Portfolio Charts is coming up on its 8-year anniversary in a few months, which is pretty incredible when I think about it. The effort has involved dozens of scratch-built tools, hundreds of posts, and thousands of hours of work. And from the emails I receive I can tell that it is all worth it. I started it all to share a few charts to help people see investing in a new way, and the reward of hearing from people who have been genuinely helped by all the hard work never wears off.
One of the first unexpected things I learned a while back is that y’all are a generous crowd looking to help and give back. To meet that request, I added the option for donations and eventually a few products as well. Well, today I’m happy to announce that there’s a third way to directly support the site.
If you want to be a part of keeping the charts running, you can now sign up to become an official patron of good data. You heard that right — Portfolio Charts now has memberships!
What is a Membership?
Memberships are monthly subscriptions that allow you to give small amounts on a regular basis. It’s similar to Patreon in that it allows you to directly support creators you love, but everything is integrated seamlessly into the site which allows for additional features from special tools to product discounts and more.
While most websites with subscription options tend to gate everything useful behind a paywall, I’m taking a more relaxed approach similar to what you might see with the classic museum patron model. Museums generally want to have as many people as possible appreciate the joys of their collections while fostering a group of proud supporters who give back and help make it all possible.
So rather than gatekeeping the best information, think of a Portfolio Charts membership as your chance to be a part of something useful for everyone. Yes, there are a few bonuses that come with your membership. But they’re the cherry on top of the data and articles you already enjoy.
In addition to the personal reward of supporting a good cause, membership has its benefits. As a show of my appreciation to the people who lend a regular hand, all supporters receive the following perks:
Perhaps the most unique feature of Portfolio Charts is the many free interactive charts that allow you to visualize the historical numbers for any portfolio you can imagine. In addition to the standard option of studying your own asset allocation one chart at a time, members get access to the My Portfolio tool that models every chart at once using a single portfolio interface. It’s a huge time-saver!
For what it’s worth, I understand that some of you that have enjoyed the My Portfolio tool for years may be a little bummed to see it password protected. And since sharing portfolio data with as many people as possible is something I truly believe in, gating information is not something I take lightly.
So to be very clear, all of the charts contained in My Portfolio are completely free in individual chart form and no membership is required to model your own portfolio. But my hope is that many of you will enjoy the mutually-beneficial relationship that comes with a particularly powerful and convenient tool you gain by supporting a resource you value.
Whenever I come up with new product ideas, I’m always excited to share. Members receive discounts on various products on a rotating basis. For example, to celebrate the membership launch I just introduced a cool new Portfolio Charts hat. Anyone can buy it, but members get 20% off.
The discounts will change monthly, so be sure to keep an eye on the Portfolio Products section for updates. And if there’s something you’d like to nominate for a discount, I do take requests!
In case you missed it, I recently launched a Portfolio Charts Discord server where investors around the world can chat about portfolio ideas. It’s open to everyone, but members also receive a special Patron of the Charts role. Beyond the cool title, it grants you access to a Members Only section where I can share new ideas and periodic rewards with supporters.
To kick that feature off, anyone who becomes a member through April gets a free individual spreadsheet download of their choice (My Portfolio not included). Just become a member, connect your account to Discord via the supporter perks page, and comment in the newly unlocked “free spreadsheet” channel in the Members section with the name of your favorite chart. It’s a manual process, but I’ll send you a personalized promo code via DM as soon as I can.
My main goal with memberships isn’t to upsell people on increasingly expensive reward options but simply to offer a way for happy readers to support the site on a regular basis. So rather than going overboard with lots of tiers that are common on sites like Patreon, there’s just one membership level at $5 per month. Think of it as buying a single cup of coffee a month to support a good cause, and I feel like it’s something attainable and sustainable for lots of people.
For those who are willing and able to give more than that, there’s also the option to pay any amount that you like. For example, maybe you’re particularly happy with how Portfolio Charts helped you learn how to successfully invest and would be open to donating a few basis points of your portfolio value a year. That’s still a lot less than you’d pay an expensive financial adviser! It’s not at all required, but your generosity is greatly appreciated and will go towards helping others reach the same point.
Finally, I know that it’s difficult to commit to something you can’t try out first. So to help you feel comfortable, just enter the promo code you’ll find in checkout to get the first month for 80% off. For as little as a single dollar you can get access to everything with no strings attached. If it’s not for you, you’re free to cancel at any time with zero hassle. But my hope is that you’ll stick around and join the team of dedicated supporters who make all of the free data possible with no ads or other conflicts of interest.
Support The Things You Care About
Knowing that I’ve gone for years without charging a dime for access, I imagine some of you may be wondering why I’m starting a membership program now. That’s a fair question.
To provide context for an honest answer, this feels like a good time to remind people that Portfolio Charts isn’t your typical financial blog or website. It’s not a front for an adviser service or a sales channel for a financial company. And if it was intended to be a fully monetized website I wouldn’t continue to eschew paid ads and offer all of the portfolio data and online tools for free. It’s more than that. In fact, it’s personal.
In case you aren’t aware, this really is a project by one individual investor. I make all the tools, research all the data, write every article, troubleshoot my own HTML, and even design every product myself. To say it’s a passion probably doesn’t do it justice. I do all of this not only because I enjoy it but also because I believe it’s important.
It’s so important to me, in fact, that Portfolio Charts grew over the years from a fun side project to my primary productive focus. But when I choose to research and share information freely rather than spend my time on other far more profitable activities, that dedication does have an opportunity cost. And I’ve learned from some great people that it’s ok to give those who value my work an opportunity to help bridge that gap.
So let me put it this way…
My goal with Portfolio Charts is to offer the open and independent resource that I wish I had access to when I first started investing, and I’m willing to put in the work. If you’d like to help make that happen, please consider signing up for a membership. The money you give will provide access to some nice perks, but more importantly it will be put to good use. Your contributions can make a real difference not only in keeping the lights on but also in helping a whole new generation of people learn how to smartly invest.
If you’re suffering from subscription fatigue and a membership isn’t for you, that’s totally cool. There are other ways to help as well, such as buying a product or spreadsheet or making a one-time donation. And even if you simply want to learn how to manage your investments without parting with a dime, I get it! I’m naturally sympathetic to smart money management, and Portfolio Charts will always remain a free resource for all investors. Take your time, and all I ask is that you think about this article when Portfolio Charts helps you finally find a portfolio for the long run to grow and protect your life savings.
So no matter whether you become a member or contribute in other ways, Portfolio Charts will have your back. But for the special subset of you willing to also have mine on a regular basis, you have my genuine thanks.
The best road in the world is still nothing without the supporters that help lay each brick. Become a member, and we can build something together.
Thank you for your support!
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