantage of My Portfolio to zero in on your own investments. There are also screening tools for stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, and even indexes. Meanwhile, you can easily drill down on industry sectors.
- The homepage is very well organized, making it easy to go exactly where you want.
- There are fewer drop-down tabs at the top of the page, making it less confusing, and easier to get to where you want to go.
- The site has extensive financial news and personal investing tools.
- The simplicity of the site makes it perfect for new and inexperienced investors, and anyone who prefers less complication with their investment tracking.
- Much of the editorial content is made up of sponsored posts. It can be hard to determine the difference between legitimate content and ad posts.
- Much of the sponsored content has a definite “clickbait” orientation.
- The site is heavy on ads, including pop-ups, which can be more than a little bit distracting.
- Limited stock charting capabilities.
How it compares with Google Finance. Like most of the other personal finance websites on this list, Yahoo! Finance has substantially more content and tools than Google Finance. It also has a more comprehensive feel to it. Where it underperforms Google Finance is in stock charting capabilities. The differences isn't dramatic, but it's there
How it works. Investing.com is internationally based, with locations in Spain, Cyprus, and Israel. It was launched in 2007, just one year behind Google Finance. It's available for Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as the web version. It was originally designed to be a FOREX platform, but later expanded into other investment categories, including stocks, bonds, futures, options, currencies, cryptocurrencies and commodities.
The platform provides streaming quotes, technical data, extensive chart capabilities, and financial news and analysis. It differs from other investment platforms on this list in that the homepage is dedicated primarily to market results and financial data. To get financial news, you actually need to access the News drop-down tab. You can set personal portfolio preferences on the Portfolio tab.
- The homepage gets directly to the point, with the important financial information. There's little guesswork with this platform.
- Investing.com departs from the typical investing website format of centering around news stories, which may be of little interest to individual investors.
- The level of detail in both information and tools is impressive compared to other platforms.
- Ads on the website are relatively limited, compared to the competition.
- Like Yahoo! Finance, the platform contains a significant amount of sponsored content on the homepage.
- The site, when we accessed it, seemed a little sluggish.
How it compares with Google Finance. Where Google Finance has become a limited platform, Investing.com is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The platform offers considerable detail, including information and tools. It's an excellent website for more advanced investors.
How it works. Morningstar is one of the most respected names in the investment industry, and commonly used as a source of information by other services. In fact, the company is perhaps best-known for providing investment research and management services. As a management firm, it has $220 billion in assets under management.
The company also offers a variety of premium services, including StockInvestor, DividendInvestor, FundInvestor and ETFInvestor, for investors looking for more specific information and guidance.
The homepage has a simpler format than other platforms, which is interesting considering the diversity of services the company provides. Basic market information is at the top of the page, then followed a limited amount of commentary. The basic market information seems to be more limited than other sites, however you do have the capability to drill down into specific investments and tools within the site.
Unfortunately, the more valuable content of the platform is for paid members only.
- Morningstar is one of THE sources of investment information and ratings for other platforms and investment services.
- You can access as much or as little investment information and services as you choose.
- The platform has concentrations for specific investments, that are often more extensive than what is available on competing sites.
- The homepage is simple and extremely easy to navigate.
- Ads on the site are very limited, probably because of the premium services Morningstar provides.
- Much of the most valuable tools and information require a paid subscription.
- It can be annoying to engage the platform, only to be stopped by a subscription required notification.
- The platform seems to be set up to whet your appetite, then draw you into a subscription.
How it compares with Google Finance. Morningstar is a platform for the more committed investor, who is willing to spend some money getting access to the tools and information desired. Google Finances is at the opposite end of the spectrum, in that the information and services, while free to use, are much more limited.
How it works. Personal Capital may have become the most popular personal finance platform in the industry by virtue of the fact that it advertises its services virtually everywhere – websites, blogs, and throughout YouTube videos. It's different from the other platforms on this list in that it's a specific application, rather than an information source for the general public.
Personal Capital comes in two versions, its Free Tools and Wealth Management. Free Tools is the one most comparable to the other platforms. It enables you to aggregate your entire financial life on the platform, providing limited budgeting capabilities. But it does provide extensive investments tools, such as the Free Analyzer that exposes hidden fees in mutual funds, and the Retirement Planner that helps you prepare for retirement.
It offers a dashboard where you can sync all your financial accounts, including bank accounts, investments, and loans. It can even provide recommended portfolio allocations, though it doesn't manage them.
If you do want direct investment management, Personal Capital provides that through its Wealth Management service. Not to be confused with a robo-advisor, this is more of a technology-assisted investment management service, but at a much lower fee than traditional investment advisors.
- It's a financial aggregator where you sync your accounts and it loads your portolio holdings automatically.
- The free version can be used to stay on top of your entire financial situation, including your investments.
- The free version also offers valuable tools, that can provide portfolio allocation recommendations, analysis of mutual fund fees, and retirement planning tools.
- Unlike the competition, the Personal Capital platform isn't crowded with third-party ads.
- Personal Capital is purely financial and investment management platform, that avoids the news and commentary typical of other platforms.
- You have the option to go with a professionally managed investment service (if that's what you choose to do).
- The Wealth Management service will even make recommendations for the management of your employer-sponsored retirement plan, though it won't manage it directly.
- Personal Capital is radically different from other platforms on this list. If you're looking for the typical news and commentary format, it isn't here.
- Though the free version offers substantial investment management tools, the best service level is provided by the premium Wealth Management version.
How it compares with Google Finance. It doesn't. While Google Finance is a general application platform, Personal Capital is tailored to the individual's complete financial situation, which includes investing.
How it works. Much like Personal Capital, SigFig has little in common with the other platforms on this list, especially Google Finance. It's actually an online portfolio manager, or put another way, a robo-advisor. It works specifically with accounts held at either Fidelity or Charles Schwab. It analyzes and manages your portfolio, providing balanced asset allocations and minimizing fees.
The platform requires a minimum initial investment of $2,000, and charges a fee of 0.25% per year. However, the first $10,000 is managed free. It can accommodate both taxable investment accounts as well as retirement accounts. In addition to the web version, it's also available for iOS and Android mobile devices.
- Like Personal Capital, you sync your accounts and it loads up your portolios automatically.
- The first $10,000 is managed free, which means virtually anyone can get the benefit of direct investment management cost-free.
- You'll have unlimited access to SigFig investment advisors.
- Since it's not an information source, the platform has no ads.
- Manages both taxable investment accounts and retirement accounts.
- SigFig is an inexpensive way to manage your investments. A $100,000 portfolio can be professionally managed for just $225.
- If you're looking for free news and information, you won't find it on this platform.
- Unlike the other platforms on this list, there are no free tools to help you with self-directed investing.
How it compares with Google Finance. Like Personal Capital, SigFig has nothing in common with Google Finance. It's an investment management platform, rather than a general news source, with tools for self-directed investing.
In today's technology-driven investment world, there are all kinds of personal finance platforms available.
There are free sites with news, information and tools, primarily for self-directed investors. This is the niche that Google Finance once filled to a greater degree than it does now. But it's been eclipsed by the competition.
And there are now services, like Personal Capital and SigFig, that go beyond providing information and tools. They offer direct investment management as a premium service.
It's always good to have options, especially when it comes to investing.