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Fred114
26-02-2012, 04:25 PM
Hi. I'm wanting a recommendation for tracking software. I am very new to financial markets and I'm grow(n)ing to realize how important it is have an understanding of financial instruments, the risks and benefits. I have recently talked with two financial advisers, which was an interesting experience. The first was 'discretionary', they worked using their discretion to invest money on my behalf. She wanted a $750 fee for a report, which basically laid out an understanding of our financial position in relation to our life circumstances. I asked for a sample report and it came with little insight. The most important part was the expected return. There was no explanation of how that return would be provided, just a .4% commission fee. It was not explained to me what 'discretionary' meant. That came from the alternative adviser who used it as a term of derision towards the other lot. This guy from McQuarie or some other place laid out a no obligation plan of where to invest. The problem with this approach is having some insight into the market, which of course they wanted you to pay for, about 1.25% of the portfolio size, plus $100 brokerage. I thought instead that I would attempt to do this all myself, but it takes some effort to get up to speed. I've read on this forum for example, that bonds offer a better return over term investments, but you do need to look carefully at both the company and the bond offer. I am still wanting to accept advice, but the sort that I feel comfortable with. I suspect the sort of people on this forum like to do it themselves as much as possible. It is not inevitable that financial advisers are expendable. It is difficult getting an understanding of how that currently works.

Someone suggested that spreading term investments around institutions is a good idea and then laddering them for effect. I have a lot of trouble keeping track of expected returns, at a glance. I wondered if someone could recommend software out there to mange my portfolio of bonds, shares and term inv.

Thanks,
Fred.

Halebop
26-02-2012, 05:29 PM
Welcome to the forum Fred.

Good luck with your search.

I've despaired at different options which either aren't flexible enough or are too detailed and time consuming to configure. Opted to slowly build up my own using Access, Excel and VBA. It's always a (slow) work in progress with new additions in the works and old functions being discontinued. Have never attempted to predict returns, preferring to benchmark (very important!) and measure them.

Early on I just used a spreadsheet and some formula. Perhaps a simple approach like this would help? At least it clarifies what functions you want to see or use

Will be interested to see what others do?

Lizard
27-02-2012, 06:44 AM
Hi Fred.

I haven't come across any good software yet either. I use my own spreadsheets and don't have enough computing ability to do anything more than basic Excel functions (no automatic data feed etc). I have several portfolios, both with holdings in the FIF regime, so end up with two spreadsheets per portfolio - one to track holdings and one for tax purposes. All in all, it's unwieldy. I seem to spend nearly as much time getting the spreadsheets rolled over each year and keeping them updated (and then completing tax returns) as I do on finding investments and decision making. Still, it would be chaos without them.

The best I have come across has been Sharesight (http://www.sharesight.co.nz/). However, although I've signed up for a trial occasionally, I've never actually used it - as would need to put so much data in there to get started (plus the free trial will only accommodate 10 holdings). Once committed to it, it is difficult to go back unless spend the time dual-recording everything until satisfied. I suspect it handles listed bonds, but perhaps not unlisted and doesn't seem to have room to add in term deposits or bank account balances, so would still need a spreadsheet for the overview.

I've seen this one when googling: isoftware (http://www.isoftware.co.nz/)
However, no idea if it works or is useful - I use a Mac, so no use to me. It looks like it might handle other assets besides shares though. But maybe no direct access to market data.

Anyway, will be interested to hear if anyone has a good solution!

Other suggestion is to consider using Funds as an in-between to using a Financial Advisor or a DIY approach. Morningstar Fund Selector (http://www.morningstar.co.nz/NZTools) may be useful if interested.

OldRider
27-02-2012, 12:03 PM
Fred: Perhaps it might be an idea to look at Lic's. There are many listed on ASX, you can find them listed with details
on ASX website. They will look after all management for less than 0.25%. rather less then a financial advisor.

A reasonable selection is available with some specializing in a particular area - Large, small, or microcap mining, etc. I find they make a
good foundation to which one can add more of one's own selections.

Fred114
27-02-2012, 12:50 PM
Thanks for the reply Old Rider. I have around $10,000 in Aussie Foundation (AFI). I like your thinking. In fact I inherited a large amount of money last September, and find myself with around $90,000 in shares. Would you like to comment on the rest of the portfolio?

I find the problem of inheritance not discussed, and is really one about overcoming isolation, which is an important thing. Being dropped into dealing with large amounts of money is very difficult, albeit an uncommon situation. I don't know anyone who I associate with having any wealth. Most are young families with a mortgage. Admitting as much to them would emphasis a difference for which the world is very ready to embrace. In a recent interview (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,812208,00.html)Francis Fukuyama wrote that:

SPIEGEL: Even if members of the middle class held on to their jobs, they saw their income stagnate or even decline, while a few of globalization's winners at the top reaped outsize rewards. The level of income inequality in advanced nations is greater than ever before. What effect does that have on our societies?
Fukuyama: It is not good for democracy. If income is relatively evenly distributed and there are not very sharp differences between rich and poor, you have a greater sense of community. You have a greater sense of trust. You do not have parts of the community that have superior access to the political system that they can use to advance their own interests ...
SPIEGEL: all of which undermines the democratic process.
Fukuyama: What you are going to see in a democracy with a weaker middle class is much more populism, more internal conflict, an inability to resolve distributional issues in an orderly way. In the United States right now, you do have this return of populism. It should be on the left, but actually most of it is on the right. If you talk to Tea Party members about their feelings regarding the government, they are very passionate. They hate the government. They think they have been betrayed by elites.


Social exclusion and state privilege for a few is something I oppose. It is very difficult to take the advice of financial institutions at face value, when there is so much temptation towards DIY, a symptom perhaps of living in a liberal open economy like NZ. It challenges my perspective on the world, one that I wasn't expecting to ever have to deal with. I guess like many things, I'm tired of having to know about things that don't strengthen my understanding of the world. On the other hand, I can never escape the world.

Lizard
27-02-2012, 02:28 PM
Fred,

Don't feel guilty. Someone has given you the opportunity to have a degree of choice and freedom that you may not otherwise have had. Use it wisely - and consider that those with the privilege of money and time often have the ability to make a special contribution to society.

The isolation your are feeling comes to anyone who moves beyond the "norm" of their social circle. One way or other, it will abate.

However, looking after money can be a surprisingly anxious task (especially surprising to those who've never had it). Anxious because losses are almost unavoidable in one form or another. As you note, we are mostly DIY types here - probably because most of us have found money is too easily lost in the hands of others.

A portfolio is a very individual thing - it has to depend a lot on size, circumstances, personality and environment. The main thing if you are relatively new is to spread it around different asset classes and different assets within those classes - and it sounds like you are sensibly considering that.

(PS Old Rider would be an excellent person to comment on a portfolio if he takes you up on the request)

h2so4
27-02-2012, 04:25 PM
OK so we all have different problems. Instead of foccusing on the problem accept the reality and look for a solution. Your choices will be infinite and as you cross off your options more and more solutions will appear. You have already crossed out some options but more will appear until you find the one that fits with YOU.

You don't have to know. Put the money in a bank account and forget about it, maybe that's an option.

Fred114
27-02-2012, 07:06 PM
I wanted to comment on the last reply and I'm hoping that Old rider will accept my earlier request.

I see that ignoring my problem and replacing it with 'a reality' as suggested could serve as a useful warning to us all. We should be aware that money is more abstract than a physical object that we can actually see in our reality. When we talk about money we mean the concept of money and all that entails, which is abstracted from the actual world. Since we can only perceive this in our mind, it affects the way we think. It is a naive understanding of reality that tricks us into thinking we are "monied", ie. now taming the world with material wealth such as fast cars, flash houses and nice clothes. We can do that, but I see investment as a conserving force, which is not an obvious choice to make. Lizard was very wise to suggest I can make a contribution to society. So far, I have really struggled to do that. Am I a different person before I had wealth? Of course. Am I able to take things significant from my past such as living without wealth? I am struggling to do that. So far I have stuck to bank deposits, but as Lizard noted, connecting with like-minded people is very worthwhile. Richer options will hopefully appear.

jmsnz
27-02-2012, 08:38 PM
Fred,

Back to the original questions, I use Sharesight (http://www.sharesight.co.nz/) and like what it does. For me the big advantage is having it automatically load trades and dividends that with most other solutions would be a manual task. It has an 'other' class of investment that I use for the manually recording non-share investments and bank accounts, so that I can get consolidated reporting accross my whole portfolio.

I got to Sharesight as a somewhat reluctant DIYer with the realisation that nobody would look after my (limited) money as well as I would following a couple of not so succesful relationships with investment 'advisors'. Taking control myself means that when I get it wrong it is my responsibility, but to be honest I am probably no more wrong than those I would have paid anyway. As a reminder of that, and a spur to take responsibility, I still hold a few GPG shares on which I am making a spectacular loss - every time I doubt myself and/or think DIY is all too hard I just look at that and find renewed energy!

Good luck!

OldRider
28-02-2012, 07:29 AM
Fred: I am a little hesitant about making any particular comments, I am still wrong too often and don't want to foist my shortcomings onto others. As I look back over life it is discomforting to realise how many contrary views I have now compared to those held in my younger years, and it still goes on. As well the best plans don't always turn out as we expect.
You are in at the deep end, it is surely both enviable and unenviable.

I remember someone saying, that in business, and investing is I think a business, that when one with money deals with another with experience, the one with experience usually leaves with more money, and the one with money usually leaves with more experience, at least I have rather a lot of experience. It is your task to get the experience for the least cost, and there will surely be a cost. The best we can aim for is a reducing loss/profit ratio

However, your situation is not one we usually expect to happen or plan for, so if I can help I will try. Life is busy in retirement so I don't normally visit the forum each day, and it often takes me a day or so to get around the family tasks, I have never used the personal message part of the forum, but think it is probably best it we communicate through this, hope I can figure it out, then you can choose what you may want to post here.

CJ
28-02-2012, 07:45 AM
Back to the original questions, I use Sharesight (http://www.sharesight.co.nz/) and like what it does. I am currently trialing it and think it is a good product. I am using the trail version (limit to 10 shares) just to see what I think. It is a bit expensive for those with small portfolios - I currently hold 11 shares in only one portfolio but those with more or multiple portfolio (the cheapest package has 3 portfolios?) it would be more worthwhile.

It could definitely improve, maybe include unit trusts and bonds which would widen its appeal to many family trust type situations. Currently it really is only suited to those how only invest in listed shares.

As far as your prediciment goes, I would start slow. I dont know your age, the amount etc so hard to give specifics. Do you have a house with mortgage (if so have you paid that off). Then choose a few shares you like and have done a bit or research. Then add some over time but remember to review those you hold to see if you should sell. In the short term, keep the rest in short term deposits or use a high interest savings account. over time you will learn a more or just learn that you just want to give it to an investment advisor to look after.

Alternatively, you may which to split the sum up and look after some yourself and get an advisor to look after the rest. That is what my Parents have done and thanks to investing in BHP and a few other goodies, they have done much better than the advisor (who had a much more conservative and diversified investment strategy so is excusable to a point).

Fred114
28-02-2012, 08:18 AM
Thanks for your comments and insight. I appreciate your encouragement. A couple of users have contacted me on private email and I will trial sharesight. Thanks once again.

h2so4
28-02-2012, 12:03 PM
I wanted to comment on the last reply and I'm hoping that Old rider will accept my earlier request.

I see that ignoring my problem and replacing it with 'a reality' as suggested could serve as a useful warning to us all. We should be aware that money is more abstract than a physical object that we can actually see in our reality. When we talk about money we mean the concept of money and all that entails, which is abstracted from the actual world. Since we can only perceive this in our mind, it affects the way we think. It is a naive understanding of reality that tricks us into thinking we are "monied", ie. now taming the world with material wealth such as fast cars, flash houses and nice clothes. We can do that, but I see investment as a conserving force, which is not an obvious choice to make. Lizard was very wise to suggest I can make a contribution to society. So far, I have really struggled to do that. Am I a different person before I had wealth? Of course. Am I able to take things significant from my past such as living without wealth? I am struggling to do that. So far I have stuck to bank deposits, but as Lizard noted, connecting with like-minded people is very worthwhile. Richer options will hopefully appear.

From your perspective you are absolutely right. Richer options will appear and when you reach that space you will be in a different place.

Good luck with it Fred, I'm sure you will find a solution that fits your cause.

OldRider
29-02-2012, 07:19 PM
Fred: Came across this today, thought it might interest you. Data should be reasonably reliable, comes from good source.

Shows allocation of assets in Australian SMSF's

ATO has tables contain estimates of the amount of assets held by SMSFs for each type of asset
<< listed on the SMSF income tax and regulatory return (pre June 2008) and the SMSF annual return (June 2008 onwards). >>

http://www.ato.gov.au/superfunds/content.aspx?menuid=49150&doc=/content/00309172.htm&page=8&H8

I saw a summary for Dec 2011 derived from these data,with the major asset classes as follows
Equities............45.88%
Cash & TDs........28.74%
Bonds................0.64%
Other...............24.74%
(including property: Aust non-residential 11.39% ; Aust residential 3.72% ; Internat 0.05%)

looking closer at equity (which would include property trusts) :
listed trusts ............................. 4.92%
unlisted trusts............................9.02%
listed shares ............................ 30.51%
derivatives, installment warrants ..... 0.20%

--------------------------------------------------------
Cash and TDs have increased 2.5%, bonds pretty stable, while equities have dropped 3% in 12 months since Dec 2010

karen1
01-03-2012, 08:29 AM
Hi Fred,

There are those on this site with a wealth of knowledge and experience willing to help, just browsing will teach you much. An email I received today led me to this link

http://http://www.fma.govt.nz/ which may or may not be useful to you.

Also worth a browse would be: http://https://www.directbroking.co.nz/directtrade/static/home.aspx?gclid=CO-fuaKCxK4CFcODpAodIAK0Tg

Good luck in your quest.

Fred114
08-03-2012, 01:41 PM
I have been away from this forum for a week, but wanted to follow up on this message. Fred: Came across this today, thought it might interest you. Data should be reasonably reliable, comes from good source.

Shows allocation of assets in Australian SMSF's

ATO has tables contain estimates of the amount of assets held by SMSFs for each type of asset
<< listed on the SMSF income tax and regulatory return (pre June 2008) and the SMSF annual return (June 2008 onwards). >>

http://www.ato.gov.au/superfunds/con....htm&page=8&H8 (http://www.ato.gov.au/superfunds/content.aspx?menuid=49150&doc=/content/00309172.htm&page=8&H8)

I saw a summary for Dec 2011 derived from these data,with the major asset classes as follows
Equities............45.88%
Cash & TDs........28.74%
Bonds................0.64%
Other...............24.74%
(including property: Aust non-residential 11.39% ; Aust residential 3.72% ; Internat 0.05%)

looking closer at equity (which would include property trusts) :
listed trusts ............................. 4.92%
unlisted trusts............................9.02%
listed shares ............................ 30.51%
derivatives, installment warrants ..... 0.20%

--------------------------------------------------------
Cash and TDs have increased 2.5%, bonds pretty stable, while equities have dropped 3% in 12 months since Dec 2010

Were you offering this as a breakdown in an investment portfolio? I also noted that you had recommended LIC's such as AFI, or similar, as a unit trust....I have shares in AFI. I can't use them as a LIC?????
Sorry for confusion.....