BlogInvesting Tips

8 New Year's resolutions for investors in 2019

by Angela Thompson, Sharesight

Stock market experts are divided as to whether 2019 will be a bull or bear market. While no one can say for sure how things will land, there are a few things you can do to take more ownership of your portfolio and save some money in the process. So if getting your portfolio in order is a resolution for you this year, here are 8 very specific things you can do to help you get there:

1. Lower your management fees

Most of us know that management fees eat into returns, but like a lot of “life admin”, we don’t do anything about it. Make 2019 the year you invest in yourself by cutting back on investing-related fees.

For example, a typical managed fund might have a managed fee of 2%, whereas a comparable ETF could have fees around .2%. Over 20 years, an initial $10,000 balance with $500 monthly contributions and a 5% annual return will mean a difference of over $40,000! That’s because not only are you taking money out to cover the management costs, there’s also less money to compound over time.

screenshot - managed funds - fees

Source: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-apps/managed-funds-fee-calculator

2. Switch to a low-cost broker

Since every dollar counts (especially during a market downturn), it might be time to switch to a low-cost broker. Whether you’re trading often, or buying small parcels on a monthly basis, saving $5-10 per trade can really add up in the long run. Just do your research before switching to ensure your potential new broker has the features you’re looking for, including support for things like dividend reinvestment plans, email trade confirmations, third-party integrations, etc.

3. Track your dividends

Unless you’re 100% invested in growth stocks, you need to keep track of your dividends. They impact your returns and the tax you pay, so keeping track of them is essential. For example, if I was going by share price alone, I’d think my Canadian RRSP portfolio return was currently -1.71%. However because I track my portfolio using Sharesight – which automatically keeps track of my (reinvested) dividends – I can clearly see that my portfolio return is actually 7.39%.

screenshot sharesight dividends jan-2019

For more information on why you should track your dividends, see 3 reasons why dividend tracking is crucial.

4. Track your portfolio against the market

Seeing negative returns in your portfolio is never fun, but by benchmarking your portfolio, you can understand whether your performance is tied to the overall market downturn or not.

Graph Performance Index ETF

For more ways to monitor the health of your portfolio, check out: 5 ways to get the portfolio insights you need.

5. Automate your future trade tracking

Ask your broker to automatically forward your future trades to Sharesight. You’ll save countless hours of manual portfolio admin every month, not to mention at tax time. Trades from over over 100 brokers can automatically flow into Sharesight via an API or contract notes (trade confirmations). If your broker doesn’t provide contract notes, you’ll want to set aside some time each week/month to manually record your trades.

6. Do as much of your own accounting and tax prep as possible

Taking ownership of your portfolio accounting by using Sharesight can not only decrease your accounting bills, but also ensures fewer overall surprises at tax time. You can run your own Taxable Income and region-specific tax reports such as Australian CGT, Canadian CGT, and New Zealand FIF and Traders Tax.

iPads - Taxable Income Report + CGT Report

Bonus resolution: share secure portfolio access with your accountant, instead of emailing sensitive documents back and forth.

7. Stay informed

Understanding what’s going on the world can help you understand why your portfolio is performing the way it is, and help you to make sound investing decisions going forward. For general tech and business news, I subscribe to Finimize and The Hustle, and I listen to the Freakonomics and Planet Money podcasts (all free). If you’re looking for more in-depth stock and market analysis, check out Sharesight CEO Doug Morris’ list of favorite research providers.

8. Subscribe to portfolio alerts

Sharesight’s weekly portfolio summary email provides an overview of your portfolio’s performance over the last 7 days. There’s even the option of getting an email alert every time the price of one of your holdings spikes or collapses by 5% in a single trading day. For more info, check out: 3 Sharesight email alerts you should enable today.

If you’re not already using Sharesight, what are you waiting for?

Join thousands of investors around the world already using Sharesight to manage their investment portfolios. To get started for FREE, simply sign-up and import your holdings. Then watch as corporate actions such as dividends and stock splits are automatically incorporated. And there’s even a handy mobile app that lets you track your portfolio on the go!

Sharesight does not provide tax or investment advice. The buying of shares can be complex and varies by individual. Seek tax and investment advice specific to your situation before acting on any information in this article.

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