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Do you track your return? How?

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  • Do you track your return? How?

    In December I started tracking my return using XIRR.  It's been interesting to see how my portfolio is doing overall and against several benchmarks.

    Done right, it's a bit cumbersome.  There are 42 transactions I've put in going back to December (many of these were dividends that were reinvested in different securities a day or two later).  But I plan to keep doing it.

    Summary of my returns (since 12/22/16):

    Allocation:  Complicated, but presently 53% US Stocks (SCV tilt), 24% International (EM tilt), 13% Bonds, 10% REIT

    XIRR = 0.33 (33% projected annualized return)

    Up YTD 2017: 4.46% (US Total Stock = 5.19%, Total Intl = 6.09%, Total Bond = 0.48%, Vanguard REIT = 1.58%)

    Obviously it's a short window, and while the return looks good to meet my overall goals, I'd rather be closer to the Total Stock and Total International Benchmarks.  I'm guessing that the bond, REIT, and SCV tilts in my portfolio are the main reasons for the drag.

    Anyone else track their return?  What has yours been like this year and beyond?
    I sometimes have trouble reading private messages on the forum. I can also be contacted at [email protected]

  • #2
    You can minimize your work by reinvesting dividends, but that's not necessarily a wise idea in a taxable account. I'm not sure I have 42 transactions all year.
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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    • #3
      I've used personal capital for about a year and after you link your accounts they send a nice weekly recap of how your portfolio is doing compared to the market. Here is what it looks like...and yes, mine is a lower then then the S&P due to my heavier weighting in bonds...but that's my preferred allocation.

       

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      • #4
        Also, keep in mind you don't have to track everything. If you just track the overall account, it doesn't matter if dividends are coming out of and going into the individual investments in the account as long as all the money stays in the account. I could really minimize my Excel tracking work if that was all I looked at.
        Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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        • #5
          Reasons I have so many transactions:

          - I have ten different accounts (four different taxable accounts where dividends are tracked)

          - I keep track of all the fees that my three different employer retirement accounts assess.  These range from $0.61 to $8, and obviously it wouldn't affect the numbers much if I ignored them, but I try to be diligent.

          - I make biweekly contributions to my 401(k) all year (I can't frontload them)

          - I am periodically moving money around to find better deals and bonuses (currently trying to move my HSA.  Usually move taxable accounts 3-4 times a year).

          So I guess I am a glutton for making things complicated.  Though you're right that I could probably just start entering transactions by "account" rather than investment and save a lot of entries.

           
          I sometimes have trouble reading private messages on the forum. I can also be contacted at [email protected]

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          • #6
            On my retirement account (merrill) you can either download all transactions into excel, or much more easily they have an excellent performance tracker that gives time weighted returns and allows you to choose benchmarks and time frames. Very convenient.

            Taxable is much more of a pain since IBKR gives such unnecessarily complicated reports.

            I dont like the personal capital one that much. I sold something a while back and it showed I lost like 20% that week, instead of recognizing part of the allocation went to cash. Seems pretty basic and now I dont trust their metrics whatsoever.

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            • #7




              You can minimize your work by reinvesting dividends, but that’s not necessarily a wise idea in a taxable account. I’m not sure I have 42 transactions all year.
              Click to expand...


              WCI, curious what you mean by this.  If someone is maximizing their retirement accounts any money left over would be invested in a taxable account, no?  This of course assumes they're not interested in real estate and other hard assets.  If investing in that taxable account, isn't dividend reinvestment (while creating a small cash drag) essential to growth?  Thanks!

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              • #8


                If investing in that taxable account, isn’t dividend reinvestment (while creating a small cash drag) essential to growth? Thanks!
                Click to expand...


                You will want to reinvest, but not automatically. You could create a wash sale inadvertently if you had recently made a tax loss harvesting transaction.

                I reinvest manually whenever I receive dividends, but generally direct the dividends from the four funds or so into whichever fund / class is below my desired allocation.

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                • #9
                  That seems like a lot of work.  It's not like you're TLHing as frequently as receiving dividends, right?  Couldn't you just turn off the dividend reinvestment for 30 days after you TLH?

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                  • #10
                    There's a calculator I just started using for tracking returns from the Bogleheads forum. If you search "BogleheadsReturns" I'm sure you'll find it.

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                    • #11







                      You can minimize your work by reinvesting dividends, but that’s not necessarily a wise idea in a taxable account. I’m not sure I have 42 transactions all year.
                      Click to expand…


                      WCI, curious what you mean by this.  If someone is maximizing their retirement accounts any money left over would be invested in a taxable account, no?  This of course assumes they’re not interested in real estate and other hard assets.  If investing in that taxable account, isn’t dividend reinvestment (while creating a small cash drag) essential to growth?  Thanks!
                      Click to expand...


                      It's the automatic investment of many small amounts that make record keeping a bit of a hassle. Of course you reinvest the dividends, but you do it as one big lot once a quarter into a single investment, and might even combine it with an additional contribution to the account.
                      Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                      • #12
                        I find it pretty simple to just use the tool I have, or simply use balance at beg/end of year in addition to the personal capital estimate, etc...Here is what the Merrill tool looks like screen shot of explanation page top and the summary at the bottom.

                        I tried to find something similar for my wifes fidelity IRA but it wasnt very obvious but I assume they have something.

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                        • #13
                          This is a snap of the "how to use page" for the tool Merrill has, pretty handy. Second one shows bottom half where it compares your return to other indexes of your choice. Tried to find for wifes account at Fidelity, sure they have one, but couldnt find similar. Checked out my number of transactions and although not easy to pin down exactly, they were very high. I'm a recovering tinkerer.

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