MarketRiders Review – Custom ETF Portfolios

September 16, 2011

In recent years, exchange-traded funds have grown a great deal in popularity. They trade like stocks on the market, but they are funds. ETFs generally come with low fees, which means that you keep more of your money, rather than watching your returns eroded by fees. If you are interested in how an ETF portfolio might be able to help you reach your investment goals, you can use MarketRiders to help you put together a portfolio.

What is MarketRiders?

MarketRiders is a subscription service that offers you the ability to create ETF portfolios based on asset allocation. With the right asset allocation, the theory goes, you should be able to meet your investing goals, whether you are looking for growth, income, or have some other end game in mind.

This service allows you to put together portfolios using information about your goals. There are more than 1,000 ETFs that MarketRiders helps you choose from. After creating your portfolio, MarketRiders will send you periodic alerts about further steps you should take, as well as offer helpful hints on rebalancing.

MarketRiders comes with a 30-day free trial, after which you must pay $9.95 a month to continue the service. Signing up also allows you the option to receive a weekly newsletter about investing.

How to Build a MarketRiders ETF Portfolio

After you set up an account and log in, you can begin to build your portfolio. This is quite easy to do. You start out with two options:

  1. Have MarketRiders build a portfolio for you
  2. Create your own portfolio


MarketRiders portfolio: If you decide to have MarketRiders build a portfolio for you, you start out by answering some basic questions. MarketRiders has an algorithm that takes into account your age, when you expect to need the money, your level of investment experience and your risk tolerance. You also enter how much you have to invest right now, and MarketRiders goes to work.

I like how MarketRiders provides you with the reasoning behind the portfolio, explaining why the selected ETFs complement your investing style, and how they can be useful as you work toward your goals.

Additionally, MarketRiders lets you know how much the fees will cost you each year — and compares them to what you are likely to pay if you go the managed fund route. The difference is astounding. If there are dividends being generated, MarketRiders tells you that information, based on the last 12 months.

Create your own portfolio: If you are satisfied to have MarketRiders generate a portfolio for you, no worries. The recommendations made appear to be solid. However, more advanced investors might want to tweak a portfolio to more closely mirror their requirements. When you choose the “let me build it” option, you have three choices as you begin:

  1. Start with a template
  2. Start from scratch
  3. Start with ETFs you already have in your portfolio

The templates start you out with the ability to narrow your types to growth, balanced or income. You can also choose “specialty.” The specialty portfolios are rather interesting, allowing you to choose from different specialty funds, such as a rising inflation fund, an energy hedge fund, or a reweighted S&P sector portfolio. You also have the option to specify what ETF provider you are most interested in (Vanguard, iShares, etc.).

Once you choose what type of portfolio you are interested in, you are taken to a page that breaks down the initial asset allocation. You can then tweak the allocation to fit what you are looking for. If the suggested portfolio doesn’t have just the allocation you want, or if you want to add something to the mix, you can adjust the numbers to fit your goals.

The other options, starting from scratch and starting with what you already have, can also help you build a portfolio. You start out with your asset allocation, and then tweak your portfolio to the allocation you want.

Generating Your Portfolio

Whether you have MarketRiders build a portfolio for you, or whether you build your own using the asset allocation technique, MarketRiders will then generate a portfolio for you. If you have indicated a preferred brand of ETF, all of your recommendations will come from that.

If you are building your own portfolio, you will have the option to add or remove different ETFs before the final portfolio assembly. Then, all you have to do is tap the “continue” key, and your portfolio will appear.

You will get a list of ETF symbols, and the number of shares you should buy, based on how much you have to invest. You are even provided a printable version, if that makes things easier for you. Then, all you have to do is head to your broker and enter the trades.

Tracking Your Portfolio

You can continue to update your portfolio by entering in changes you make as you buy and sell. Right now, MarketRiders does not have broker integration, so everything has to be done manually. This is something you’ll have to remember to do, kind of inconvenient for those who are used to complete financial integration. However, MarketRiders hopes to include broker integration in its next release, making it possible for trades to be automatically confirmed.

MarketRiders also sends you a monthly email update that summarizes the performance of your portfolio.  Here’s an example of the monthly email that you’d receive for the ETF’s you’re tracking:

MarketRider Portfolio Tracking

Another nice feature of MarketRiders is that they’ll let you know how your portfolio is doing in terms of the target asset allocation that you setup.  The example above represents ETFs for Bonds, Commodities, Currencies, TIPS, Real Estate, US Stocks, and World Market Stocks.  When those holdings are no longer in balance with the asset allocation you specificed you’ll get an email from MarketRiders.  The example below is a MarketRiders email showing how the ETFs in your portfolio fall into your asset allocation targets and where you might need some rebalancing.

 MarketRider Portfolio Tracking


Bottom Line

If you are interested in using ETFs to build an investment portfolio that will help you meet your needs, MarketRiders can be a great choice. You have the ability to build multiple portfolios, so you can create different profiles for immediate income, retirement and other goals.

MarketRiders is good for DIY investors who want to invest their money themselves but would like some recommendations in terms of quality ETFs and asset allocation – for a 30 day trial Click Here .


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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