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By Robert628496
October 11, 2005

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I admit it. I'm a creature of habit. I get used to doing things a certain way and I don't like to be forced to change, particularly when I'm happy with things the way they are. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed when I learned that we needed to move our portfolios from the Fool site over to Yahoo. I have come to depend on the Fool for so much valuable information, and the Fool's discussion boards make Yahoo's pale by comparison.

I procrastinated and put it off until finally I figured I better do something about it. Just to be thorough, I first checked out the portfolio feature at www.marketwatch.com. I have found that site to be a valuable resource for news about particular stocks and the market in general, and so I held out some hope that its portfolio would be attractive as well. In this I was disappointed. It had far fewer features than the Fool offered and I just could not see it as a viable option.

So I bit the bullet and decided I'd give Yahoo a try. I really didn't want to have to manually re-enter all my transaction information, so I followed the Fool's instructions for downloading the portfolio to my desktop and then uploading it to Yahoo. I tried this several times but could not quite get things to work out the way I wanted. Finally, after a bit of trial and error, I hit upon exactly the right recipe and I am very pleased with the results.

The Yahoo portfolio makes readily available a wealth of information about the stocks in the portfolio. There are some features of the Fool portfolio, such as the allocation analysis, which are lacking, but in my view the added features more than make up for the ones that are missing. I can't go into all the details here, but the interface is very intuitive and it is well worth the time to explore the various capabilities of the portfolio. I think this is actually a change for the better and I'm already set in my ways in the new portfolio environment.

Here is my 6-step program for transferring your portfolio to Yahoo (I'm running Windows XP):

1. If you do not yet have a Yahoo username and password, you need to create one. You can do this by going to www.yahoo.com and clicking on "Finance" in the upper left hand corner. At the top of the page, click "Sign Up" and follow the instructions.

2. Go to your Fool portfolio. Select the Long Term view and make sure you display by Trade Lot.

3. Right-click on "download portfolio info," select "save target as," and save it to your desktop.

4. Follow this link http://finance.yahoo.com/edit/portfolio_upload to get to the portfolio upload tool. You will first be asked to sign into Yahoo and then you will find yourself at a page entitled "Upload your portfolio."

5. Give your portfolio a name and then scroll down and click "Browse." Navigate to the desktop, select the Excel document titled "dwnld_portinfo," and click "Open." Then click "Finished" in the lower right hand corner of the page and you will be taken to a page that displays your positions. Sometimes, the page that comes up here does not contain your positions, but it doesn't seem to matter. (See Footnote 1 below). In either case, click "Finished" and you will be taken to your Yahoo portfolio.

6. Just below the listing of the stocks, click "Create Transaction History," then click "Continue," and then click "Convert." This will convert your portfolio to what Yahoo calls a Transaction Portfolio. This is the most versatile portfolio that Yahoo supports and it carries the most features. (See Footnote 2 below).

There's a lot to explore and much that can be customized to your preferences. Here's one useful tip. By default, the Yahoo portfolio displays losses in red and gains in black. I sure did miss that lovely green color from the Fool portfolio. Well, you can have it in Yahoo too. Near the upper right of your portfolio page, click the link "Customize Finance." This will take you to a page that allows you to customize various features of Yahoo Finance. Click on the link "Quote Display." Then, using the radio buttons, choose your desired color for price increases and decreases. Click "Finished" which takes you back to the Customize page, then click "Finished" again, and voila.

May the green be with you.

Robert

Footnote 1: I have tried this process many times and, on some occasions, it does seem to matter. Ideally, the page referred to should contain your positions. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. On most of my tries, I have just been able click "Finished" in either case with good results. But once in a while, if the page does not contain your positions, then the rest of the procedure does not function as it should. This seems to be an intermittent and unpredictable glitch.

Footnote 2: I have repeated this process many times usually with the appropriate results. However, on a few trials, things did not always go as they were supposed to. Clearly, there are intermittent and unpredictable glitches in the transfer software and/or in the process which converts to a transaction portfolio. The only solution I have been able to find for this is to keep repeating the process. After enough tries, it responds the way it is supposed to. Persistence seems to pay off here.


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