Getting Started with EquityStat Portfolio Manager

Quick Start Guide

Here is a quick getting started guide for using EquityStat’s portfolio manager.

emptyport

After you join EquityStat, you will be logged into your account.  Since you have no investments in your portfolio, you will see the page above.  From this page you can click the New Investment button to add a new investment to your portfolio.

After clicking the New Investment button, you will be presented a dialog where you can enter a buy transaction for your investment.  Using the dialog, enter the symbol of your investment, the date the purchase took place, the amount of shares purchased and the price for each share.  When finished click the Save button.  Once you have entered your first purchase, you can then enter other transactions such as other buys, sells and dividends.

portoverview

The image above shows a portfolio with several investments already entered.  The top table will show all of your investments along with data about the investments.  Below the investment table are the transactions for the selected investment.  You can sort your investments and transactions by clicking on a column heading.  In addition you can expand a column by putting your mouse between columns and then drag to lengthen the width of the column.  Above the investment table is a summary of the portfolio which will show you the total portfolio value, the total dollar return, the gain/loss for the day and the year-to-date return.

addtranport

If you want to enter a new investment that is not in your portfolio, click the New menu and then choose the New Investment menuitem.  If you want to add transactions to an existing investment, go to the transaction table below the investment table and click the Add button.  A new row will then be added to the transaction table where you can add a new buy, sell, dividend transaction as well as many other transaction types.  You can also edit an individual transaction by selecting the transaction and clicking the Edit button.  If you want to remove a transaction, click the Delete button.

hidesoldinv

If you have investments in our portfolio that have been sold and you don’t want them to show, click the three line graphic at the left and choose Hide Sold Investments menuitem.  This will hide any sold investments.  To view your sold investments click the graphic again and choose View Sold Investments.

 

 

 

 

Cost Basis

What is Cost Basis?

Investopedia defines cost basis as:

The original value of an asset for tax purposes (usually the purchase price), adjusted for stock splits, dividends and return of capital distributions. This value is used to determine the capital gain, which is equal to the difference between the asset’s cost basis and the current market value. Also known as “tax basis”.

Why is it important?

The IRS is requiring more and more reporting of your cost basis of your investment.  They also require your report the capital gains/losses of your investments. To calculate your capital gains you need to know your cost basis.

How do you calculate it?

On the surface calculating cost basis sounds easy. Just use the price you paid for your stock. For example, if you purchased a 100 shares of XYZ company for $120 then your cost basis is $120. However, things get complicated if you had 3 for 2 stock split. Also, what if you purchase an additional 50 shares for $90? What if you have a split, reinvest capital gains and purchases in a given year? What is your cost basis? Now things get really complicated.

How EquityStat makes things easier

With EquityStat all you have to do is enter your purchases, splits, capital gains and we will calculate your cost basis. Then when you sell your stock whether all of your shares or just some of your shares, we can easily calculate your gain or loss. You can then generate IRS Form 8949 that will show your cost for each investment you sold in the last year.

TurboTax and Investment Taxes

Do you use TurboTax to calculate your investment gains and losses?  Do you use TurboTax to generate form Schedule D or Form 8949?  If so be aware that TurboTax is now charging extra for these features.

In addition to paying $59.99 for the Deluxe version of Turbo tax, if you want to calculate your investment capital gains or losses from stock, mutual fund or ETF sales you will have to pay an additional $20 or $30.

You can read more about the changes to TurboTax here.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-intuits-catastrophic-turbotax-20150118-column.html

If you are looking for an alternative to TurboTax for calculating your capital gains or losses, checkout EquityStat.  With EquityStat you can generate IRS Form 8949 .  Form 8949 is used to report your short and long term capital gains and loses.  Once you enter your purchases and sales of your investments into EquityStat, you can then generate Form 8949 and use this form to fill out your Schedule D Form.

 

Investments, Taxes, Form 8949, Schedule D

Selling Investments and the IRS

The IRS is requiring more reporting when you sell your investments.  Specifically, they require you to report the investment cost, cost basis in investment terminology, and the gain/loss from the investment sale.  If you purchase 100 shares of a stock and sell 100 shares of the stock, your cost basis is easy to calculate.  Things get more difficult when you purchase shares in different lots.  For example, you purchase 100 shares in 2011, 50 shares in 2012, 200 shares in 2013 and sell 160 shares in 2014.

Form 8949

What is your cost basis in the above scenario?  This is not an easy calculation to do.  To make things even more difficult, you have to report both your short term gains and long term gains to the IRS separately.  Fortunately, EquityStat makes this easy.  EquityStat calculates your cost basis for each investment and can also generate IRS Form 8949 which is a report that shows your gain/loss on each investment sold.  Your tax preparer can then use Form 8949 to create the IRS Schedule D form.

To Generate Form 8949, click the Tools menu at the top of the portfolio and then click the Generate IRS Form 8949. Choose your tax year and EquityStat will generate the report showing both your short term and long term gain/loss on each investment you sold during the tax year.

 

 

 

How did your investments do in 2014?

According to the Wall Street Journal the best stock of 2014 was Southwest Airlines (LUV).  It was up 123%.  The worst stock of 2014 was Transocean (RIG).  It was down 62%.

You can see the list of best stocks here:

http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2014/12/31/5-best-stocks-of-2014/

You can see the list of worst stocks here:

http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2014/12/31/5-worst-stocks-of-2014/

How did your investments do in 2014?  What was your best stock?  What was your worst?

If you are not tracking your investment’s performance, consider using EquityStat.  With EquityStat you can track the overall performance of your portfolio as well as the performance of each individual investment.  EquityStat tracks the annualized return, daily gain, overall gain and many other metrics of your investments.  With these metrics you can easily determine what are your best investments and what are your worst investments.

Why Mutual Fund Investors Need a Portfolio Manager

If you own mutual funds why do you need a portfolio manager?  Why can’t you just use the tools your mutual fund provides?

Transaction History

Many mutual funds do not provide all of your transaction history.  They may provide up to 3 years of history but if you have owned your mutual fund longer than this, you do not have access to every transaction you have made.

Why is transaction history important?  One, you need a complete transaction history for tax purposes if you sell shares in your mutual fund.  Whenever you sell shares in a mutual fund you need to report to the IRS you gain or loss from to the sale.  Without a complete transaction history you cannot accurately report the gain or loss, which may effect your taxes.

You also want a complete transaction history so that you can track your mutual fund’s performance over the history of the investment, not just over a limited time.

Performance Evaluation

Many mutual funds will provide you the yearly return of the mutual fund but this may not be the return your investment has made.  For example, say you own the hypothetical mutual fund XRXRXR.  Let’s say XRXRXR price on January 1 is $100 a share and on December 31 it is $110 a share.  The mutual fund will report their yearly gain as 10%.  However, this does not take into account when you bought your shares.  Let’s say that on July 1 you buy shares at $90 a share.  Based on a closing price of $110/share, your gain is 22% and not 10%.  Or, let’s say you bought your shares at $120 a share.  Based on a closing price of $110/share, your loss is 8% and not a 10% gain.  If you rely on your mutual fund’s performance return it could be less or more than what you are actually earning.

EquityStat

With EquityStat you can view the complete history of your transactions.  In addition EquityStat gives you the ability to generate IRS form 8949 which will calculate any gains or losses on the sale of your mutual fund shares.

EquityStat will also calculate the annualized return on all of your investments.  This calculation is based on when you purchased and sold your shares, not what the mutual fund reports their return is.

MSN Portfolio Manager Discontinued

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft’s investment portfolio manager from MSN Money has been discontinued. At one time MSN Money’s portfolio manager was one of the best portfolio managers out there. If you were a previous user of MSNs portfolio manager and want an alternative, consider EquityStat’s portfolio manager.

We are hearing from a lot of frustrated former MSN portfolio manager users. Many of you have lost years and years of data.  If you read MSN Money’s forums, there is some discussion about users being able to get their MSN portfolio data into a spreadsheet.  If Microsoft does offer to do this, we will help any user getting their data into EquityStat.  Or if you already have your data in a spreadsheet, we can also help you.  You can also manually enter your transactions into EquityStat too.

In addition if there is any feature that you liked in the old MSN portfolio manager that is missing in EquityStat, let us know. We will seriously consider adding this feature as well as any other feature you might find useful.  Our goal is to keep enhancing EquityStat to give our users the features and services they want!

If you have any questions, please contact us using our support page.  We will answer any questions or comments you have.

 

 

 

Microsoft’s Portfolio Manager Discontinued

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft’s investment portfolio manager from MSN Money is being discontinued. At one time MSN Money’s portfolio manager was one of the best portfolio managers out there. If you were a previous user of MSNs portfolio manager and want an alternative, consider EquityStat’s portfolio manager.

EquityStat has many of the same features that the old MSN Money’s portfolio manager has. You can read about the similarities here.  If you try out EquityStat, you will find that it has many differences as well.

One of the main difference between EquityStat and Microsoft’s portfolio manager is Microsoft’s portfolio manager is written in Silverlight.  Silverlight is a web browser plugin that works with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser.  Unfortunately, other browsers like Apple’s Safari  do not support Silverlight.  This means that you cannot use Microsoft’s portfolio manager on Safari.  Since Safari is the web browser for iPads and iMacs, you cannot use Microsoft’s portfolio manager on Apple platforms.

In comparison, EquityStat is written in HTML.  This means that EquityStat can run on any platform that supports a commercially available web browser.  So, you can use EquityStat’s portfolio manager on a Windows PC, Windows tablets, Apple iMac, iPad, Android tablets,  and any other computer or device that has a web browser.

If you were a previous user of Microsoft’s portfolio manager and are looking for a replacement, checkout EquityStat.

 

 

 

Microsoft Investment Portfolio Discontinued

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft’s investment portfolio manager from MSN Money is being discontinued. At one time MSN Money’s portfolio manager was one of the best portfolio managers out there. If you were a previous user of MSNs portfolio manager and want an alternative, consider EquityStat’s portfolio manager.

EquityStat has many of the same features that the old MSN Money’s portfolio manager has. You can read about the similarities here.

There are a lot of differences between EquityStat’s and Microsoft’s portfolio manager too. Here are some of the features found in EquityStat’s portfolio manager that you won’t find in Microsoft’s portfolio manager.

  • Easily see how your portfolio is performing.
    At the top of your portfolio you can easily see your total portfolio value, the total return and the gain for the day.  You don’t have to click around to find this information, it is the first thing you see when you login to your account.
  • Performance calculations for each investment and the overall portfolio.
    For each investment you can see the current market value, the overall gain of the investment, today’s gain, the annualized return and many more calculations.
  • Easily view, add, edit and delete transactions for each investment.
    All of your transactions for each investment are grouped together which you can easily view, add, edit and delete.
  • Filter out your sold investments.
    Easily show and hide your sold investments which gives you a historical view of your portfolio or a view of your currently held investments.
  • Change the columns displayed in your portfolio.
    Add and remove the columns you want to display in your portfolio.  For example, if you want to show an investment’s 52 week high or low you can easily add this data column to your portfolio.
  • A lot less scrolling.
    Our portfolio manager makes the most of your screen space.  As you expand or contract your browser window your portfolio manager does too.  No more scrolling around to see all of your portfolio’s data.
  • Import your investments from a spreadsheet or comma separated variable file (csv file).
    If you have your investment transactions in a spreadsheet, you can easily import them into your portfolio without having to manually enter all your transactions.
  • Generate tax forms for sold investments.
    If you have sold any stocks you can generate IRS Form 8949 which your tax preparer needs to calculate your capital gain taxes.
  • Export your investment transactions for safekeeping.
    When Microsoft discontinued their portfolio manager many users were unable to access their portfolio data.  With EquityStat you can easily export your transactions to a spreadsheet file which will give you a permanent backup of your data.
  • 24 hour 7 day a week support.
    Have a question or need help? Just send an email to our support staff.
  • View on any computer or device.
    Our portfolio application is written in html not in a proprietary language that only Windows computers can utilize.  This means your portfolio can be viewed on any computer or device that supports a commercially available web browser.
  • Simple with a singular focus.
    EquityStat’s goal is to provide a powerful yet simple to use portfolio manager.  Our focus is not about generating page views or driving traffic to news pages.

$72 million High School Stock Investor Hoax

This week New York magazine reported that a New York high school student made $72 million investing in the stock market.

For a 17 year old to make $72 million from a $1000 investment, many experts calculated he would have to have returns in excess of 500% for 7 straight years. That means he would have to double his money every one to two months for 7 years straight. Yahoo Finance analyzes these returns in the article below.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/a-high-school-senior-did-not-make–72-million–jeff-make-164536104.html

How is your investment portfolio performing? Do you know what your annualized return is? Do you have your investments scattered among brokerages and mutual funds and are unable to view your entire portfolio at once?

Check out EquityStat’s portfolio manager and get up to the minute analysis of your entire investment portfolio’s performance.