Investing with TuringTrader

Investing with TuringTrader.com is simple enough that anybody can do it. However, to be successful, you need to be persistent, work accurately, and double-check your steps. This guide helps you navigate.

Signing Up

With our free Basic membership, you can try the essential TuringTrader.com process, and find out if this is for you. Once you get the hang of it, we recommend upgrading to our Premium membership. Doing so will give you access to more advanced portfolios and time-saving features.



daily updated tactical asset allocation

Selecting Portfolios

Once you are signed up, you are ready to choose one or more portfolios from our growing menu. This step is very personal, and you should allow ample time to make up your mind. TuringTrader.com is not a get-rich-fast scheme, and you should look at portfolios from all angles, not just their most-recent returns. Consider the following aspects:

  • Investment objective
  • Risk tolerance
  • Tax situation
  • Liquidity needs
  • Concentration levels

But there is more. TuringTrader.com is all about tactical asset allocation, or the concept of adjusting your portfolios, depending on past, current, and anticipated markets. The portfolios differ substantially in the amount of effort they require for maintenance. Here are is what you need to consider:

  • Rebalancing schedule: schedules range from monthly, to weekly, or even daily
  • The complexity of rebalancing: simple portfolios trade only a single asset, while more complex ones might invest in 10, or even up to 30 assets

Brokerage Account

To hold your portfolio’s assets, you need a brokerage account. There are many brokers to choose from, and TuringTrader.com does not have any special requirements.

It makes sense to open a margin account, even though most portfolios on TuringTrader.com are not leveraged and do not require margin. However, when rebalancing, we typically sell one asset and immediately buy the next with the proceeds. Exchange trades usually settle in three days, which makes it impossible to rebalance your portfolio faster than that. A margin account won’t have these restrictions.

We like to use Interactive Brokers, but that’s just our personal preference. We did not get paid for this link:

simple step-by-step instructions

The Maintenance Routine

Preparations

Each portfolio comes with its specific rebalancing schedule, ranging from daily to weekly or monthly. The easiest way to keep track of the rebalancing schedule is to enable email notifications for the portfolios you are tracking.

On the day of scheduled rebalancing, we start with some preparations:

  • Check the net asset value of your brokerage account
  • Check the target allocation for the portfolio
  • Calculate the target number of shares for each asset
  • Calculate the order size for each asset

First, you need to know the net asset value or liquidation value of our brokerage account. This number is the amount of cash in your account, plus the liquidation value of all assets you are currently holding.

portfolio asset allocation

Then, go to your portfolio’s page and find the target allocation, expressed as a percentage of the net asset value, for all assets the portfolio is holding. The screenshot above shows an example.

The target allocation is somewhere in the middle of the portfolio pages. To get there faster, our portfolio pages have a rebalancing view that removes most of the supplemental portfolio information. Portfolio are opened in their rebalancing view if accessed from the dashboard or the rebalance now button found in the email notifications.

Next, you need to determine the position size for each portfolio asset. Calculate this number by multiplying your account’s net asset value with the target allocation, and then divide by the last closing price. Most often, the result will be a fractional number. It is good practice to always round down to the next smaller integer value.

TuringTrader's position-size calculator

If you have subscibed to our Premium membership, you have access to our position size calculator. Simply enter your total account value, and TuringTrader.com calculates the correct number of shares for you. Even better, TuringTrader.com memorizes the account value. That way, the values are already very close next time you come here. You can try our position size calculator here.

Lastly, you need to calculate the order size for each asset. This number is the difference between the target number of shares and the number of shares currently in your account. Also, take note of the order type: if the target number is larger than your current shares, you need to enter a buy order. Otherwise, create a sell order.

Placing your Orders

Having completed the preparations, you are now ready to place your orders. Doing so is also a multi-step process:

  • liquidate any assets held that are not on your list
  • place the orders calculated above

First, we recommend comparing your list of orders with the assets in your account. Liquidate any assets you hold in your account that are not on the list of orders you prepared. This step is typically only required for portfolios of individual stocks, but it can’t hurt to verify.

Next, enter your orders one-by-one. Unless otherwise noted, TuringTrader.com uses market orders, which are expected to fill at the next open. Make sure to double-check your orders for correctness.

Some account types do not allow placing overlapping trades, with sell orders for one instrument submitted simultaneously with buy orders for another instrument. If this is the case for your account, we recommend placing the sell orders while the markets are closed, and the buy orders close to the market open.

Checking the Fills

It makes sense to check your order fills at your earliest convenience. Most of the time, things should be just fine. However, occasionally, an asset’s price went up significantly since we calculated the order size. In this case, your account’s cash balance will be negative. Don’t let it sit like that until the next rebalance. Instead, go and sell a few shares to make up for the price increase until your account’s cash balance is positive.

data-driven portfolios

Habits for Success

Stay on Schedule

When managing your assets, make it a habit to stick to the required schedule. A portfolio that rebalances monthly might tolerate the occasional slip by a day. A portfolio that rebalances daily will certainly not. Most importantly, you should never wholly skip a rebalancing cycle.

Often staying on a tight schedule might not seem to matter too much, but there is the risk of missing that one critical update. In any case, once you deviate from the suggested schedule, you are on your own, and our backtests no longer apply.

To make it easier for you to stay on schedule, TuringTrader.com can send you email notifications. Read this article to learn how to set these up.

Stay the Course

You have probably put some time and thought into the decision which model portfolio to track. You have weighed risks and returns and matched these with your personal preferences.

Keep in mind that investing is a marathon, not a spring. There will be times where markets take a turn, and performance is not where we would like it to be. In these moments, it is crucial to stay the course. The model portfolios have been designed to handle similar historical situations gracefully, and you should put some faith into that. That’s why you were favoring a data-driven approach in the first place. Don’t be tempted second-guess the asset allocation. Don’t stop rebalancing, or investing altogether. Stay the course!

Start Today

The biggest factor to successful investments is the gift of time. Don't wait until a few years before retirement. Start early. We hope that TuringTrader.com will be part of your personal success story.