Blog

Sharesight for oldies (the young at heart)

by Tony Ryburn, Executive Chairman, Sharesight | Sep 7th 2011

One of the issues we are grappling with at Sharesight is how we can better help the many older folk who have diligently built up substantial share portfolios over their lifetime.

Many older folk stand to benefit significantly from Sharesight because their larger portfolios are very demanding to maintain without the automated service Sharesight offers. Unfortunately this creates a Catch-22 because many older folk have had limited opportunity to become confident with computers or online services like Sharesight. So going online to manage their share portfolio is, understandably, a bit daunting.

While we strive to make Sharesight as simple and intuitive as possible, it is clear that some people are still struggling with it. The good news is that that we already have a feature that can help! And customer feedback is that many people are finding this really valuable.

Our portfolio sharing feature allows adult children or relatives of older folk to help them manage their portfolios in Sharesight. This allows a Catch-22 to be converted into a win/win so why not take advantage of it? Sharesight portfolios can be shared on a read-only or full-access basis. Full-access allows the person with whom the portfolio is shared to update and amend the portfolio as necessary.

Of course, this feature is also useful for people of any age who wish to share their portfolio with others e.g. members of a share club, your financial advisor or your accountant.

So if your share investment records are a bit of a mess but you find the prospect of setting your portfolio up in Sharesight a bit daunting why not get a trusted friend or family member to give you a hand? It takes less than a minute to record each share investment in Sharesight because most of the time-consuming work like recording all the dividends and making adjustments for things like share splits is done for you automatically. Sharesight also has an excellent import function for shares recorded in a spreadsheet. Once your portfolio is set up it will run on autopilot with minimal user input required.

Talking of older investors, I recently read an article urging people of retirement age or older to sell up their share portfolios and invest their savings in a few deposit accounts with reputable banks. Two main reasons were advanced for this suggestion.

The first was that shares can be volatile and should therefore be regarded as a long term investment unsuited to older folks. I agree that shares are volatile and you should take a long-term approach, but I do not agree that this makes shares unsuitable for retired investors -- even those well-beyond retirement age. For investors young and old, the key thing is to ensure you never get into a position where you are forced to sell shares in a market downturn.

The second reason was that older investors should simplify their affairs so that the administrator of their estate and the beneficiaries under their will are not left with a complicated, poorly-documented portfolio of shares to unravel.

As our customers know, a portfolio in Sharesight will provide a complete and clear record of everything an executor of a will and beneficiaries will need to know.

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