Recently I discovered how effective Evernote can be at improving my productivity as an investor. Every investor should use Evernote because it will help you:

  • be more organized and therefore efficient
  • clarify your investment thesis
  • maintain a virtual notebook of research notes that are accessible anywhere on your computer, iPad, or smartphone
  • quickly retrieve statements and tax records related to your accounts.

I have been using Evernote for over a year now. What I really like about it is that I can access my notes and access them anywhere with my iPhone or an iPad. It is also nice to have less paper by storing as much information as I can digitally. If you are new to Evernote I suggest reading Michael Hyatt’s blog posts about Evernote. You will want to start with How to Organize Evernote for Maximum Efficiency. I struggled for awhile trying to figure out the best way to organize my notebooks. After reading this post I decided to follow Michael’s basic structure. Once I got things organized as he recommended I found myself using Evernote daily.

I recently decided to use Evernote to track my investing research and activities. Here’s how to set up Evernote to make you a more productive as an investor:

First, create a new stack called “Investments“. A stack is simply a collection of notebooks. It is a nice way to separate your investing notebooks so they are all in one place.

Next, within your “Investments” stack create the following notebooks:

  • Account Info – In this notebook you can create notes for each account you have. I like to include things like the institution, account type, account number, account type, and contact information.
  • Checklists – This notebook will be used to organize your investing checklists. Every investor should have a checklist of items to review anytime they buy a new stock, mutual fund, etc. You should also have a another checklist of items to go through as you review your investments on an ongoing basis. Your checklist will help you determine when to sell a particular investment. It’s often more difficult to make a decision to sell than it is to buy. A checklist will help you make smart decisions.
  • Inspiration – I use this notebook to store quotes from Warren Buffett and other successful investors. I also use it to clip blog posts that inspire me to be a better investor.
  • Reference – This is the notebook where you will store all of your reference notes and material related to investing. This is a great place to keep book notes, or your “Net Out“, from investing books that you read. I have also created a note with a list of my investing rules and criteria. Basically, you will just want to use this notebook to store any notes you keep on investing that you may want to access later.
  • Research Notes – This notebook is where I accumulate notes on specific investments that I have researched. You should have a note on every stock, mutual fund, or other investment you own. I like to title my notes as follows: “$TICKER – Investment Name – Research Notes”. This allows me to search by ticker or the name of the stock or mutual fund.
  • Statements – Another great thing about Evernote is that you can store your documents right in your notebooks. If you are a premium user, then any scanned document you upload will be fully searchable. The statements notebook is a great place to store electronic statements that you download from your financial institution. It is nice to have a current statement available for quick access anytime you are working on your portfolio. It is also helpful to have your statements handy when meeting with your financial advisor, accountant, or attorney.
  • Tax Records – In this notebook you will store your 1099s. You will also want to store other tax related information you might need later. For example, if you inherited some stock you will need to track the cost basis of that stock in case you ever sell it.

Finally, don’t forget security. If you use Evernote to help manage your investment information it will be critical that you keep your account secure. Use a unique password that is a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. The longer your password, the harder it is to guess. The basic version of Evernote is free. However, if you upgrade to the premium version ($45/year) you can add a PIN lock to your iOS or Android app for extra security.

Well, this should be enough to start keeping track of your investment activity in Evernote. With these seven notebooks you will find that Evernote can make you a much more productive, and ultimately better, investor. The possibilities are endless. I would love to hear your ideas. How else could investors use Evernote to increase their productivity and ultimately their results?