Sunday, 9 October 2011

Online Traffic: Most frequently used websites

To get most of my personal finance related activities done efficiently, I rely very heavily on the internet, with its readily available and almost instantaneously updated content, which is usually in a easily searchable format.  To me it is critical to have all the information I need, accessible quickly and completely, so I can read through it, and make a decision.  I also need to be able to execute these decisions, rapidly and securely online with the ability to track the status on the spot, and also later in time.  Keeping these requirements in mind, here are a few of the weblinks that I use frequently.  Please feel free to let me know if there are any others that you would like to suggest.

1. Banking: I try to do all of my banking online, everything from salary accounts, to demand drafts, to utility bill payments, etc.  Most of the leading banks have very user friendly online websites, and they are continually being improved to add more capabilities and utilities.  My strong suggestion to everyone is to move as much of their banking online as possible.  I do all of my banking with a couple of leading banks and find their websites are more than adequate to meet almost all of my banking needs online.  I never have to visit the banks myself for any day to day needs. 

2. Stocks: Stock investing is another activity that takes up a fair amount of my online bandwidth.  Most of the time is spent on reading up about the latest developments in the stock markets, understanding the implications of these particularly to my personal situation and making changes in my stock portfolio in tune with the market movements.  In general, I find it very difficult to find useful and detailed information about the Indian stock market in a structured manner on a single website.  I typically use MoneyControl for my basic stock information and some basic stock data.  My wife uses MyIris to supplement our stocks and shares research.  I also follow the US stock market quite closely, since I find it has a direct impact on the Indian market.  I use Yahoo's finance website for all of my US stock market information.  I would strongly recommend the Yahoo webpages for tracking and understanding the US stock market.  For some reason, the indian version of the Yahoo webpages is not as mature and rich in content, and so I have never been able to use it effectively.  Finally, I use ICICI-Direct, for executing all of my stock investments.  I find the website quite adequate for all of my stock investment, quotes, trading, and tracking needs, and so far have not found another online broker who is as good, or reliable.  My wife also uses HDFC securities and reports that it has the basic tools for trading, but not as good as ICICI-Direct. 

3. Mutual Funds: For mutual fund research we go to only one place on the web, Value Research Online.  It is the most comprehensive collection of MF research, analysis, data, comparisons, and recommendations that we have found so far.  I would strongly recommend this site for all your MF research and information needs.  It is unfortunate that there isnt a similar website for stocks available at this time.  I use ICICI-Direct for executing all of my MF investments.

4. Insurance:  Here is where I have struggled quite a bit to go online.  I have not been able to find a good website that compares all the insurance products out there (and the several more that seem to pop up everyday) both in the life and health/medical insurance space.  Do let me know if you have any good suggestions on this front. 

I will add more information here, as I keep finding new ways to use the internet more efficiently to fulfill all of my personal finance needs.

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