Keeping tabs on how much you are saving and earning isn’t easy, but there are several online and mobile tools you can use to organize and track your ever-growing portfolio of 401(k) and IRAs plans, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF) and annuities.
Tracking tools are comprehensive. Find out how to meet your goals, instead of settling for retirement calculators that show you how much you need and not how to get there.
Here is a brief introduction to five retirement tracking tools, describing their uses and advantages. Evaluate the service you choose by ensuring it is cost-effective, secure, easy to understand, and capitalizes on the resources you already have.
1. Personal Capital: Launched 2011; Available for desktop, iPhone, Android
Personal Capital works as an aggregator, assisting you in tracking and understanding your accounts. It connects everything from credit cards to bank accounts and investment accounts. They create graphics that show asset allocation, investment returns and projected investment fees; provide excellent security, keeping your account protected with logins and encryption, and include a cash manager.
It’s similar to Mint.com, but with added investment advice. The service uses financial advisors who help clients move assets to take account of tax savings. There are free and paid options, with annual investment management fees based on the amount of your holdings.
2. Manilla.com: Launched 2011, Available as website, mobile app for iPhone and Android, and works seamlessly on iPad
Manilla is the leading, free and secure service that lets consumers manage and share their bills and accounts — including retirement accounts — in one place. Using just one password, Manilla lets you manage your bills, utilities, financial accounts, travel and rewards programs, magazine and Netflix subscriptions, healthcare accounts, and more. Manilla automatically retrieves and files your account documents, and you can also manually upload any document or receipt, making it the complete digital mailbox service. You get text or email reminders when your bills are due, and now with Manilla Bill Share, you can securely collaborate on bill and account management with friends and family.
3. Jemstep: Launched 2011, Available as website
Jemstep is an online portfolio manager, providing personalized investment guidance for what you should buy and sell. The easy to understand site helps with everything from minimizing taxes and fees to finding high-quality investments. It seeks to find better investments than those you already have and alerts users when changes impact their portfolios.
What started as a mutual fund and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF) comparison tool grew into comprehensive account planning, including an evaluation of your 401(k) and an annuity calculator. Those who have an advanced portfolio will get the most benefit from this service. It offers a free basic service and remains free if your portfolio is less than $25,000. The paid option has monthly dues based on the size of your portfolio.
4. Betterment: Launched 2010; Available as desktop, iPhone, Android
Betterment is an investment advisor and brokerage that connects and evaluates all of your accounts. For example, you can link your checking account to diversified stock and bond holdings and it will invest and rebalance funds for you. The site has a visually appealing and straight-forward navigation, making for a pleasant investment experience.
The advisors working for Betterment choose asset allocations and invest the money for you, using their portfolio of low-cost index ETFs and other investments. They have stocks and bonds that are a mixture of Vangaurd and iShare products. If you don’t want to spend time researching ETFs, this is a good plan for you. You can also roll over an IRA, 401(k) or inherited annuity (through a trustee-to-trustee transfer) into your Betterment account. There are three levels of plans, which decrease in fees when you invest more.
5. FutureAdvisor: Launched 2012; Available as desktop
FutureAdvisor is designed to give investment guidance and analyze your portfolio based on performance, tax-efficiency and fee-efficiency. It tracks taxable accounts, like IRAs, traditional Roth, rollover and SEP IRAs, brokerage accounts and often chooses index investment over active management. It uses Fidelity and TD Ameritrade accounts.
Unlike some advisory services, this one utilizes 401(k) assets by looking into your accounts and offering recommendations. Then, it will give you comprehensive rebalancing advice, while still allowing you to make choices that the site does not recommend. Many choose the free DIY option, and others pay for premium options.
6. WealthFront: Launched 2011; Available as desktop, iPhone
Wealthfront is another financial advisory tool that emphasizes asset allocation with low fees. It rebalances your accounts based on asset performance. This site uses ETFs, mostly through Vanguard. While the portfolio it chooses is transparent, you are limited to the recommended investments, which are based on your responses to risk management questions.
If you already have a broad investment portfolio or have a smaller nest egg and are older, this is a good site for you. They manage your first $10K for free and have low fees for larger portfolios.
Alanna Ritchie has spent years studying, writing and learning to love the intricacies of the English language. Today, she works as a content writer for Annuity.org, where her primary focus is personal wealth management.
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