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Topics - Peter Willms

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Talking Stocks, Funds and ETFs / Portfolio Building 101
« on: November 11, 2019, 01:14:01 PM »
When building investment portfolios the utmost importance must be given to several critical questions.

What is the objective of the portfolio (i.e., retirement saving, college funding, etc.)?   
  >...Taxable or tax deferred portfolio?
What is the risk tolerance?
  >...How much volatility is tolerable?
What is the time horizon?
What are the income requirements?
Who is the portfolio manager?

Which type of portfolio are you building?
  >...Conservative for income: 75% fixed income, 15% equity, 10% cash
  >...Conservative for growth: 55% fixed income, 25% equity, 10% cash
  >...Moderately risk: 35% fixed income, 55% equity, 10% cash
  >...Aggressive risk: 25% fixed income, 65% equity, 10% cash
  >...Very aggressive risk: 90% equity, 10% equity

General rules:
  >...Younger investors usually are more risk tolerant than older investors due to portfolio time frame.
  >...Households with high income may be more risk tolerant.
  >...Equities are usually more risky than fixed income investments.
  >...Asset allocation has the greatest bearing on portfolio performance.
  >...Larger net worth portfolios may be more risk tolerant than smaller portfolios.

How to create the portfolio:
  >...What is the dollar amount of the portfolio?
  >...Invest dollars according to desired asset allocation mix.

Possible portfolio selections:

Fixed income ETFs-
   SPDR® Portfolio Intermediate Term Treasury ETF (SPTI)
   Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury ETF (VGIT)
   SPDR® Portfolio Short Term Treasury ETF (SPTS)
   Vanguard Short-Term Treasury ETF (VGSH)

Equity ETFs-
   SPDR® S&P 500® ETF Trust (SPY)
   Vanguard Large-Cap ETF (VV)
   SPDR® S&P MIDCAP 400® ETF Trust (MDY)
   Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF (VO)
   SPDR® S&P® 600 Small Cap ETF (SLY)
   Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB)
   SPDR® Portfolio MSCI Global Stock Market ETF (SPGM)
   Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX)
   SPDR® Portfolio Emerging Markets ETF (SPEM)
   Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)

Ongoing maintenance - Regularly rebalance to stay within original asset class percentages.

Investment Account Manager software is designed to help investors build suitable, profitable portfolios.  We encourage interested investors try our free 90 demo version

Note: All asset allocation scenarios are for hypothetical purposes only and are not intended to represent a specific asset allocation strategy or recommend a particular allocation. Each investor's situation is unique and asset allocation decisions should be based on an investor's risk tolerance, time horizon, financial situation and market conditions. All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

User Tips / Collective Reporting - Unified Account Management
« on: April 09, 2019, 10:51:37 AM »
Collective Reporting

In order for a portfolio management tool to be effective, it is essential to thoroughly provide a collective understanding of how your portfolios are integrated, and how the overlap.  This information will allow you to analyze important questions:

   Collectively, am I over/under allocated?
   Am I diversified?
   Do I hold concentrated positions?
   Are the securities I own held in the right accounts – i.e., in deferred vs. taxable?

Investment Account Manager allows users to track an unlimited number of portfolios, each in its own unique database file - transactions are segregated by account.  This provides the user the ability to design portfolios by objective, and to track by individual investment account. 

From collective perspective, IAM allows the combination of portfolios on the program’s many reports.  This powerful ability keeps the user focused on how multiple investment accounts interrelate.

If for example, you are interested in an overall view of value, gains, projected income -the select IAM's Appraisal Report and select the portfolios to combine on the report. Or, if  you are interested in deeper understanding of the overall asset allocation of all of your holdings, you would select Investment Account Manager’s Asset Allocation Report and include all of your portfolios on that report using the report setup screen.  Within seconds, Investment Account Manager will produce a report showing your combined portfolios’ allocation by asset class (cash, bonds, stocks and other), by stock industry sector, and by stock size (large, medium or small cap).

Within Investment Account Manager:
1)   Select the report that is of interest to you from IAM’s Reports Menu. For instance, the Appraisal to see overall value, to review asset allocation, select that choice.

2)   On the Report Setup Window, select which portfolios you wish to include on the report. If you notice a Blue Hyperlink, click on it to provide information (i.e., allocation objectives for the combination – by asset type, size and or sector).

3)   Then, generate the report.

User Tips / Using IAM's Batch Reporting Feature
« on: April 09, 2019, 09:57:38 AM »
Batch Reporting

The Batch Reporting feature allows users to produce a series of reports for a selected list of portfolios. For instance, users can customize batch reporting by using the various Report Setup Options to print a series of reports at the end of each month, each quarter or year.
Select Reports Menu, then Batch Reports.

Users can define which portfolios to include, and which reports, for specific time periods.
Report Period: depending on the selected report, users can select the reporting period for the batch reporting process.  This includes All Dates, Predefined Date Ranges, Custom Date Ranges, or As of Date. 

   Start Date: starting date range for selected report period.
   End Date: ending date range for selected reporting period.

This feature can be a true time saver when a user has multiple portfolios (accounts), and is producing the same printed report for each.

Talking Stocks, Funds and ETFs / Barbell Investing
« on: February 07, 2019, 10:43:11 AM »
What is meant by Barbell Investment Strategy?

Barbell Investment Strategy: This portfolio investment approach involves investing most of your investment portfolio (85-90%) in extremely safe securities (i.e., short-term government bonds) and the remainder (10-15%) in risky long-term investments. The barbell provides low safe return on one side, risky high return on the other.

Nassim Taleb, author of the 2007 bestselling book The Black Swan, which focuses on extremely rare and unpredictable events, argues that Barbell investing is a very conservative approach that protects investors from black swan events that would dramatically negatively impact portfolio returns. Using the barbell strategy, the maximum loss for the investor would be the risky side of the barbell.

This approach was originally used when constructing bond portfolios - very short term securities and a range of longer term securities. The short-term side is exposed to very little interest rate and default risk, while the long-term side is more volatile. For a stock portfolio, the conservative side would hold very liquid large cap stocks on the safe side, and on the aggressive side, smaller speculative stocks.

If you have utilized a barbell approach, please share your comments with other readers.

Thank you.

Talking Stocks, Funds and ETFs / Causes for Fluctuating Stock Prices
« on: January 17, 2019, 08:12:07 AM »
Stock prices rise and fall for a myriad of reasons.  Understanding a number of the possible causes for price fluctuations will help investors make better portfolio management decisions.

Market prices are simply the result of the supply and demand for shares by investors.  When buyers are demanding more shares than are available at a specific market price, then the prices rise to a point where sellers can be found.  Likewise, when sellers are abundant, prices will fall until buyers are engaged.

Market price gyrations can usually be explained by one or more factors which affect the demand for and supply of stock for sale at any moment in time. The list that follows explains several influencers:

Industry Specifics – All stocks can be grouped by industry sector (meaning they operate within the same part of the economy), i.e., consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financial, healthcare, industrials, information technology, materials, telecommunication services, and utilities.  Macroeconomic industry changes will affect stock prices within the industry sector both positively and negatively.

New Regulations - Governments make decisions and pass regulations that can affect business – for instance financial and telecommunication companies often find themselves within the government’s cross hairs.  Increased regulation can have a large negative impact on stock price by making it more difficult and expensive to operate.

World Events – Wars, terror attacks, boycotts, embargoes, natural disasters, changes in economic policy and changing currency values all impact short-term equity prices.

Business Conditions - Changes in management, new product announcements and discoveries, changes in market share, pending mergers or acquisitions, collaborations, change in competition, layoffs, data breaches, scandals, all affect  stock prices - both positively and negatively.

Broker Research Reports - Newly released publications regarding a company, usually have an impact on stock price, sometimes in a major way, depending on the source and reliability. Even though conflicts of interest must be disclosed by regulation, investors frequently do not pay close enough attention the closeness of  the relationship may be between the author and the underlying firm, when estimating the longevity of the price movement.

Reported Earnings per Share - Probably having the biggest impact on short-term equity prices, earnings surprises, can cause quick price changes.  These stock price movements have become even more pronounced in recent years, due to the larger influence of automated trading.  Earning per share trends are the primary determinant in long-term share prices.

Dividend Changes - Sudden unexpected changes in dividend policy will cause stock prices to rise and fall.  Investors need to be aware of how stocks act around the ex-dividend date: i.e.,  opening market prices are adjusted to reflect the to be dividend.

Buybacks or Dilutions– Buybacks lessen the supply of stock available to purchases.  With fewer shares outstanding, several key financial ratios will also improve.  Conversely, by increasing the number of shares available to raise cash at the company level, all previously outstanding shares are diluted, making them less valuable (splitting the pie more ways).

Mergers, Acquisitions and other Reorganizations - Corporations are in the business of creating value for their shareholders.  One method to do so is to merge with, or acquire another.  Through increased efficiency, integrating operations, optimizing managements and product combinations, significant value can be created, thus affecting stock values.

Interest rates and Inflation Trends – Changes in interest rates cause changes in stock prices- sometimes rising rates are a positive catalyst, other times a negative. An example of rising rates being a positive for prices would be the example that increasing inflation causes rates to rise, but companies can increase their earnings by increasing prices.  On the other hand, if rates rise too quickly and companies cannot keep up raise prices quickly enough, then company earnings will suffer and stock prices will fall.  Additionally, raising interest rates increase the cost of doing business, at the same time that consumers may be less willing or able, to spend on goods and services, putting downward pressure on share prices.

Investment Taxation Policy – changes in tax policy have a change in the long-term value of securities. Increases or decreases in the after tax value of investment income, change the prices of securities. On a shorter-term basis, tax decision making can also affect stock prices.  An example of this can be found in year-end tax loss harvesting further depressing stocks that have under-performed the overall market.

As stated above, stock prices fluctuate for a myriad of reasons.  Understanding the possible causes for price fluctuations will help investors make better portfolio management decisions.

Investors are frequently confronted with making buy and sell decisions.  Not only is the universe of undervalued and overvalued securities constantly changing, investors have different time horizons to consider when making investment decisions. So while day traders may be satisfied with a small percentage change in value, longer term investors usually are not overly concerned with small price movements. This article is written from the perspective of a long term investor.

So what factors should be evaluated when making buy/sell decisions?  Here are a several important considerations:

1) A specific security has become over or undervalued relative to the market, or the risk of a specific security has changed meaningfully.

2) A specific industry has become over or undervalued relative to the market.

3) A specific asset class has become too large or small based on portfolio targets (re-balancing) based on recent performance.

4) A specific security sector has become too large or small based on portfolio targets (re-balancing) based on recent performance.

5) A portfolio has become to concentrated due to a change in a specific securities holding size:

6) The after-tax proceeds can be better deployed in a different security.

Investment Account Manager will help investors keep their emotions in check when making important buy and sell decisions by analyzing and quantifying the above questions, providing confidence through knowledge.

1)   A specific security has become over or undervalued relative to the market, or the risk of a specific security has changed meaningfully:

IAM provides both fundamental and technical analysis tools used to evaluate individual a security’s risk and return potential. From a fundamental analysis perspective, ratio analysis made famous by Peter Lynch and Benjamin Graham are provided. IAM also provides security betas which measure a security’s volatility.  Additionally, Investment Account Manager also provides access to the internet’s many technical analysis tools, especially through Yahoo!, Google, and QuoteMedia.  When considered collectively, these help investors make informed decisions.

2)   A specific industry has become over or undervalued relative to the market:

Just as individual securities become over and undervalued so due industry sectors. This occurs usually for one of two reasons – a macroeconomic change that unduly affects a single industry, and or the phenomenon of group think. Investment Account Manger again utilizes both fundamental and technical analysis to spot the misalignment.  IAM also provides access to the world of financial information from within the program with simple clicks of the mouse. 

3)   A specific asset class has become too large or small based on portfolio targets (re-balancing) based on recent performance:

Investment Account Manager’s asset allocation tools are indeed a powerful ally to thoughtful investors. When setting up portfolios, users identify a portfolio’s target allocation between cash, stock, bonds, and other investments.  These are further broken down between large, medium and small cap, as well as between foreign and domestic.  Users can then review several reports that analyze the actual allocations vs. the target allocations.  And since IAM allows on the fly combinations of individual portfolios (IRAs, taxable, college fund, etc) overall asset allocation can be easily understood. With this information in hand, uncomplicated and objective re-balancing can be executed.

4)   A specific security sector has become too large or small based on portfolio targets (re-balancing) based on recent performance:

As mentioned in answer 2 above, frequently industry sectors held within a portfolio can become over or under weighted.  Investment Account Manager allows users to set sectors targets, just as in setting asset type targets, for each individual portfolio.  As market values change within the portfolios, one of IAM’s several sector analysis reports can quickly and thoroughly spot variances between target sector percentage sizes and actual percentages. Additionally, the importance of a collective understanding of how portfolios overlap by sector is accomplished with combination reporting.

5)   A portfolio has become to concentrated due to a change in a specific securities holding size:

Since individual securities performance can vary widely, it is not uncommon for an individual holding to become too large causing too much concentration in a portfolio:  as the adage goes, don’t hold all your eggs in one basket.  Investment Account Manager’s reports show each security’s percentage of overall portfolio to identify these circumstances.

6)   The after-tax proceeds can be better deployed in a different security:

In taxable accounts, taxes can take a meaningful amount of investment profit. If an investor utilizes the tax law to minimize the tax bite, after tax profits will increase.  Investment Account Manager excels in this area.

IAM tracks and maintains each individual purchase lot along with its purchase date and purchase amount.  Having this information at hand before making sell decisions is very useful as it allows sellers to match gains with losses, when available.  Between IAM’s Security Basis Report which delineates each lot, and the ability to apply sales using FIFO, LIFO, Maximum Gain, Minimum Gain, or Specific ID, investors can inform the selling broker which lots to use in specific sale applications.

Investment Account Manager has been designed by professional money manager to provide investors with the tools needed to be better investors.

General Discussion / Useful Websites for Investors
« on: October 03, 2018, 09:44:57 AM »
Useful Websites for Investors

General Investor Information

American Association of Individual Investors – ( AAII is a nonprofit organization that arms individual investors with the education and tools they need to build wealth. From stock investing to financial planning and retirement funding, AAII covers all your needs.

Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) – ( The definitive source for options trading information and education.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – ( The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) – ( The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. All told, FINRA oversees nearly 5,000 brokerage firms, about 173,000 branch offices and approximately 659,000 registered securities representatives. Created in July 2007 through the consolidation of NASD and the member regulation, enforcement and arbitration functions of the New York Stock Exchange, FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services.

Securities and Exchange Commission Company Lookup (EDGAR) – ( provided by SEC which includes the EDGAR of disclosure documents that public companies are required to file with the Commission.

NYSE Euronext – ( NYSE Euronext (NYX), the world's leading and most diverse exchange group, completed its acquisition of the American Stock Exchange® (Amex®), becoming the third-largest U.S. options marketplace and enhancing the company's leadership in ETFs, cash equities, closed-end funds and structured products.

Yahoo! Finance – ( Favorite website providing full-featured investment education and valuable investor resources.

Google Finance – ( Favorite website providing full-featured investment education and valuable investor resources.

Investopedia – ( Investopedia helps you understand complex financial concepts, improve your investing skills, and learn how to manage your money. Whether you’re in a classroom, a boardroom or your living room, our editors and network of financial advisors and experts have answered your questions and proudly earned your trust since 1999.

Three useful website for bond investors:,, and

The White House - ( The White House of the United States of America.

Leading Economic Indicators

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED) – ( This site offers a wealth of economic data and information to promote economic education and enhance economic research. The widely used database FRED is updated regularly and allows 24/7 access to regional and national financial and economic data.

Economic events calendar – ( U.S. Census Bureau calendar of economic indicator statistics release dates.

Consumer confidence – ( measures how consumers feel about their personal economic situation, and their expectations for the future.

Consumer price index – ( Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) program produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.

Crude oil prices – ( Changes in crude oil prices affects consumer spending.  Higher prices in effect add an “oil tax” on consumer budgets.

Currency – ( A rising or falling U.S. dollar impacts exports. As the dollar declines, it is cheaper for foreigners to buy U.S. goods and services, helping multinational companies.  A falling dollar may lower foreign demand for U.S. securities.   

Durable Goods – ( Orders for hard goods (self-life of at least 3 years). 

Employment report – ( The United States Department of Labor’s official website.

Interest rates – (  When the Fed cutes rates, it is attempting to stimulate the economy.  When it raises rates, it is applying the “breaks”.  Bond prices usually fall when interest rates rise.

Housing starts – ( The U.S. Department of Commerce.

Producer price index – ( The Producer Price Index (PPI) program measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. The prices included in the PPI are from the first commercial transaction for many products and some services.

Retail sales – ( Retail sales data are an excellent gauge of consumer confidence. Hint: When analyzing leading economic indicators, it is import to look beyond the immediate number and evaluate the change since the previous report as well as the direction of the change of the past several reports.  In other words, analyze the trend of the data.


Internal Revenue Service – ( U.S. Department of the Treasury providing access to taxes forms, publications, and tax topics.

The Joint Committee on Taxation – ( The Joint Committee on Taxation is a nonpartisan committee of the United States Congress, originally established under the Revenue Act of 1926. The Joint Committee operates with an experienced professional staff of economists, attorneys, and accountants who assist Members of the majority and minority parties in both houses of Congress on tax legislation.

General Discussion / Tax Planning with Investment Account Manager
« on: August 31, 2018, 08:46:08 AM »
One of the many benefits of using Investment Account Manager is its ability to utilize investment record keeping in a manner to be able to access the information to improve decision making. This ability is particularly useful when making tax conscience decisions. An example of this ability can be found in IAM's many useful tax planning and monitoring tools and reports.

Investors will find their portfolios consist of many different asset types, purchased over time, and therefore having different capital gain or losses sale consequences. Since capital gains are taxed in non-deferred accounts, albeit at a lower rate, the investor musts weigh the tax consequences of sales. If capital gains can be minimized, by offsetting realized gains with losses, then the capital gains tax is deferred, allowing the principal amount to grow.

Consider the following example. Investor A sells a stock with an original cost basis of $1000 for $2000, realizing a substantial gain. If the investor pays a federal tax rate of 15% on capital gains, the after-tax investable amount is $1,850. What growth rate is needed for the 1850 to grow to $3700 over 7 years? 10.4%. What growth rate is needed for $2000 to grow $3700 over 7 years? 9.2%. The point is that paying the tax any sooner than necessary reduces the amount of principal working for the investor. By smartly using lot-by-lot accounting when selling securities, investors attempt to offset gains and losses thereby deferring the capital gains tax.

Investment Account Manager provides lot assignment when making partial sales — either FIFO (First In First Out, Specific ID, Average Cost Method (for mutual funds and Canadian citizens), and Minimum or Maximum Gain.

Prior to selling a partial amount of a security, review IAM's Security Basis Report. This report will list, showing in a lot-by-lot view, each purchase you have made in the portfolio. With this information in hand, you can effectively specifically identify which lots to use in a partial sale.

Specific identification allows you to manage the amount of capital gains that will be recognized, thereby managing the capital gains tax that will be due: i.e., if trying to minimize realized gains, then select those lots having the highest cost basis. Note: you must notify the financial institution executing the trade as to which purchase lots to use if you choose the IRS Specific Identification Method.

As part of effective portfolio construction — taxable vs. tax deferred accounts, decisions are needed to choose which securities belong in which portfolios?

Since IAM provides for multiple portfolio management, it is the ideal tool for segregating your various accounts, while still allowing for the combination of any or all of your portfolios on the various reports. This is particularly useful when managing portfolios and planning to hold investments in the most tax preferred account.

For instance, it may be wise to hold stocks providing qualified dividends in your currently taxable account, while holding stocks that do not provide qualified dividends (many Real Estate Investment Trusts) inside your tax deferred retirement accounts.

IAM's lot-by-lot cost basis accounting provides an essential element for optimizing gift and estate planning strategies. For instance, after checking with your financial advisor, you may determine that you wish to donate a security(s) to a charity. Since investors often have multiple purchase lots of the same security (IAM summarizes your lot-by-lot accounting on the Security Basis Report), you may find it advantageous to donate those purchases with the lowest cost. Why? When gifting to a qualified charity, the value of the gift is usually based on the market value at the time of the gift, including the unrealized capital gain, and not the cost of the gift. In other words, you will be giving away a larger capital gain that otherwise would have been taxed if you sold the securities and then gifted the proceeds.

Likewise, when gifting to individuals, it may be useful to gift securities with the lowest cost basis, particularly if the recipient is in a lower tax bracket than the donor. The recipient may not only be able to defer the gain for a longer time, ultimate tax will be might also be lower.

Throughout the course of each year, investors should take sufficient time to review their investment portfolios. Monitoring progress is essential to identify what changes may be necessary to reach long-term goals. In doing so, investors should focus on rebalancing portfolios consistent with their risk profile and return goals, while considering and managing the tax consequences of their investment activity.  Using Investment Account Manager will help you accomplish this important portfolio management task by following these guidelines. Update your portfolios for all year-to-date investment activity, including all purchase, sale and investment income activity.

Understanding your investment taxes is an essential part of portfolio management. Investment Account Manager provides many reports and tools to help:

• Sold Securities Report filtered for the appropriate time period - this report summarizes the sales of securities for the portfolio. Sales activity is separated based on short term holding period activity and long term holding period activity. This is another of IAM's useful tax planning and preparation reports.

• Income Received filtered for the appropriate time period - this report provides a summary of dividends, interest and capital gain distributions recorded in your portfolio. It is segregated by security, by type and by tax category. This is one of the tax preparation reports you will use from the Investment Account Manager.

• Capital Gains Distribution Report for the time period - this IAM audit report is a useful tax-planning tool, summarizing the gain distributions received by securities in your portfolio. This report includes details on gains as the result of merger transactions involving cash and stock distributions.

• Qualified Dividends Report filtered for the appropriate time period (if needed).

• Transactions Activity Report filtered for the appropriate time period.

• Security Basis Report, identifying each of the specific purchase lots - this report lists the lot-by-lot purchase transaction details for portfolio holdings, and is an important source of information for making wise tax decisions. By carefully selecting which purchase lots to be allocated to a sale, other previously realized gains and losses can be offset.

• Fees and Expenses Report tracks the investment fees, expenses, foreign tax withheld, and other charges for securities in your portfolio.

• Short-term to Long-term Report which identifies securities soon to gain long term capital gains treatment.

Fundamental Analysis Tools / Using QuoteMedia Data Feed With IAM
« on: August 17, 2018, 10:16:23 AM »
(Asset Library Menu | Update Data | QuoteMedia Data Feed)

QuoteMedia data feed (included with initial purchase and available for an annual low cost subscription renewal price) provides automatic fundamental analysis and fund composition data download into Investment Account Manager. The QuoteMedia™ data feed is particularly helpful at month end, so with just a few simple clicks, your investments reflect updated fundamental and descriptive data. Note: The QuoteMedia data feed is included with Investment Account Manager Professional version.

QuoteMedia™ offers users the ability to automatically populate and update the fundamental and descriptive data for common stocks. This data, when incorporated into Investment Account Manager, provides the information for powerful fundamental ratio analysis, screening, and asset allocation analysis. Fundamental ratio analysis offers a "snap shot" of a company's value, where the analysis is a review of a firm's financial report.

When Updating IAM's Current Asset Library using QuoteMedia, users have three options:

    Update market prices to current asset library: this choice will update the IAM3 current asset library with recent market pricing.

    Update stock fundamental data including sector and size (typically month end): this choice will update for all common stocks in the IAM3 current asset library fundamental data such as earnings per share, dividends per share, beta, book value per share, cash flow per share, stock sector, and stock size.  This choice is typically selected at month end.

    Update exchange traded and mutual fund composition details (typically quarter end): this choice will update for all exchange traded and mutual funds in the IAM3 current asset library fund composition details such as asset allocation, sector allocation, and size allocation, and also other data such as past performance results.   
The QuoteMedia data feed also provides the ability to automatically populate the fund allocation analysis (breakdown by allocation percentages for asset type, sector and size compositions) for mutual funds and exchange traded funds.  These allocation percentages are used in allocation reports to include the portfolio compositions of any funds (mutual funds and exchange traded funds) held in your portfolio when Investment Account Manager derives asset allocation percentages. This means each fund's proportional impact (amount invested in cash, bonds and stocks, by sector, by size) will be included along with any individual holdings of each asset type held outside of your funds, providing a total allocation analysis of your portfolio.

Frequently Asked Questions / IAM's User Preference Settings
« on: August 17, 2018, 09:49:11 AM »
Investment Account Manager’s User Preferences

Preferences Backup Data Settings:

    Allows user to set Prompt for Backup Reminder: after every session, after every other session, or after every five sessions.

    Automatic Backup: use this setting to run the backup process as you exit Investment Account Manager. The backup process will be performed to your desired destination folder. If you have set the destination to a removable media source, be certain the required media is in place for the backup process.

    Tax Lot Settings: when creating Investment Account Manager backups, individual tax lots for each portfolio are also saved as unique files under the directory you create your IAM backup files.  These tax lot files will be located under the backup folder \ IAM_TaxLots_date.  Users can set a preference for these files: Save Tax Lots to CSV files,
Save Tax Lots to Excel files or Do not save tax lots during backup

Preferences Data Provider Settings:

    Investment Account Manager includes an optional data feed to access QuoteMedia®. This optional service helps to complete descriptive information for stocks as they are added to Investment Account Manager. This includes access to fundamental stock data such as dividends per share, earnings per share, stock sector, stock size, etc. for common stocks.

Preferences Home Page Settings:

    Update market prices each time the home page is refreshed.

    Prompt before updating prices from home page.

    Check for updates when Investment Account Manager starts.

    Performance Index to show on the Home Page.

    Bypass Price Alerts on Startup.

    Prompt to update current prices with more recent historic prices.

    Prompt to create historical prices when updating current prices.

    Disable Portfolio 'Year to Date' Performance Calculation.

    Automatically update current prices with prices from broker files.

    Run IAM in maximized screen view: this option will start Investment Account Manager in full screen mode.  The default startup screen size is 80%.

Preferences Report Settings:

    Report Disclaimer: use this setting to enter a report disclaimer to be used globally for all reports. The disclaimer serves the important purpose of reminding users of the practical limitations of the program and we recommend you include a disclaimer. Note: if you are using the noncommercial-user version of Investment Account Manager, this disclaimer is inactive and can't be changed.

    Report Heading: use this setting to enter a report heading to be used as a global default for all reports. Note: You can override the global setting prior to printing any individual report.

    Preview Magnification: use this setting to set a global page preview magnification level. Settings range from whole page up to 150%. Note: You can adjust the magnification setting each time you preview any individual report.

    Report Margin Setup: use this setting to globally set the report margins for report printing. The following margin settings are used as defaults:
Top: 0.50 Bottom: 0.25 Left: 0.25 Right: 0.25

    Sort Default: The sort feature enables you to quickly arrange the list of assets currently in the system. You can set the default sort order globally to: most recent use, symbol, name, or type.

    Fiscal Year Ends in the Month: use this setting to globally set the reporting periods for a fiscal year-end other than December.

    Set Session Date: use this setting to change the session date. This date will be the date defaulted into date entry screens, and printed on all reports.

    Include printer Setup: use this option to be prompted with the printer setup dialogue form prior to printing reports. You'll be able to select a specific printer, quality preferences, and other printer options.

    Show negative values in red: select this option to show negative values, such as losses, in red on reports.

    Appraisal Report Quantity: select a default for how many decimals to show for quantity on Investment Account Manager's Appraisal Report either whole numbers, 3 decimal places or 5 decimal places.

    Basis Report Quantity: select a default for how many decimals to show for quantity on Investment Account Manager's Security Basis either whole numbers, 3 decimal places or 5 decimal places.

    Maximum rate to check for high IRR's: use this option to set the maximum rate for the Internal Rate of Return iteration process.  The default rate is typically good for most investment activity, but in some cases, lowering this maximum rate can improve the speed of the IRR calculation.

Global Transactions - Investment Account Manager allows for easy and accurate posting of global transactions. These include:

Global Transactions:
    Global Income - Apply a declared cash dividend to all portfolios holding the stock
    Global Spin-off - Company ABC issues shares in Company EFG
    Global Stock Dividend Distributions - 10% stock dividend is declared resulting in   additional shares
    Global Stock Split - 2:1 stock split
    Global Merger- Company 123 is taken-over by Company 456

IAM’s global transactions adjusts any or all portfolios within the program to reflect the global activity.  For instance, if you hold XYZ stock in several portfolios, and XYZ declares a 2:1 stock split, Investment Account Manager will automatically adjust each portfolio to reflect the stock split. Specifically, each lot of the security will be adjusted appropriately, maintaining tax-lot integrity.

To access IAM’s Global Transactions function, select Transactions Menu Global | Transactions Activities.

When completing the various windows, it is required to complete each of the yellow shaded dialogue boxes.  If you do not have the required information at hand, it will be available on the issuing company’s website under Investors Information.

Transactions / Copy or Transfer securities to another Portfolio
« on: August 16, 2018, 02:10:14 PM »
Moving Securities - IAM's Edit Menu

The Copy a Security to another Portfolio choice is used to copy all the transaction records (purchases, sales, income, etc.) of one security in a portfolio, to another portfolio being monitored within Investment Account Manager. This choice copies the entire transaction history from the original portfolio to the destination portfolio. It allows you to remove the security from the original or not.

The Transfer a Security to another Portfolio choice is used to transfer either a portion of a security holding, or an entire position, to another portfolio being monitored within Investment Account Manager. It can also be used to deliver holdings out of Investment Account Manager (i.e. to a charity).

The transfer feature can also be used to step up the basis for inherited shares from one portfolio to another portfolio. The feature allows the user to select the basis to assign to the transferred securities.

Equity options are contracts between buyers and sellers providing certain rights or responsibilities on the opposite parties. It is beyond the scope of this manual to explain the mechanics of option trading, but for those interested in learning about using options as investments, visit the CBOE website User Guide:

IAM can track the following:
Opening Buy: An Opening Buy transaction is a purchase (going long) of the option. Opening buys enable you to control the rights on shares of an underlying security, providing the right to purchase (call) or sell (put) at a pre-defined exercise price on or before the expiration date. Opening buy transactions are followed by: a closing sale, the exercised rights, or expire worthless.

Closing Sale: A Closing Sale transaction is the sale of a previously purchased (opening buy) call or put option.

Opening Sale: An Opening Sale transaction gives is the sale of option rights to someone else. This is also known as writing (or granting) the option. You are 'selling' the right to buy from you (i.e. call away) or sell to you (i.e. put to you) the underlying security at the strike price and shares per contract on or before the expiration date. An opening sale is treated as a 'short' position on Portfolio Manger reports and is shown as a negative quantity.

Closing Buy: A Closing Buy transaction is the purchase of a previously sold (opening sale) call or put option.

Assignments, exercises, expiration of Options: all of these transactions, and their required tax adjustments, are handled within Investment Account Manager.

Reporting / Collective Reporting with Investment Account Manager
« on: August 16, 2018, 01:36:24 PM »
The Ability to combine your portfolios on Investment Account Manager's many reports is a powerful feature. In order for any portfolio management tool to be effective, it is essential to thoroughly provide a collective understanding of how your portfolios are integrated, and how the overlap. This information will allow you to analyze important questions:

1). Collectively, am I over/under allocated?
2). Am I diversified?
3). Do I hold concentrated positions?
4). Are the securities I own held in the right accounts — i.e., in deferred vs. taxable?

Investment Account Manager allows users to track an unlimited number of portfolios, each in its unique database file, transactions are segregated by account. This provides the user the ability to design portfolios by objective, and to track by individual investment account.

For Unified Account Management purposes, IAM helps allows the combination of portfolios on the program's many reports. This powerful ability keeps the user focused on multiple investment accounts relate.

If for example, you have both tax deferred and currently taxable accounts within Investment Account Manager, and you were interested in better understanding the overall asset allocation of all of your holdings, you would select Investment Account Manager's Asset Allocation Report and include all of your portfolios on that report using the report setup screen. Within seconds, Investment Account Manager will produce a report showing your combined portfolios' allocation by asset class (cash, bonds, stocks and other), by stock industry sector, and by stock size (large, medium or small cap).

Frequently Asked Questions / Understanding IAM's Historical Price Libary
« on: August 16, 2018, 12:57:14 PM »
Historic Prices

The Historic Prices library stores the historical security data. enabling users to recreate portfolios as of a specific date. for instance, you might want to review your portfolio as of past date, or review a from-to report.

Price history, earnings, dividends, etc. are maintained in the historic library, and users can derive reports for the historic date to derive portfolio values, performance, etc. After you have created historical prices for a date in this library, that date will be available for reporting.

Historic Price Library organizes all the information for securities stored for an as-of-date entry. Columns can be sorted by left double-clicking a column header, or moved by using a single left-click of the mouse and then dragging the column to a new location. The Look For window allows users to search for a specific item in the left-hand column.  You can filter the Historic Asset Library to show all securities, or filter by specific portfolio by clicking the drop down arrow to the right of the filter box, selecting the portfolio, and then selecting the Go! Button.

Add New Date: use this choice to create an as-of-date entry. Users are prompted to enter a date, and Investment Account Manager will then cross-references all portfolios to determine which assets owned on the date entered. After the historic library has been created for this date, Investment Account Manager will connect to the Internet and attempt to retrieve prices for the date. For each date created, Investment Account Manager will use the information currently stored in the current library data to update the historic library. Prices will be retrieved for the historic date, and any prices not found will be returned with a market price of $1. These will need to be manually updated by the user.

Important Note: when creating month end historic price dates, always use the calendar month end date.  Investment Account Manager will find the proper prices for the most recent market closing date, and store the prices using the calendar date.  This is required for deriving month end portfolio performance returns.

Delete Old Date: use this choice to remove an as-of-date entry from the historical prices library.

Default Settings: use this choice to reset the historic prices table to default column widths and order.

Delete All History: use this choice to clear all stored historic price dates.  New users should use this choice to delete all sample historic price dates included with the Investment Account Manager demo version sample data prior to creating historic dates for their own investment portfolios.

Update Prices: use this choice to update prices for the historic date using the Internet. Be sure to check prices returned. It is also used to re-update prices in the event securities are added after the last update.

Export: use this choice to export an existing historic price date to a file. This permits the user to create a historic price file for use on another system. The file is in comma separated format (csv) providing symbol, date, price, dividend, earnings, and beta (as found in the asset library).

Print: use this button to print the Historic Price library information. Securities are organized on this report based on the column sort order last selected by the user. To sort columns, left double-click on a column header. For example, if you want to organize this report based on past price/earnings ratios, use a left-double click on this column.

Delete: use this button to delete individual assets from the Historic Price library. Do not remove an asset from the historic list if the asset was held in any portfolio as of the date. Removing this security will result in inaccurate historical reports for the as-of-date.

Add: use this button to manually add assets directly to the list to reflect securities owned in portfolios for the historic as-of-date entry. Important Note: if you have already created the prior year-end historic price date for the year-to-date range, but then enter purchase activity for a new asset to this portfolio for this prior year (out of sequence), be certain to update the stored price in the Historic Price Library for this prior year-end date. The priced used for performance will reflect $1.00 unless this issue was previously entered to the historic price file.

The Edit/Update Tab shows the security information for the highlighted asset in the historic asset list tab. Users can edit on this tab the existing information as necessary. Also provided is a link to the Yahoo! Finance Historical Quotes page for the selected issue.

Use the Save button to record changes.

Use Cancel to ignore changes.

Important: Anytime you add purchase transactions proceeding the dates found in your existing historic asset library, the security involved is added to all the required libraries with a $1.00 price. Either manually change the price, or use the update prices to retrieve via the Internet.

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