What Is a Money Portfolio?

Money portfolio has two related meanings. It refers to your investment holdings -- how you spent your investment money -- and software to record, monitor and report your holdings. A money portfolio program should show you a complete picture of your investments, automatically receive and process updates, provide intuitive reporting through comparisons, charts and graphs, and offer information to help you optimize your investments. Quicken delivers extensive capabilities in all of these areas plus a good deal more.

Portfolio Holdings

The core functionality of a money portfolio program is to keep track of all your investments. This requires the program to automatically link to all of your accounts, including brokerage, mutual fund and retirement accounts. You should be able to see how much you've invested in each security, its current price -- usually subject to a 20-minute delay -- its price change for the day and the value of your holdings. You should also be able to drill down and find the open and closed "tax lots" -- the individual purchase and sale transactions -- for each holding. Quicken reports the age, size and profitability of each lot.

Transactional Support

Whether you are a long-term investor or a day trader, you need to know the size and value of each of your holdings. Even if you trade often, the money portfolio should accurately record each of your transactions and update your holdings. Besides handling purchases and sales, the program needs to process a full range of transactions, including receipts of interest and dividends, stock splits, option expirations and conversion of derivative securities, such as options, warrants and convertible bonds, into their underlying stock shares. Quicken's one-step download updates your portfolio holdings and prices as often as you like.

Intuitive Reporting

Many people assimilate information faster and more completely through displays, such as color charts and graphs. Others prefer to see the information in text form, and a money portfolio program should offer extensive reporting of both types. Beyond simple status reports, other useful reporting includes asset allocation -- how much money you've put into stocks, bonds and other types of assets -- investment performance over various periods, your year-to-date capital gains and a calendar of upcoming events such as maturing bonds or interest payments. Investment Tools Quicken helps you evaluate your investments and assists you in making better decisions. Its Asset Allocation Tool compares your actual allocations to your ideal and recommends how to rebalance your portfolio. The Capital Gain Estimator is useful in several ways:

1. It helps you estimate the impact of a security's sale on your tax bill; 2. It provides an estimate of your capital gains tax for the year; 3. It shows you how to unload losing investments to reduce your tax liability; and 4. It reports on how many shares you'll need to sell to raise a given amount of cash, and which sales will produce the smallest amount of additional tax.

Portfolio X-Ray allows you to examine the securities held within a mutual fund and provides views of your holdings by region, asset type and investment sector. The information in Quicken's money portfolio automatically updates your budget, financial plan and tax information without additional effort.

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