Toolbox

To help you get up and running as a DIY Income Investor you will need your tools - so here is a toolbox of the most useful Internet resources and techniques that I have come across.

BANK ACCOUNTS

- UK 

For a current account you should check the MoneySavingExpert's recommendations on bank accounts and MoneySupermarket.com's easy access accounts.

For 'Easy Access' accounts the best deals change pretty quickly, so a first stop is Moneysupermarket.com's Easy Access Account page, followed by Moneyfacts.co.uk's instant-access account page and introductory rate page. Finally it is always worth seeing what MoneySavingExpert.co.uk has to say. 

For fixed rate accounts MoneySavingExpert is a good place to start checking UK Regular Saver Accounts and Fixed-Rate Savings Accounts. Another comprehensive source is MoneySupermarket.com.

- US

See the Get Rich Slow blog introduction to money market accounts and their useful tool to identify a suitable US savings account.


DIVIDEND SHARES 

Stockpedia has a great page of resources for dividend income investing.

An article on Free from Broke entitled 'What are Dividends' provides a useful US-based background to what dividends are, why companies pay them and why they are a useful part of your investment strategy.

Canadian Couch Potato debunks some myths about dividend investing from a Canadian perspective.


Market Data

Digital Look provides summary information on the performance (including yield) of FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and Small Caps (these links show the dividend yields in descending order), giving a quick snapshot of possible candidate companies for your portfolio.


This is Money gives similar information on the
FTSE 100,  FTSE 250 and FTSE 350 - but double-check what you read here, as I have noticed some mistakes.

Other useful sites are Top Yields FTSE100 dividends and Ex-Dividend Dates (which also gives 'benchmark' yields - gilts and market average yields).

Share Screener

I particularly like the comprehensive screener offered by Digital Look (this is free - but you must register with them). There is a pre-set 'popular' 'High Yield' screen but will need to edit this to home in on the 'best buys'. You do this by clicking on the link 'to refine your search criteria click here'. You can then add more restrictions to the choice of potential HYP shares.

FIXED-INCOME SECURITIES
 
Includes:
  • gilts, (government bonds or government loan stock)
  • corporate bonds (loans to companies)
  • PIBS and PSBs (see below)
  • Preference shares


General Information Sources

There are two leading websites (with very similar names):
  • Fixedincomeinvestments, (run by Mark Taber, as a ‘labour of love; it seems) has one of the most comprehensive resources on UK fixed-income securities, including price and yield data as well as information about redemption and calls. The website also provides well-informed comment on market developments.
  • Fixedincomeinvestor (sponsored by Selftrade) has a comprehensive summary table of corporate bonds, although - annoyingly - it provides only income yields and not redemption yields. The security names link through directly to price charts. Their Bond of the Week feature is usually informative and thought-provoking.

Canaccord Genuity also provides weekly data for a range of UK, US and Canadian fixed-income securities.

  
Government Bonds / Gilts

I have only held Consols 4% (which I sold at a profit) - but the price is currently too inflated, meaning that the yield is not very attractive (around 4%) and you would potentially suffer a capital loss by investing now).

You can do more DIY research at the UK Government's Debt Management Office and look at Monevator’s informative introductory guide to gilts, which explains how they work.

Fixed Income Investor provides information on UK Government bonds (Gilts) - as well as other fixed-income securities.


Corporate Bonds

An article on commercial bonds from This is Money's Midas and Trading corporate bonds from This is Money

Fixed Income Investor has a comprehensive list of corporate bond prices, as does the similarly-named Fixed Income Investments.

Selftrade has a fairly comprehensive list of European corporate bonds (including gross redemption yields), which links through to Fixedincomeinvestor for more information.

For UK retail bonds, Canaccord Genuity provide a weekly summary.


Preference Shares and ECNs

There is a useful list of market data on fixed interest securities, including preference shares and ECNs on the website of Canaccord Genuity, updated weekly.

Investors Chronicle has a page dedicated to UK Preference Shares.

See also the Fixed Income Investments' market data on:  

PIBS and PSBs

PIBS from the demutualised building societies are known as perpetual sub-bonds (PSBs).

This is Money publishes a weekly summary of rates of return offered by PIBS and PSBs, giving the income yield as well as yield-to-call.

See also the Fixed Income Investments' PIBS page.


EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS (ETFs)

I'm pretty restrictive in what I look for - I like to reflect the overall portfolio balance: high-yield (either dividends or fixed-income) plus ETFs holding physical assets (so less likely to 'blow up'). But you can find an ETF tracking almost anything.

A Starter Pack of ETFs
 
List of worldwide high-dividend ETFs

Citywire Money's searchable list of ETFs on the LSE (there's a lot!)

TopYields has a list of the highest-yielding dividend ETFs - a useful starting place.


INTERNET STOCK BROKERS

- UK

There are several possible low-cost providers in the UK: you could start your DIY research here and here. The Motley Fool has a discussion board on online brokers and share dealing which might help you to select one. All of them offer Stocks & Shares ISAs.

I use two different providers (to stay within the UK government's guarantee limits, as they were), which I have found fine and inexpensive:
Another new-ish provider to consider is iWeb.

As a general rule I avoid providers specialising in 'funds' (as I suggest you don't invest in these - because of the high costs) or those making an annual charge based on the value of your portfolio.
 
- US

TAXATION
 
This strategy is DIY, so have a look yourself at the UK Government's own help-site or the website of your own tax administration.
 

FREE ONLINE DATA STORAGE

Google Documents allows you to store documents in cyberspace - and you can choose whether or not to share the files (probably wise to make sure you have chosen 'don't share' in this case!). 

Another free option (for up to 2 Gb storage) is Dropbox, which has a synchronising function - making double-sure that your financial data are secure.




I am not a financial adviser and the information provided does not constitute financial advice. You should always do your own research on top of what you learn here to ensure that it's right for your specific circumstances.