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4 Helpful Free Investment Tools

Investment Tools

Investing in the stock market, especially if you’re somewhat of a beginner can be a stressful task to undertake. There are thousands of stocks to choose from, not to mention the availability of mutual funds and bonds, which can be overwhelming for many. I’ve written about starting to invest before, but today I want to cover the investment tools you can use to make better sense of what’s out there. While there are many investment tools that require a subscription fee, I like to be frugal so I use some of the many free investment tools that are available on the internet. Before I go any further, I want to make clear that the links I am providing are not affiliate links but links specifically meant to be a helpful resource should you need to make use of them. With that said, this list of investment tools is not meant to be exhaustive, but simply a sampling of some of my favorite sites.

Should I Really Be Using Investment Tools?

Like I mentioned previously, there are literally tens of thousands of investment options available in the investing world. Knowing that, how are you going to narrow down your investment options? This is where the use of investment tools comes into play. They can help you make sense of what’s available and some also give honest insight that can help you make an informed decision. Of course not all investment decisions will be successful ones, but those that are made with a well-informed mindset can help you tie your decisions to fact instead of emotion. The great thing about most of the investment tools I will highlight is that they’re very user-friendly and offer relevant information for beginners as well as seasoned investors. Some of the sites do offer more in depth analysis tools that might have a fee attached, but for many that level of research is generally not necessary. If you have an email address, that’s typically the most that’s needed to get started using these investment tools.

Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance is by far one of my favorite investment tools. Where Google reigns supreme in the search world, Yahoo Finance is the king of the investment information world. You can get things as simple as up-to-date stock market quotes, but you can also do in depth company research, find contact information for a company as well as analyst ratings. The other nice thing about Yahoo Finance is that it they have news stories, personal finance topics as well as access to anything Yahoo offers. Being in the investment industry myself, it’s a site that’s well respected and one that many use to get information. I love it so much that it’s usually one of the first sites I go to in the morning to see what’s going on in the stock market.

Morningstar

The next investment tool powerhouse that I frequent is Morningstar. While Morningstar is known for analyzing mutual funds, they actually cover pretty much any type of investment vehicle you can imagine. The great thing about Morningstar is the wealth of information they offer on mutual fund offerings. They give the ins and outs of a mutual fund so you can buy into a fund with confidence. They detail what the mutual fund holds, how much it costs to own the fund and the risk associated with each fund. This can be particularly helpful information if you’re looking at the investment choices in your 401k and you need to know what funds would be best for your money.

Investopedia

Next up of my favorite investment tools is Investopedia. Investopedia, at times, can get a bad rap in the investing community. Some of it is warranted, some of it is not. Like the others mentioned previously they offer a wide range of services. The one I would like to point out is their way of making much information very simple. If there is an investing term or product you want to know about but don’t know anything about it then this is the place to go. Simply type in the phrase and Investopedia will give back a clear definition that generally explains what that selected item is. I refer to it often as it can really make a hard-to-explain answer very easy.

Finviz

One of my newest favorite investment tools is Finviz. As someone who loves being in the stock market I need to be able to narrow down the available options and find what might be a good fit for me. My favorite thing about Finviz is the screener section. You can punch in exactly what types of things you’re looking for in a stock and it will spit out those investments that meet the selected criteria. To be fair, some online brokerages will offer similar screeners, but I like Finviz because I can go straight there and drill down further to get insight that I might not find at some brokerages.

 

These are just some of the investment tools available on the internet. Have you used any of these tools, or are there other investment tools you like…or do you just set it and forget it?

 

Photo courtesy of: Myles Davidson

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to U.S. News & World Report, Personal Capital, Daily Finance and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

57 Comments

  • I also love Yahoo Finance but have never heard of the other ones. Thanks for sharing. I will have to check them out =)

  • I actually do not use Yahoo Finance, I use Google Finance instead. I know most people use Yahoo, but I’ve used Google Finance since I started looking into investing information and have yet to see a reason to switch.

    • John says:

      That’s interesting DC. I’ve used Google Finance a little in the past, but in the long run it just does not have the functionality or breadth of coverage like Yahoo does in my opinion. In the end you have to go with what you know and are comfortable with.

    • I’m with DC. I used to use Yahoo finance, but have found that google finance’s charting abilities to be smooth, accurate, and easy to use. I also like how they automatically link in the morningstar ratings on various mutual funds, as well as expense ratios. It saves a step from having to go look those up elsewhere.

      • John says:

        That’s funny Mrs. Pop, I actually like Yahoo Finance for many of the same reasons. :) Like I’ve said though, you have to go with what you like & works for you. I did not know that Google works in some Morningstar stuff…that’s always handy to have.

  • I always love your beginner investing posts, as an extreme newbie investor, I always find them very helpful!

  • Michelle says:

    I always like Investopedia, Morningstar and Yahoo Finance. Can’t go wrong with those!

  • I practically read Investopedia back to front when I first started investing. It is such a great resource.

  • Nice post. I have used several of Monrningstar’s premium products geared to advisors ever since starting my practice, but I also maintain my subscription to their basic website as well. I use on a regular basis. I also use Yahoo Finance, their charting and real time quote tools are excellent and they have a wealth of excellent articles (including a few of mine from U.S. News LOL).

    • John says:

      Thanks Roger. I’ve seen some of the premium products and they do look pretty sweet. I could not agree more in regards to Yahoo Finance. They just have so many tools that I can use. I can really waste some serious time on that site.

  • As a newbie investor, I use 3 out of the 4 above. Great post.

  • I haven’t heard of the last two, so thanks for enlightening me. A funny thing most don’t know about me is that I used to submit articles to Yahoo Finance before I had a blog, but I used a pen name because it scared me to death to put myself out there. I never even checked them for comments because I couldn’t bear to see if people told me I was full of crap! I’ve come a long way.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Kim. Wow, that is interesting to know. What was the process like to do that? It’s one of my goals to try and get something submitted to them this quarter myself. I can understand the pen name angle as there really is some people that go to Yahoo Finance that will tell you what they really think.

      • I don’t think it was for the main site, but the contributor network. You sign up and can choose a topic they have available or submit one of you own and they have to approve your post. I got a few approved and some rejected. I believe you get a base rate of $10-$20 and bonuses depending on pageviews. I should try it again and promote the heck out of it. I didn’t tell anyone and had no blog to promote it at the time.

  • Brian says:

    I often find that investopedia is my go to when it comes to terminology. Its my investment dictionary!

    • John says:

      I do that from time to time as well Brian. I like that they can take such complex products and boil it down for someone like me to understand.

  • Mackenzie says:

    I am an extreme investing newbie, as in, I know absolutely nothing about investing! But I will check these out!

    • John says:

      I definitely would encourage it Mackenzie. What I like about most of the sites listed is that they have good resources for beginners as well as seasoned investors.

  • I’ve tried to do investment research, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. So I picked a bunch of mutual funds for my IRA and waited a year to see which ones were losers. I dropped them and put the money into the ones that are doing well. I haven’t done much other than contributing since 2010.

    • John says:

      I can understand that Edward, especially as a beginning investor. I would encourage you to look at products beyond mutual funds as they often can be rife with fees that can erode returns.

  • Those are all really good resources (except for Finviz but only because I’ve never tried it), especially for anyone just getting started. I’m pretty partial to CNN Money and Fidelity’s account resources. Any stat I need is usually right there between the two.

    • John says:

      I would agree MMD. I’ve used CNN Money some, but not a whole lot. How do you like using Fidelity as a brokerage? I may be looking to switch brokerages here in the not too distant future and need some solid ideas.

  • Since I plan on getting into investing this year, I appreciate your resource John. It will be helpful. I have used Yahoo Finance in the past, but I think I will check out the others to see what I can do with my money!

    • John says:

      Not a problem Grayson. I am pretty familiar with all of them but Finviz and I love that they boil things down to be easy to understand for the range of investors.

  • I use the first three services, but haven’t heard of Finviz. I’ll check them out. Thanks for the tip.

  • I may know how to budget my money but when it comes to investing on my own I lack the confidence and the skills. I’m hoping in 2013 with all the extra cash we will have that I can start to invest a bit on my own. Thanks for this post. Mr.CBB

    • John says:

      I often find many people that feel the exact same way as you do Mr. CBB. I think a lot of it does come down to confidence, which n the end comes from education. I find that with a little investing education that it really does breed confidence for investors.

  • AverageJoe says:

    I use the top three regularly, but need to check out the fourth one.

    I’ve seen lots of people use free tools, but often they don’t use them correctly. What’d be cool is a post about how to dig into these tools to get more from them.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more Joe. You have to know what you’re doing, otherwise it could potentially cause to do something you normally would not. I’ve thought about doing a post just like that, my concern is making it understandable to readers.

  • Cat says:

    I’m a set it and forget it kind of girl – but perhaps I should start using some of these tools!

    • John says:

      There’s nothing inherently wrong with that if that’s your preference. The important thing is being aware of the risks associated…as with anything investment related.

  • I like using Yahoo Finance for quick options quotes and morningstar for my deep fundamental analysis.

    • John says:

      Morningstar really is a good tool for fundamental analysis Marvin. I can waste way too much time on Yahoo Finance. I like it for options quotes and just overall news.

  • Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    When I tried my hand at stocks a few years ago I used Yahoo Finance and MSN Money. Once my debt is paid off I’ll try out the others.

  • Pauline says:

    Strange how Yahoo did so well with Finance and not so much of the rest. I enjoy their site too. I also check xe for currency charts.

  • Liquid says:

    And a lot of people don’t have a brokerage account yet, so I guess they can use Finviz to get more focused on what they want to buy first. I like Yahoo finance for the detailed charts, but I usually use Google finance because I like their interface more :0) both are great free tools though.

    • John says:

      I would tend to agree sir. Many don’t, or if they do they’re forgotten about. I actually can’t stand Google Finance’s interface, but you have to go with what you like and both are pretty handy little tools.

  • Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy says:

    I am extremely familiar with three of those (quite the Morningstar junkie here), but I have never heard of Finviz before. Will add that one to the arsenal. Thank you for introducing me to potentially another invaluable resource!

    • John says:

      I am a big fan of Morningstar as well! I’d love to have some of the premium services they offer, but can’t justify the cost. Not a problem Jennifer!

  • Kay Lynn says:

    Thanks for the list; I’d only heard of Yahoo Finance previously. I’ve been investing extra cash in peer to peer lending but I am definitely going to start reading these resources so i feel more comfortable about investing in stocks.

    • John says:

      Not a problem Kay Lynn. I’ve never invested in P2P lending before, so I am clueless on that. These are some pretty handy resources for stock/mutual fund investing.

  • I have used Yahoo Finance and Morningstar for years as well. Good tools. Just don’t make investment decisions based on opinions posted to the Yahoo Finance message boards. Lots of worthless chatter there. Finviz sounds interesting. I will have to check that out. Thanks.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more Brian. Most of the ones who post in the message boards have more than a few screws loose. Although, some of the comments can be god for a laugh.

  • Was in real estate up until the ‘bust’ in 2008. Still selling off properties as ‘owner financed’ to recover from that fiasco! Will be looking to invest in 2013, and appreciate your insights.

  • Familiar with Morningstar but the others were new to me. Thanks for the information.

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