Why should I pay for your services? There are plenty of great free investing websites!
If you have the time, the knowledge and the interest of managing your own portfolio, chances are you don’t need anybody else. In fact, there are several great free investing resources for DYI investors. Instead of putting a long list of websites, I spent time to analyzing my favorite sources of information and data. The list ranges from deep analysis (rare to find free), to stock lists and financial news. The list is not exhaustive since I use a limited amount of free resources. For the rest, I rely on what my team at DSR produces and I have a professional subscription to Ycharts.com for my stock research.
The DRiP Investing Resource Center
What this site is about: The DRIP Investing Resource Center is being maintained by a group of fellow dividend investors. This is basically a gold mine if you are looking for new ideas. The site includes a forum and they even have their own research center where they line up several great resources. But that’s not the reasons why I use this site.
What do I get: In my opinion, their most important page is their Tools & Forms. This is where I get a monthly update of The Dividend Champion List. To be included on the list, a company must be consistently increasing its calendar year dividend payout for at least the past 5 years.
If you are looking for stock spreadsheets, this page also offers you a DRIP calculator, portfolio tools and dividend calendar.
What’s annoying: The first time you will download the list, you will likely have a huge headache. This spreadsheet contains so much information that it looks like Pan’s Labyrinth at first. For that reason, I like to do spot checks, but I don’t over analyze all data found. Look for yourself:
What this site is about: Seeking Alpha is probably the most read investing website right now. The site is more than a news aggregator as it is also a great place to read financial analysis written by thousands of fellow investors. SA doesn’t only track dividend socks, but the market as a whole.
What do I get: First, I get a nice exposure on the site since I’m a regular contributor (you can read my articles here). But what I like the most is that SA aggregates quarterly earnings for all US stocks I own. Therefore, I have only one place to go to access the press releases, call transcripts and presentation slides. This is usually faster than going to each individual site when I do my quarterly reviews.
What’s annoying: As you know already, great information is often not entirely free. Everybody has to pay their bills, right? Seeking Alpha has been offering almost everything for free at the beginning. Now, many parts and features of the sites are reserved for paying members. Recently, they even prevent free users to read articles that have been published for a few weeks. Only the most recent articles are available for everybody. On a good note, if you are a regular SA contributor (e.g. writing exclusive articles for them), you will have access to older articles for free.
What this site is about: Morningstar is another giant investing resources. You will find many great articles on various investing topics along with basic information (for free users) on many companies. You can also discuss in their forum. Speaking of which, while I am currently not using it, there is also the Dividend Growth Forum if you like to discuss stocks.
What do I get: Fortunately for me, I have a “free” access to several Morningstar analysis through my online broker. This is a great way to use more than a trading platform. Through my online broker (I stick to National Bank since I worked for them for ages), I have access to National Bank Financial firm’s research along with Morningstar. I like their analysis as they offer a great overview of each business they cover. I don’t always agree with their conclusions, which is even better since I have a way to confront my investment thesis. Always build your own thesis before reading others.
What’s annoying: Similar to Seeking Alpha, if you are using their website, you will often find yourself “forced” to subscribe to one of their plans if you want to read the information you are looking for. Then again, why would Morningstar offers all its great work for free?
The company’s investor relations site
On top of those free resources, the sites I use the most are investor relations sites from the companies themselves.. This is always my first stop when I’m researching a new company. This is where I get more information on their quarterly earnings, presentation slides and webcast. Do not underestimate the quantity (and quality) of information found there. Each company is bound to follow laws and can’t publish wrong information.
The major downside I found by researching a company by using their own information is that management often tries to “sell you” their stock and not emphasis on challenges and potential threats. I guess it’s part of the game, but I would appreciate a more global view on their own business. Once I’m done reading their site, I go hunting for the “bad news” elsewhere.
The Last But Not The Least: Finimize
As a dividend investor followed by tens of thousands of readers (thank you to be part of it), I often receive emails from marketers about their products. They want access to what I have the most precious; my readers’ attention.
For that reason alone, I discard most of those “offers”. Howver, from time to time, I get impressed and I have the chance to discover a useful tool. This just happened last week when I discovered a free newsletter enabling you to keep up with the market daily with a 3-minute read. Here’s what I like about Finimize:
Short & Effective
I sometimes find myself having too many blogs and newsletters to read. Finimize makes my life easy with a daily 3-minute read that includes only a few points I can skim and get most of what’s happening.
The newsletter typically includes two news stories that is divided by the following sub-titles:
What’s Going On Here?
What Does This Mean?
Why Should I Care?
I must admit the straight-to-the-point approach fits very well with my style.
No spammy “hot stock reports” and other shady advertisements
When I was approached by Finimize, the first thing I did was to subscribe to their newsletter. I then did research about the company to discover it was a legitimate business founded in London with a strong business plan. Then, I started reading their newsletters for 2 consecutive weeks to see what would happen.
To my surprise; I only got great content with no spam and no shady offers.
I’m very happy with my own free subscription and I hope this new investing tool will help you save time in your busy day!
[Join more than 400,000 people] and get a three-minute breakdown in your inbox every day—for free.
More resources mentioned by fellow investors
There are obviously a lot more places you can go to get free information on the stock market. I don’t (or rarely) use the following sites, but they were referred other investors from my newsletter or Twitter.
Reuters: a great place for financial news.
FinViz: probably the most complete free stock screener you can get (still missing important data in my opinion, but it’s a good start).
Sure Dividend Morning Dividend Newsletter: Another great blog about dividend stocks. Sure Dividend recently launched its “Morning Dividend Newsletter” where you can get good information on a daily basis about the dividend world.
Meb Faber: This is renown investor offering his views on the market (with a podcast). I’m not always a fan of Faber, but I appreciate his work (most of the time… when he doesn’t bash dividend investing! Haha!).
A combination of resources is probably best
As you can see, if you are looking for solely “free resources” to invest, you will likely hit limited access on many sites. Jumping from one site to another to get a more complete view will also be a huge time eater. Combining a few free resources with one or two paid subscriptions is probably the most effective approach.
I know I would not have been able to build my portfolio without some paid resources. I would have likely made more mistakes that would have resulted in thousands of dollars in losses. Paying for a subscription is usually an investment, not an expense. What do you think?