Complete Sharesight review from a long-term investor and sharesight customer. Find out if this portfolio manager is right for you, and whether you can trust them with your portfolio
- Completely free for under 10 holdings
- Free 4 months premium for CaptainFI readers
- Fully Automatic
- Advanced portfolio reporting – Price, Dividends and Share splits
- Easy and simple to use with great customer support
- Cloud based – access anywhere, anytime
- Comprehensive tax reporting
- Tracks major Cryptocurrencies, property and other assets
- Mobile app is basic and has limited functionality when compared to the web client
- Tricky to manually import trades or CSV sheets
- Limited ability to link to US share trading accounts
- If you are a trader or have more than 10 stocks, the free account can provide misleading reports as it only tracks 10 of your stocks (seemingly at random).
Sharesight is a simple and easy way to track and manage your investment portfolio. Sharesight be fully and securely integrated with your share trading platform or stock broker and can be fully automated meaning you do not need to manually add any information whenever you make an investment.
Sharesight provides advanced portfolio performance reporting in the form of easy to read graphs, as well as comprehensive financial reporting which you can use to files taxes yourself, or provide to your accountant, financial advisor or tax specialist.
Sharesight actually free for the majority of those on the path to Financial Advice who use an index tracking ETF or LIC strategy (since you will have less than 10 unique stock holdings).
Sharesight operate on a ‘freemium’ business model, where if you want to upgrade and track more than 10 unique stocks you need to sign up for a premium account. I have recently upgraded to a premium account and find the additional tools worth it.
In this Sharesight review I will show you exactly what is in my portfolio and how I use sharesight to track it, as well as how I use the Sharesight tax reports to file my personal tax returns.
I have successfully used Sharesight three times to conduct my personal tax return, managing returns from a seven figure investment portfolio
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How to manage your investment portfolio
I frequently get asked something along the lines of… “Hey CaptainFI, how do you manage your portfolio? Do you use Excel or which accounting software did you buy? Or do you just hand a shoe-box full of ASX trade notes to the accountant?“. I’m not even kidding, there is about 10 of these sitting in the inbox right now.
I usually reply “Uhh yeah so I really don’t do anything… I initially used Excel and freaked out over every detail but now I don’t bother“. If I am honest, I don’t actually do anything at all for the most part and I only really care about it at tax time. Of course, I do post nifty little pie charts for my monthly Net Worth updates and this takes a few minutes in Excel, but I wouldn’t say this is how I legally manage my portfolio for tax purposes.
Since I am in my ‘accumulation phase’ all I really care about is aggressively acquiring as many shares of low cost ETF index funds that I can, with the odd LIC sprinkled in for good measure if its trading below NAV.
Portfolio tracking to aid decision making
I guess it could be useful to review your portfolio between purchases as it might help you figure out which ETF or LIC has ‘gone down the most’ and presents the best ‘value’ at the time. But you can just look at google for this – I tend to just look at whatever LIC is trading at biggest discount, or buy an ETF for whichever market (AUS / US / WORLD ex US) that seems to have dipped the most.
Portfolio tracking becomes important at tax time
Of course, portfolio management becomes important when it is Tax time; any dividends, extra shares or bonus shares you receive from a dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) or Dividend share substitution plan (DSSP) you are liable to pay income tax for. You need to know just how much tax you are liable for so that you don’t attract the attention of the constabulary…
The simple, hassle free way that I track my portfolio
So maybe I should finish my answer. I don’t really do anything, because Sharesight does it all for me.
I used to keep track of everything in an excel spreadsheet, but it got really clunky. As much as I used to geek out over excel tables of budgets, net worth and investments which I kept meticulous records of, I just don’t care anymore these days.
I let Sharesight do it all for me – the best part, its 100% free if you have under 10 holdings. If for some reason you want to hold more than 10 stocks, or if you want to manage multiple portfolios – then you can subscribe to their paid version which is pretty cheap anyway in my opinion for what you get and the time it saves you.
I have personally used Sharesight for years now, and have a pretty good grasp on how to use it. It has some pretty awesome features, my favourite hands down would have to be the email confirmation trade importing tool. Sharesight literally saves me from having to do hours and hours of manual spreadsheet data entry, check sum calculations and pissing around with tax office rules and regulations to make sure I’m not inadvertently committing tax fraud.
It is also a convenient way to check on the performance of my portfolio for my Networth updates. Otherwise, I simply open up Sharesight once or twice a year and blow the dust off the login screen, confirm all the imported data about all of the ETFs I have bought that year is correct (the automatic data imports do it all behind the scenes for me), verify all of the dividends paid into my brokerage account, and then print out my Tax summary which I hand to the accountant. Then I log out and leave it to accumulate dust for the next financial year!
I’ll run through what I think some of the important bits are;
Sharesight is a web based software which keeps track of your investments for you. You can create a free account, log in, and then enter all of your holdings (or import them all at once). It automatically spits out performance, dividend payments, stock splits etc for you to confirm and cross check against your other records should you wish. If you have under 10 holdings, then your portfolio tracking is 100% free, and you never have to pay a cent.
There are increasingly clever ways to import data – for example the functionality exists using API integration for many online stock brokers to automatically import your live purchase data from your brokerage account without the need to ever manually input the transactions.
All you need to do is follow the user guide on sharesight and it ends up being about three clicks to generate a unique email trade confirmation account which you then provide your broker with to send the notes to – every-time you make a trade, it automatically gets replicated onto your sharesight account.
It took me less than an hour to set up my Sharesight account and import all my data. Now that my automatic data importing is set up through both API and email trade confirmations across my brokers, I really don’t have to do anything at all.
Once a year at tax time I verify all of the dividend payments. Then I simply click ‘Print’ on my tax documents and hand that to my accountant. It couldn’t be more simple.
sharesight have a mobile app however it is pretty old and outdated. It is obvious that they don’t prefer people to be using the app and would rather clients log onto the web client in their web browser. The web client is fully mobile responsive, so it is actually really good to view on mobile devices like phones or ipads. I pretty much only use the web client myself.
The best part is, if you have under ten holdings like most of the FI community, then its completely free. If you hold the Aussie FI portfolio of ultra low cost index tracking ETFs such as Vanguards VTS and VEU, and the Betashares A200, then you’ll have absolutely no worries.
Even If your a tinkerer like me (and tinkering has proven to reduce your investment returns so do so at your peril) and you own a few more holdings like the LICs I have, you’ve got up to ten holdings to play with before you start having to pay for the service.
How much will you have to pay? Who knows, its irrelevant to all of us on the path to Financial Independence! We know keeping costs low is crucial to maintaining out low cost of living and maximising our savings rate and minimising our time to reach FI. With the fantastic tool that are ETFs and LICs, we can have global diversification in thousands of individual companies in just one holding, so there is no need to ever have as many as ten!
If you still really want to know how much for the premium versions, its currently this and clicking the image will take you to the current website. I have worked out a deal with Sharesight for CaptainFI readers where you guys will get 4 months of the subscription for free – just click the image below and it will take you to the site. Although I still don’t think you need to pay for premium, if you use this Bonus sign up link for CaptainFI readers, it will apply the special bonus to your account should you ever need to upgrade.
Sharesight is easy to use. They have detailed user guides and its very intuitive from a web design point of view. Just don’t use it like an idiot and be logged in all the time hawk-eyeing your stock performance! Remember that saying a watched pot never boils? Yeah well, something something, stop looking at your ETFs! Just chill and let them do their thing in the background. Go do something productive like bake a sourdough or make some beer!
In all seriousness though, sharesight makes it super easy to accurately see the detailed performance of your portfolio. Most brokers wont take into account things like dividends or stock splits, and Sharesight automatically tracks all of these actions for your portfolio meaning you get an up to date and real time answer for exactly how your performance has been.
I think the best way to use it is simply on the portfolio review section where you can generate nifty little graphs (check them out below), but if you are more into analytics and spreadsheets, you can download all of the reporting from the ‘reports’ tab.
If you want to see examples of my Sharesight reporting in action, you can check out my Networth updates where I show you exactly what I see. Below is an example report of my FI portfolio over the month of September. As you can see, Sharesight tracks each of my shares performance, and then totals them to give the overall portfolio return. This includes Dividends, Capital growth and shares purchases, and Sharesight even keeps track of things like franking credits and share splits.
I was initially sold on Sharesight because it was totally free, but the company recently reached out and suggested I try the premium version – they upgraded my account to a premium trial just to give it a go, and of course I am going to talk about it here.
At first glance, the main functionality is identical to the free version, however because premium now includes a backdated list of all of my stock performance from when I started tracking it in January 2018, I get a nifty screenshot showing the total return.
9.17% p.a. is not bad, a bit of total performance drag from my previous ‘stock picking’ activities but pretty close to the total 10% figure I like to work on as the average index return. We aren’t getting Earth shattering returns, but we know over the long term, index approach strategies are going to provide the highest returns (or rather the highest-risk adjusted returns?) as no one can consistently out perform the market over the long term. There is no need to get greedy and risk my financial independence by gambling on individual socks.
To get an Idea of how this all worked, and the breakdown of how each stock performed I can get a screenshot of all of my previous holdings which is as follows;
If you couldn’t guess, yes I tried some stock picking through the Barefoot Investor Blueprint Subscription but eventually I got wise, read JL Collins the Simple Path to Wealth and adopted an index investing strategy.
Finally though, this is the gold-mine. The Reports section. This is where the value really lies, because Sharesight let you automatically print off these awesome reporting documents. The most important ones to me are;
- Taxable Income Report
- Capital Gains Tax Report
- Sold Securities Report
This is because these are the main ones I hand to my accountant to get my annual tax returns done for me
Out of interest, the other ones I like to look at are the
- Performance Report
- Diversity Report
- All Trades Report
- Unrealised CGT Report
Because these give me an idea about the size, performance, diversity, transactions and tax liabilities that the portfolio currently has.
So Bottom line: Sharesight premium is definitely not required for your average punter (especially if your using the core index investing strategy like I am with under ten holdings), but I honestly think it is a fantastic product, especially the reporting, and I will be using it in the future. If you have multiple holdings, fancy yourself as a bit of a trader, or if you just need to track multiple portfolios or want advanced reporting, then its probably a no-brainer to just get the premium version. If you use this bonus sign up code for CaptainFI readers you can get four months of premium for free when you sign up for a yearly subscription.
To be honest, as the end user you probably don’t really care about this. But, since the team are providing such a bloody awesome free tool I think it would be rude not to acknowledge their efforts and generosity
Tony and Scott Ryburn are a very switched on and successful father-son duo. Tony had been a committed and enthusiastic investor in both the Australian and New Zealand share markets for decades, and worked as a director in the finance industry. His Son Scott worked extensively in the project management and Information Technology industry, managing computer networks, working as an IT analyst and managing high end home automation.
Together they dreamt about creating a better way of managing investments. Tony had spent decades as an investor, frustrated with the record keeping tools available at the time. Around 2006 they got serious about working on the project, bringing on board two highly experienced software developers.
Since then it has grown into the tool we use today, and is managed by a great team across their development team in Wellington (New Zealand), and a management team in the Sydney (Australia) office.
I often get asked about sharesight and so I decided to compile a list of FAQ below to help out
Sharesight is a free comprehensive portfolio tracking tool which displays your investment portfolio. You can generate comprehensive performance reporting, tax reports, and graphs. Sharesight considers capital growth, dividends, Dividend reinvestment, stock splits, and can also be used to track real estate and cryptocurrencies.
Yes, Sharesight Pty Ltd is a legitimate Australian company (ABN 36 151 146 726) which is registered with ASIC. They provide easy and accurate portfolio tracking and reporting. I have personally used them for over four years, and have had no issues submitting their tax reporting documents to my accountants for my personal tax returns
Yes, sharesight is safe. I have used it for over four years to manage my seven figure net worth portfolio with no security issues. All data is encrypted, and Sharesight use enterprise-grade data centres which employ a number of electronic and physical security measures. Sharesight is also subject to regular security audits. Sharesight is also registered with ASIC and subject to their regulations. You can only access your account with secure password authentication, or via the Google Identity service.
Yes, if you plan to only hold less than 10 shares in your portfolio then sharesight is 100% free. You can upgrade to a premium subscription if you decide to hold more than 10 shares in your portfolio. This makes it a perfect, free solution for index fund ETF investors.
The sharesight API is its Application Programming Interface. This is software which allows you applications to share data, and is used in sharesight to transfer date from your broker into sharesight to automatically track any changes to your portfolio – such as share purchases, sales, splits or dividend payments. The Sharesight API links to a number of brokers.
If the Sharesight API doesn’t work, the first thing to do is submit a ticket for technical support. You can then choose to either opt for email trade confirmation note integrations, or manually upload your details via a CSV spreadsheet or if you only have a small number of transactions, do it by hand and enter each trade.
Yes. Sharesight offers a 25% discount if you pay annually, and you can get 4 months premium for free using the CaptainFI bonus sign up code.
Sharesight is free for users with under 10 holdings, and a premium subscription is tiered depending on the service you need. Currently, a starter plan is just $19 per month (20 holdings), an investor plan is $31 per month (unlimited holdings and 3 portfolios) and an expert plan is $48 per month (unlimited holdings and 5 portfolios). Sharesight offers a 25% discount if you pay annually, and you can get 4 months premium for free using the CaptainFI bonus sign up code.
Sharesight is currently run by CEO Doug Morris, along with a team of experienced executives including cofounder and executive director Tony Ryburn.
Sharesight is a privately owned company that was started in 2006 by father and son team Tony and Scott Ryburn in New Zealand.
Sharesight has a mobile application called ‘Sharesight reader’ available for both Android and Apple users. The app does not get as much development updates as the website client, and has limited functionality compared to the web client. The Sharesight web client is fully responsive and is a better option to access your account than the app. There are a number of inconsistencies and complaints with the app, which has scored an average 2.4 stars out of five due to these issues.
What is the best free Portfolio tracker?
Sharesight is by a country mile the best free portfolio tracker. Some other alternatives include: StockstoTrade, Morningstar portfolio manager, Marketwatch portfolios, Personal Capital, SigFig, Betterment and Yahoo Finance. Rest assured, after you have checkout the rest you will likely end up choosing Sharesight.
For more personal sharesight reviews, you can head to the CaptainFI Facebook Group: Financial Independence Chat Australia and post asking for reviews – you will find hundreds of Sharesight users who will be more than happy to explain how they use it and their personal experience
I recently had a chat to Dave Olsen, Sharesight’s content manager, about the software tool and some exciting new functionality that is in the works.
David has been a self confessed economics and finance nerd since high school and has been with Sharesight for almost 3 years. Before that he worked with companies including AppSense, Salesforce and Appliances Online.
Sharesight is an online portfolio tracker built to give self-directed investors the full picture of their investment performance, with automatic tracking of prices, dividends (including reinvestment), currency fluctuations and powerful tax reports.
For people on the path to financial independance, Sharesight takes the hard work out of portfolio maintenance and tracking your journey — plus it’s free for portfolios with 10 holdings or less.
Sharesight has offices in Wellington, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia, and is used by investors in 97 countries around the world. Sharesight has a number of core tax reports available for all users, but offer a number of additional reports built to local tax rules for the needs of investors in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Brokers will only generally tell you the difference between your purchase price and today’s price, totally ignoring the impact of dividends (and reinvestments) on your investment performance.
Registries are a good record of the number of units you hold, but if your portfolio holds shares across multiple registries, you’ll still need to consolidate those figures in one place — that’s where Sharesight comes in.
Plus Sharesight takes much of the manual portfolio admin out of the equation (particularly if you use a broker Sharesight supports) so no fiddling with a complicated spreadsheet to calculate your performance.
Sharesight supports a range of instrument types on almost 30 exchanges worldwide, including shares, ETFs, LICs, REITs as well as Managed Funds/Mutual Funds in Australia, NZ and Canada. Not to mention almost 100 worldwide currencies, fixed interest and a number of cryptocurrencies.
We recently wrote a blog post detailing how to track investments in property (including tracking rental income) this can be done through Sharesight’s Custom Investment feature.
Sharesight sources pricing information for ETFs directly from the ASX/NZX as well as international ETF data from our additional data providers. We also source ETF distribution component values for tax purposes directly from a number of share registries in Australia, including Computershare.
As I just mentioned, we work directly with the share registries in Australia to source ETF component data to help investors complete their tax returns and comply with the Attribution Managed Investment Trust tax reporting requirements for the ATO. We have no direct link to the ATO, but all our reports are built for Australian users to make completing their tax returns for the ATO as easy as possible.
Sharesight doesn’t sell or share any of your individual investment information. Though we do occasionally share updates using aggregate data such as our Sharesight20 trading snapshots of the top 20 trades across our users on the ASX and NZX exchanges.
We hear that many Sharesight users like to create a separate portfolio that they use as a watchlist of shares they are interested in buying, waiting for an opportunity to either buy on an up swing, or watching to strike when it becomes a value buy.
Sharesight already supports over 100 brokers through our emailed contract note functionality plus a number of brokers through API connections (including CMC Markets). We’d love to see more brokers integrate directly with the Sharesight API to make it easier for investors to connect their brokerage accounts to Sharesight.
We’re always working on new and exciting features, and have a number of improvements on our internal roadmap for 2020. We’ll have more details to announce on these when they’re ready.
Question eleven: do you personally invest in index fund ETFs or LICs?
I personally like to keep things fairly simple with my investing, and generally stick to a few core index tracking ETFs, plus a couple of thematics to gain exposure to particular sectors.
Question 12: is there anything you’d like to chat about or point out which we haven’t covered which might be relevant to investors?
Often the best way to see what Sharesight is all about is to just sign up and see it for action yourself. It’s free to sign up, so give it a try.
Sharesight is actually a very slick product, it is my ‘silent achiever’ that ticks along in the background and I have used it for years. It saves me countless hours of pain-in-the-arse busy work at tax time. I’m negotiating with them to try and get some kind of sign up bonus for you readers (maybe a couple of months free access to the premium version?) so we will see how that pans out.
I personally find Sharesight to be a very useful piece of free software to help make my life easier when it comes to portfolio tracking but especially come tax time. I would suggest its probably best to not log in every day, but I do each month to help create my Net Worth portfolio updates.
After trialing the premium version, I actually think it is pretty awesome too, and I am actually converted. Because I have previously held more than 10 stocks, this actually goes right back to my very first purchases and shows me how my entire portfolio went, as well as gives me some additional tools to play with.
It was great to chat to Dave about the tool, and if you think Sharesight could help you, head over to the Sharesight website for more details about how to join and start benefiting from it, completely for free!