Investing can help you grow your wealth. Unfortunately, there’s so much information out there it’s hard to tell where to go to start improving your investing knowledge.
Thankfully, plenty of investing tools and resources exist to help you achieve your goals. The best resources and tools depend on where you are in your financial journey, but here are some of the best options to get you started.
Overview of the best investment tools and resources
Tool or resource Best for
Personal Capital Managing your investments for you
Motley Fool Stock Advisor Stock picks from professionals
Morningstar Researching investments
Public Social investing with others
Vanguard Low-cost brokerage firm
Robinhood Commission-free brokerage with educational resources
Personal Capital is a mix between a financial advisor aided by technology and a financial management tool. Their financial management dashboard is free for anyone to use, but their financial advisory services come with a fee that starts at 0.89% of assets under management.
Free financial dashboard
The free financial dashboard can help you view your entire portfolio in one place. While you may have investment accounts across several apps, brokerage firms, and workplaces, you can connect them all to Personal Capital’s dashboard. Then, you can see the total performance over time with helpful charts.
View your portfolio asset allocation
Personal Capital’s dashboard is useful as more than an aggregator, though. It allows you to view your portfolio’s overall asset allocation based on asset classes. This can help prevent you from being overly invested in one area without realizing it. Since investments at each brokerage you invest with don’t talk to each other, it’s easy to double up on similar investments and not know it.
The dashboard also allows you to view what sectors your investments fall in, the fees you pay on your investments, and plan for your future retirement with their retirement planner tool. Personal Capital has tools to help you manage your cash flows and budget, too.
Wealth management services
If you want to have a financial advisor help manage your investments, Personal Capital offers that service to people with $100,000 or more of investable assets. The advisors work with you to develop a financial plan and put it into action. Technology helps the advisers get the most out of your investments with tools like smart weighting, tax optimization, intelligent rebalancing, and dynamic portfolio allocation.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor
The Motley Fool Stock Advisor is a paid resource for investors. You pay $199 per year in exchange for two new stock picks each month, ten timely buys chosen from over 300 stocks, foundational stock recommendations for investors and their portfolios, and community and investing resources.
The Motley Fool has a long history of providing stock tips on the internet through premium products like this. This service helps take a lot of time and research out of the stock-picking equation by allowing experts to do it for you.
You still have to decide if you want to invest in the stock picks they offer, which will require some research on your own. The Motley Fool Stock Advisor does give you a starting place to begin, though. Keep in mind, you aren’t the only one receiving this service. Motley Fool has other paid subscribers that will be getting the same tips. This could result in changes in the investment’s price after picks are released.
Two huge benefits of this service are the educational materials and community access. These materials can help you learn more about stock picking and investing as a whole. If you have questions, you can post messages in their investor community to learn from other experienced investors, as well.
- A massive wealth of information.
- Expert analyst reports on investments.
- Cost: $199/yr for premium access.
If you’re looking for a great place to research before making your investments, Morningstar might be the perfect solution for you. Morningstar offers many free features, including investment news, current market pricing, and basic information about many investments including stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds.
View investment features
People considering a particular investment can view that investment’s expense ratio, fee level, manager tenure, category, investment style, minimum initial investment, historical performance data, risk, and much more all in one place. This can be a great resource when you’re narrowing down a list of potential investments.
Morningstar Premium adds even more features
Morningstar adds extra value for paid subscribers of their premium service. Morningstar Premium adds analyst reports, top investment picks, and more features within its portfolio manager tool. Premium also gives you access to 12 additional tools within their portfolio x-ray tool and more screening options, including Morningstar ratings. All of which can help you track and manage your investments.
Perfect for stock investors
If you’re an index investor, Morningstar probably won’t add much value for you. Even so, stock pickers and market timers may find Morningstar’s analyst reports and in-depth research very useful when deciding whether an investment is worth putting money into.
Public is an investing app that lets you invest in a unique way.
Fractional share investing
They allow you to invest in stocks and ETFs like many other apps do, and they even enable partial share investments to help people invest without putting up enough money to buy whole shares.
Social investing feature
Where Public stands out is the unique social investing features of their app. Public allows you to follow other investors as they share their thoughts on their investments. These people may have unique perspectives you haven’t thought of, opening up new ideas and new investment possibilities.
The Public app also supports starting and joining group chats to talk about investments, companies, and trends. Their group chats can include stock tickers, real-time charts, and let you mention other investors within the conversations.
While social investing sounds neat, you need to be careful. One person may love how a company is doing something unique. However, that uniqueness may be a bad thing if it leads to substandard profits or the company failing. You always need to do your own research before investing rather than relying on tips from others you don’t know.
- Educational materials.
- Low-cost robo-advisor option.
- Low-cost brokerage firm.
Vanguard’s website provides information in a more traditional style but still offers plenty of great resources.
Tons of educational materials
They have information about investment types and account types to help you pick the right varieties for your situation. They share guides about investing for specific goals, such as college, as well as investor education pieces about taxes, choosing investments, and investment research.
Large variety of account types
Vanguard offers a wide variety of account types you can open including IRAs, taxable brokerage accounts, and other niche account types you may need. They also allow you to invest in a wide variety of investment options.
Digital Advisor service
Newer investors or people that would rather not manage their investments themselves might like Vanguard’s Digital Advisor service. It provides automated investing in a personalized portfolio based on your goals and risk tolerance.
The program makes adjustments when necessary to keep you on the right path toward your goals. It even has a debt pay-off tool and a dashboard to help you better manage your finances. Vanguard’s robo-advisor service requires a $3,000 minimum to enroll but comes with a relatively low 0.15% fee for managing and tracking your investments and money for you.
- Great educational resources.
- No-commission trades.
- Fractional shares of stocks.
Robinhood has gained some serious popularity over the years, and for good reason.
Plenty investing resources
Robinhood has three sets of investing resources they call Investing 101, library, and snacks. Investing 101 provides you the basic knowledge you need to start investing in the investment options they offer. Library gives you information about investing in general and specific situations, such as how they believe you should approach investing in your 20s. Snacks are more news-related finance pieces.
Robinhood’s educational resources should help you get ready to use their platform. The app allows you to make trades commission-free. You can buy and sell stocks, ETFs, options, and certain cryptocurrencies on the platform. Unlike Vanguard, you can get started with Robinhood with just $1. You can easily see all your investments via Robonhod’s mobile app, and you can even add investments you want to track to your watchlist.
DIY approach to investing
Robinhood requires you to manage your money yourself. There are no robo-advisor options with the app so you control your destiny. This can be a good thing if you have a solid investment plan you can stick to. If you don’t have one yet, Robinhood’s educational resources can help you get on the right track to start.
Summary of the best investing tools and resources
Tool or resource Cost Best features
Personal Capital Free financial dashboard;
0.89% of assets under management
View your entire financial picture in one place by linking your accounts
Motley Fool Stock Advisor $199/yr Get two well-researched stock picks each month from experts
Morningstar $199/yr Access analyst reports on investments you’re considering
Public No fees other than those regulatorily required Learn from others using the apps social investing tools
Vanguard Digital Advisor costs 0.15% per year Inexpensive robo-advisor offering and educational resources
Robinhood Commission-free trades unless you upgrade to Robinhood Gold Commission-free trades and educational resources
Don’t forget the ultimate free resource – books
Books are one of the best investing resources we have available to us today. You won’t be able to get information on the most recent trends or the latest stock quotes in books. What you can get is fantastic foundational knowledge to help you build your investing philosophy.
When selecting a book, carefully consider the author, when it was published, and why you want to read it. Some basics of investing don’t change even after decades. More timely commentary needs to be updated every few years.
Even with books written by financial experts, you need to be careful. A single person’s view isn’t always right for you. Each expert has their own advice that may not align with your ideas or another expert’s opinions. For this reason, it makes sense to read several viewpoints before settling on how you want to manage your investments.
The best part is you can usually borrow books for free from your local library. If that isn’t an option, purchasing digital versions of books may save you money. Used books are an option, too. Of course, buying a full-price new book can still be worth the cost if you learn something useful.
How we came up with this list
To come up with this list, we looked at investing tools and resources available and carefully considering which ones are the most useful based on different situations.
Each one of these investing tools needed to offer multiple features, especially ones with a relatively high cost. For example, Personal Capital offers everything from investing trackers to wealth management.
While some of these services definitely have a higher cost, the value you get for your money is what we took into consideration. Each tool offers a wealth of knowledge that any investor could benefit from.
We considered different resources based on where a person may be in their investing journey. We wanted to include companies that offer educational value for young investors in particular, but also for more experienced investors as well.
Why should you use investing tools and resources?
Investing tools and resources may assist by providing methods to achieve better investment performance, although that isn’t always the case. Alternatively, the resources may help you learn facts and techniques about investing without making common investing mistakes first.
For example, Personal Capital’s financial management offering can help you properly diversify your investments. By doing this, you can avoid learning firsthand that a portfolio that isn’t diversified can quickly decline in value if your main investment falters.
The tools can also provide information that may otherwise take many hours to gather on your own. They may display information in unique and helpful ways that make it easier to see what’s going on in the investment world.
Why shouldn’t you use investing tools and resources?
All investing tools and resources won’t be a good fit for you. Some may promote investing strategies you don’t believe in. For instance, an index investor would likely never use Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor.
That doesn’t mean all investing tools and resources are bad, though. Index investors may learn a lot from reading books about index investing or using a robo-advisor that uses smart tax strategies to attempt to increase overall returns.
The key is finding the investing tools that help you become a better investor based on the type of investing you want to do.
Most important features of investing tools and resources
Each investing tool or resource has different features, benefits, and costs. Ideally, you should focus on finding tools or resources that provide the most overall value for the money.
Free resources may seem like the best deal, but that isn’t always the case. If they don’t give you access to the information you need in an easy-to-understand format, you may end up wasting precious time making mistakes with your investments.
Balance the value of your time and the benefits an investing tool or resource provides to find the ones that may be a good fit for you.
Investing tools and resources can help you build foundational knowledge to start investing for your future. Some paid services claim to give you an edge over others by providing specific advice or recommendations. In the end, you must decide which investment strategy to use.
If your particular strategy would benefit from these tools and resources, they’re worth considering. Just make sure that the value you get from them exceeds their cost. Otherwise, you’ll end up with less money overall.