As I start to explore Impact Investing on this blog one of the most essential tools is a good stock market tracking app for your smartphone. I’ve tried a number of them and my hands down favorite is My Stocks Portfolio, available on both the Apple and Google Play stores.
I use an android phone, specifically a Google Pixel 3a XL, which I absolutely love (more on that later) to track items in my portfolio plus ETFs and mutual finds I’m watching. I find a tracking app is essential particularly in the Impact Investing field because so much of what you are likely to be tracking are ETFs.
As I covered in an earlier post, ETFs trade like stocks and as such you buy and sell them in a similar fashion. You can place limit orders, good til cancelled orders etc which require a certain degree of management. This is where the My Stocks Portfolio app becomes tremendously useful. You can set alerts on price point targets (up or down) to be notified if an ETF hits a target price you are looking for. Then based on that information you could place the necessary order through your broker.
My Stocks Portfolio also allows you to add and track items from your portfolio. You can add multiple mutual fund or ETF buys including the number of shares and price point and it will track your gains/losses. I find this feature very handy as its often difficult to quickly get this information through a brokerage account like Vanguard or Schwab. I think they make it purposely confusing.
My Stocks Portfolio is simple and clean and provides detailed charts, news and alerts better than either the Vanguard or Schwab apps. I can say this with confidence because I use both the Vanguard and Schwab apps to place orders and neither one of them provides the features found in My Stocks Portfolio. Of the two, the Schwab app comes the closest.
The app is available for free (ad supported) or for $19.99/yr for no ads and additional features. I use the app daily and to me the $19.99 is well worth it to help the developer continue to develop and support the app.
The ideal smartphone and headphone combination: Google Pixel 3a XL + Etymotic ER3SE
I said earlier I’d come back to the phone. If you work in an office and/or commute on public transit regularly like I do and appreciate listening to music and podcasts etc using decent headphones or in ear monitors (IEMs), and not some mediocre headphone that comes with your phone, I can honestly say the combination of the Pixel 3a XL and the Etymotic ER3SE IEMs are the ideal pairing.
The Etymotic IEMs have up to 35-42 db of external sound blocking and also are very easy to drive with a smartphone at 22 Ohms. I’ve tried more than a dozen of the leading earphones and this is the best combination I’ve found for the office and commute that values price and performance. I’d even recommend the ER3SE’s over their big brother the ER4SR’s, which I also tried and could not discern enough sound difference to justify the +$100 in cost (they sound amazing).
The Pixel 3a XL is almost the perfect smartphone, it runs pure android, is fast and has what is still one of the best cameras on any smartphone. Plus both the Pixel 3a and the 3a XL have headphone jacks!!! No dongle needed!.