Keeping track of investment bonds, while incredibly important, can be something of a challenge, especially for those with large portfolios. Monitoring fluctuations and keeping an eye on progress can make all the difference to maximising bond investments, but can often be difficult when lifestyles and workloads take priority on an individual’s time. There are however, many ways to keep track of things in an organized and relatively simple manner.
Using one of the many different options available online is appealing to many people trying to keep track of their investment bonds. For those that have a big portfolio and are investing large sums of money, the services of a financial manager or similar are often used, and many of these now offer, as part of their fee, access to an exclusive client portal. This allows them to track and monitor all aspects of their investment. If an investor is working on their own however, or they do not have access to a client portal, there are many other services available across the internet. Websites offer the opportunity for investors to utilize charts and graphs, make comparisons with various stock market indexes and analyse different aspects of an investment to calculate risk exposure. Some websites will allow users to set budgets or integrate their investments from different institutions into one to get a fully rounded picture. In recent years growing demand has seen many apps also become available. These operate in much the same way as their more traditional online counterparts. An added benefit of an app is of course that it can be used easily on a mobile phone, meaning that keeping track of things can be constant, portable and easy to do in spare moments or when travelling. Many of the online services and apps are totally free to use, so users are able to have a good look at the different options available and decide for themselves what features most suit them.
As with many aspects of monitoring data, spreadsheets can be a great way of tracking bond investments. Using customisation, a user can ensure that all the elements they wish are present, in a manner that suits them and is easy for them to understand and interpret. A popular choice is Microsoft Excel, a programme that many are already familiar with, as is Google Spreadsheets. While the latter doesn’t have the wide array of features and depth that the former possesses, it does have the ability to receive automatic updates from outside sources, and, due to being an internet programme, can be accessed anywhere, at any time.
Often favoured by those looking for more in depth features than other methods of keeping track of investments provide, specialised software is available for computers. These all need to be purchased, but many find their extra features and abilities are well worth the price. Flexibility is a real benefit of the software, and an emphasis is placed on giving investors the ability to tailor things to meet their own demands. Like many other software packages, there are different price points and levels of complexity that can be purchased, meaning that users need not spend money on things they may not be looking to use. As with online services, investors are best served by looking at the wide marketplace and seeing what software they feel they would be most happy using.
Pen and paper
Despite the relentless onslaught of technology, there are many that choose to rely on the traditional method of keeping track of their investment portfolio; pen and paper. Best suited to those dealing with fairly small quantities, use of a ledger can prove a reliable and easy way of doing things. Investments, losses and earnings as well as dates should be made note of, and importance should be placed on maintaining and storing old records in an efficient manner, in order to make any performance review in the future as easy as possible. Mistakes and errors also need to be protected against, meaning that care and inevitably time has to go into keeping pen and paper records efficiently.
As well as using some sort of method of tracking bonds, it is also very important to remember the core basics of monitoring an investment. Making sure all documentation is read and kept seems obvious, but can often be overlooked in a busy lifestyle. Keeping notes regarding meetings or conversations with any advisors is also recommended, both for future reference and also in case there are any problems that need to be looked back on. Ensuring that full research on investments is conducted not just initially, but on an ongoing basis, can be helpful in terms of looking at any changes that may be going on, and help keep things as up to date as possible. As a result of this, reviewing any portfolio on a regular basis is often cited by investors as a great way to keep track of things. Issues or changes around account agreements can be highlighted, as well as new levels of risk or reward that the portfolio might be subject to.
Absolutely vital to any investment tracking an individual embarks on, should be their comfort with what they are using. No amount of features and options can make up for having something which the user finds easy. In the same way that an investor needs to fully understand a financial product, it is important that they also know how the tracking method they are using works. It might be incredibly simple and basic, but if an investor is comfortable with how they are doing things, it is totally right for them. A tendency to make matters overly complex is prevalent in the world of investments, and often stripping something back to its core elements can be beneficial. Other investors may of course feel uncomfortable not tracking and monitoring even the most small details, and hence the use of sophisticated software methods of doing so might be entirely appropriate to them. When it comes to investment bond tracking, there is no right or wrong to do things.
Provided for informational purposes only. Not designed as advice. Speak to your IFA or tax advisor for advice tailored to your individual circumstances.