The Portfolio Toolkit Is Ready for Any Data Challenge

Updates, Charts

One of the most rewarding things about working on Portfolio Charts over the years is how it has kept me on my creative toes. While building a few spreadsheets to answer my own financial questions is certainly a great motivator, designing them in such a way that anyone around the world can also put them to productive use is quite the challenge. That process of picturing your own ideas through outside eyes is educational in its own way and often exposes opportunities for improvement. So designing for both yourself and for others is a mutually beneficial exercise that’s hard to beat for progressive innovation.

I’ve been tinkering within that cycle a lot lately. It started with a simple cleanup of my own data collection that I use to power the site, which was admittedly rather complicated with several different spreadsheets that I used to pull everything together. After creating a brand new system from scratch, I was so happy with the results that I realized others might find it similarly useful.

Fast forward several months and more revisions than I care to count, and I’m excited to announce a very cool new product offering — the Portfolio Charts Toolkit.

What is the Portfolio Toolkit?

In the simplest terms, the Toolkit is a combination of the My Portfolio tool to create every chart at once and a fancy new data management system that allows you to collect, convert, and combine your own data sources to model any portfolio you like.

When I first offered a downloadable version of the My Portfolio tool, the idea was to provide a simple way for people to chart their own data series. The only catch is that you have to bring your own data to the table and manually enter the annual returns. While that sounds relatively simple on the surface, I know first hand how much work it takes to get to that point. Collecting source data, converting to the right formats, combining sources into a single asset series, calculating the weighted average, and adjusting everything for currency, inflation, and expense ratios isn’t necessarily rocket science but it does require a lot of effort and a bit of technical know-how.

Basically, the Toolkit is my solution for streamlining that entire process into a form that anyone can manage. Yes, it’s an effective way to make pretty charts. But it’s also more than that. It’s a complete data management system for DIY investors.

What can the Toolkit do?

The Toolkit is a pretty powerful tool, and it’s hard to describe every function without a full lecture. But if you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few highlights:

  • Collect historical data for up to 100 different sources and combine multiple sources into a single asset series with a click of a few buttons.
  • Does your source data come in different formats? The Toolkit can automatically convert currencies, turn index values into percentages, and calculate the total return of a bond from interest rates. If you have annual data, the Toolkit will do the rest.
  • Save up to 30 different custom portfolio ideas and quickly flip through the charts to study different ideas and find your favorite.
  • Create up to 10 country profiles with currency and inflation data to model the local purchasing power of your portfolio.
  • Enter the expense ratio for each asset, and the Toolkit will automatically adjust the numbers to account for the weighted ER for the calculated portfolio.

Needless to say, I’ve put a lot of work into the Toolkit to verify that it’s robust enough to handle everything I need to manage the data for the site. And if it can work even for my extreme needs, there’s a very good chance it will work for you, too.

How does it work?

The Toolkit is an Excel spreadsheet that is designed as an independent download separate from the online Portfolio Charts tools. But don’t worry — even if you don’t have Excel, you can still use it! All it takes is a free Microsoft account and you can run everything in a browser window.

Rather than simply providing one sheet where you enter data and see a chart, the Toolkit collates multiple layers of information that all work together. Everything is contained and sorted within its own sheet:

  1. Exchange
  2. Inflation
  3. Countries
  4. Sources
  5. Assets
  6. Portfolios
  7. Charts

While 7 sheets may seem intimidating at first, it’s not that complicated once you figure things out. Like a shelf with clearly labeled containers, it’s mostly about organization. And the big benefit to all of that extra information is that it allows you to easily collect and chart pretty much anything you can imagine.

Just to be clear, source data is NOT included. While I do have lots of free data sources that I recommend, you still have to do the work yourself to add your own. But the beauty of the Toolkit is that it’s much easier to collect data and put those raw numbers to good use. It’s just as much a robust data management tool as it is a charting device.

If you find the Toolkit interesting and would like to learn more, check out the full Toolkit Walkthrough. There you can read more detail about each sheet, try a free sample, and also learn how to open it in Excel if you don’t already have Microsoft 365 access.

Portfolio Charts Toolkit

/// Explore the Toolkit ///

A sophisticated tool for DIY investors

Put it all together, and the Toolkit is probably my most powerful spreadsheet creation to date. But I’ve also put a lot of work into making it accessible for non-spreadsheet people, as the idea is to strike the right balance between pure ease of use and raw power so that it can help expand your possibilities.

If you just want to model your favorite mutual fund it can do that very easily. And as you grow your data collection and come up with new ideas, it can also help you do that without forcing you to learn a lot of advanced Excel formulas first.

Long story short, I like to think of it as my way of empowering normal people to become their own investing analyst. You find the data, and the Toolkit will put it to productive use.

So beginning today, I’m making a tweak to the many different spreadsheet options available for purchase. The old versions of the individual chart downloads and My Portfolio bundle are out, and the focus will be on maintaining a single Toolkit system that supports the needs of the DIY investing community.

Giving thanks

Speaking of community, I’d like to take a moment to thank a few people.

First, thanks to the Portfolio Charts members who tinkered with the members-only sneak preview and provided feedback. You rock!

Second, a very special thank you to all the people who have purchased the downloadable My Portfolio tool over the last year. I wouldn’t be doing all this without your support and enthusiasm for this type of thing, and my hope is that you’ll find the new Toolkit even more useful. Be sure to check your inbox (and junk email folder, just in case) in the coming days, as I plan to take good care of you with a nice discount that you don’t want to miss.

And finally, I’d like to offer an early thank you to anyone who chooses to purchase the Toolkit for themselves. I value not only your support but also your feedback. If you find a bug somewhere or a feature that doesn’t work quite like you need, please let me know. And if you ever notice an email in the future about a new download you didn’t order, just know that it’s legit. I’m always happy to share updates as I improve things over time.

The road to investing knowledge

If you read the first paragraph on the Portfolio Charts home page, you’ll notice that my mission statement is relatively concise:

My mission is to provide tools and resources that empower everyday people to achieve their financial goals while enjoying the journey.

Yeah, mission statements can be rather lame sometimes, but I put a lot of work into that. One of the most important keywords to me is “journey”, and I mean it in multiple ways. First, it alludes to one’s life journey that is about way more than just accumulating money. But it also references one’s natural financial journey from the early days of knowing basically nothing to later stages of more advanced understanding.

Stepping back and looking at the larger Portfolio Charts picture, I like how the Toolkit fits into the overall strategy of offering helpful things for different types of people no matter where you are in that path.

1. If you’re new to asset allocation, simply browsing the Portfolios is a great place to start. You’ll learn a ton about investing concepts and can compare the real-world performance of many competing ideas.

2. For early-stage tinkerers, I offer tons of free Charts with a huge amount of data options that can model almost any standard portfolio. Playing with the settings and watching how they affect the numbers in real time is a great way to learn about the power of asset allocation.

3. For growing researchers who want to study many charts at once but don’t really care about scouring the internet for data, you can get access to the My Portfolio tool with an inexpensive membership. Not only will that save you a lot of time, but your support will also help me maintain the site for everyone.

4. And for advanced portfolio modelers, you can purchase the Toolkit to help you dig in and explore your own data. From charting a single data series from your personal investment returns to building complicated portfolios out of a wide variety of source data, the Toolkit has you covered.

So rather then diving into the data deep end head-first, the most important starting point is to identify where you are in your own investing journey. Save your money, start simple, and work your way up.

Once you reach the stage where you fully appreciate what Portfolio Charts has to offer and would like the ability to expand the default asset options to your own unique sources, please check out the Toolkit. It’s a product of many years of my own investing education, and I think you’ll also find it useful.

Happy portfolio hunting!

/// How the Toolkit Works ///



Manage tons of historical data and create every chart at once
Free Sample

Free Sample

Try a free sample version of the Toolkit to build an Equalizer chart
Data Sources

Data Sources

Find free public source data for your personal Toolkit collection

If you have questions about the Toolkit, here’s a great place to start.

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