What financial programs can help me compare hypothetical investments
February 17, 2014 8:04 AM   Subscribe

I’m interested in what calculators and resources are available that would allow me to make comparisons of investments I hypothetically would have conducted in the past. So if I would have bought a certain stock in January 1995 and sold it on August 2004, what would have been annual return and so on...

I’m interested in what calculators and resources are available that would allow me to make comparisons of investments conducted in the past. For example, if I were to have bought 10,000 dollars worth of Vanguard 500 Index Fund admiral shares in December 1995 and kept it till February 14, 2014, what would have been my return? Or what if I were to have purchased 100 shares of Coca-Cola stock, 100 shares of Costco and 100 shares of Wal-mart on October 12, 1995 and sold it all on January 9, 2004, what would be the worth of that portfolio? I know one can do this with relatively simple financial calculations but is there something more streamlined for this sort of thing where I can input the values and get a reliable output.

A tool or database like this would preferably need to incorporate other tangibles into the portfolio outcome such as expense ratios, the cost of trading, any capital gains taxes that could be accrued and need to be paid. If the tool(s) doesn’t include these tangibles, that’s fine although one that does would be most welcome.

Additionally, I am also curious if there are programs (probably proprietary and expensive financial programs) that would allow me to research companies according to some given metrics such as NET REVENUE above 10 billion and a EPR above 15 but below 20 AND 10 years of net income ABOVE 10 billion but below 20 billion using information found in 10-k reports? Are there relatively user-friendly programs that would permit to make such a search?

For example: I'm looking for all the companies trading on the NYSE that have financial characteristics x, y, and z, plus dividends above some value for ten years. Ideally, I could input these metrics and filters to uncover these companies trading on Nasdaq or in NYSE.

Thanks and sorry for the long windedness of the question.
posted by caudal to Work & Money (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The easiest way of doing the first part of this is to just use existing financial and investing websites. I mean, here is one historical calculator, and Yahoo Finance has a "Historical Prices" calculator built in to every stock's page. Just enter two dates, and bang, you've got your numbers.

But once you add things like expense ratio, fees, and taxes, I don't think there are any "calculators" out there that will do that, as they're so highly idiosyncratic. Even on the tax side of things, there are so many different variables in play that it's just not something that anyone really does very much.

As to the rest of it, you may find that some of those tools exist on the members-only sections of brokerage sites like Ameritrade, eTrade, etc. Beyond that, yeah, we're talking about proprietary, professionals-only stuff that if you had access to you wouldn't need to ask this question.

This is one of the reason people pay financial advisors. This kind of information is out there, but it's actually a surprisingly large pain in the ass to compile, which is why the people who do it charge for their services. Unless you have a reason to access such services on a daily basis, it's not going to be worth paying for.
posted by valkyryn at 8:44 AM on February 17, 2014

Great advice Valkyryn. Do you know any other historical calculators or free or nominally charged calculators that i can use?
posted by caudal at 11:19 AM on February 17, 2014

No, but I found those in five minutes of googling.
posted by valkyryn at 3:04 PM on February 17, 2014

If you are sufficiently proficient with tech you may want to look into QSTK.
posted by philipy at 4:29 PM on February 17, 2014

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