Update: New Computer Investing Products
by CI Staff
Retirement Savings Planner 2008
Torrid Technologies’ Retirement Savings Planner helps individuals and couples save and plan for retirement. The program takes into account income from Social Security, pensions, defined-benefit plans, other cash infusions, special expenses and unlimited taxable and tax-deferred investments.
The program starts by asking for personal information such as current age, retirement age, current salary and estimated future raises. Next, you are asked for current investment account balances, annual contributions (both by you and from a company match) and a rate of return for both taxable and tax-deferred accounts. Finally, Social Security and pension benefits are added to the mix.
To increase the accuracy of the calculations, the program asks a few more questions about retirement goals, inflation rates, and current and expected future tax rates. Data is then graphed.
A savings graph illustrates the rate of growth of your various accounts over your working life. A retirement income graph details income from the variety of sources and expected shortfalls based on your retirement goals. The same data can be presented in spreadsheet form as well.
You can enter specific investment account details, including fund, stock and real estate investments. Additional cash infusions (for example, from the sale of a home) as well as special expenses can also be accounted for in the program’s analysis.
All data can be printed and exported to Excel. Support for the program is also available via E-mail and phone.
A demo version is available: It offers only limited flexibility for data entry and charting but gives an accurate picture of the program’s level of detail and functionality.
RSS feeds are a great way for investors to get up-to-the-minute stock market and investment data. Subscribing to numerous feeds can offer a variety of information, but can also be hard to track. RSS Readers allow you to organize and manage multiple RSS feeds.
NewsGator’s FeedDemon, which claims it is the most popular RSS reader for Windows users, organizes RSS feeds from various sites, including AAII.com.
The FeedDemon interface helps you stay informed with the latest news and information provided by RSS feeds. You can customize the way feeds are organized and displayed, set up news watches based on keywords or use the powerful search to find articles.
You can download podcasts and audio files to a portable audio device. In addition, FeedDemon synchronizes with NewsGator Online and the rest of the NewsGator RSS Suite. The software is pre-configured with dozens of feeds, and you can add your own.
You can use FeedDemon to manage feeds from financial Web sites as well as AAII content, including update feeds for the AAII Journal, Model Portfolios, Stock Investor Pro, Computerized Investing and the Quarterly Mutual Fund Update. Visit www.aaii.com/rss to sign up for AAII’s RSS feeds. First, click the orange RSS icon next to the feed you wish to add. Next, copy the Web address from the browser and paste it into FeedDemon by clicking “Subscribe” then choosing “I’ll enter the address” and pasting the URL. You can download FeedDemon for free at AAII’s download library in the Utilities category and at the company’s Web site.
MSN Money has introduced a new portfolio manager. The current version is still in beta testing, but users can test the program while the last kinks are worked out by Microsoft. Improvements include one-click intraday charts for all holdings in your portfolio and the ability to track a cash position. Current users of the portfolio manager will be able to transfer data automatically to the new tool. You can also continue using the old tool. To access the new portfolio manger, choose “Investing” then “Portfolio” from the menu bar.
1Option is a daily blog that discusses options trading. Each day, 1Option recaps market happenings and includes a short-term forecast. Comments on various groups and sectors as well as a discussion of option trading strategies are included. Blog readers can also view charts, lists of pre-open movers, and the day’s biggest gainers and losers. A chart of the week video shows readers how to find charting patterns. Access to these features is free. The site offers more in-depth newsletters and tools for a fee.
Price-Data offers historical security prices, including end-of-day price data for all stocks, even those no longer traded. For $39.99 per symbol, you receive an ASCII file via a download with end-of-day prices from 1970 to the present. To access this data, go to “Products” then choose “More Information” from the End of Day Quick Delivery option.
INO.com, a Web site with investment education and resources, has launched INO TV. INO TV includes hundreds of financial videos, audio files and downloadable trading manuals. INO TV’s resources are aimed at educating and training investors on a variety of trading strategies. Access to INO TV’s premium services costs $99.95 per year.
S3 Matching Technologies, a consulting company with proprietary software products, is teaming up with Scottrade to deliver more in-depth equity and options reporting and analysis. Scottrade now has a variety of customized tools and reports powered by S3’s technology, which evaluates the best price for an equity or option and uses market depth to analyze the best execution. Some aspects of the technology can be customized by users. The new data is available to all Scottrade customers.
On-line broker MB Trading has upgraded its MBT Navigator trading platform. The latest version, 11.0, includes improved basket trading and advanced order control features. The new managed account trading tool is designed for traders with multiple investment accounts and one or more investment strategies. A new Java-based charting tool includes a wide range of charting techniques and capabilities and 15 years of stock data. MBT Navigator is free for MB Trading customers. A free demo of the program is also available for download by non-customers.