Question No. 13

"What 'Tools of the Trade' Will I Need to Succeed With My DIY Pension?"

Our Response

There are many tools that are useful for managing your own Pension Pot. 

You'll need both hardware tools and software tools.

But there's one tool that you cannot operate without and that's the 'Stock Trading Platform' that your Pension provider will make available for you.

Actually, that's not strictly true.  You could theoretically operate without a 'StockTrading Platform' if you want to place your orders the old-fashioned way - by telephone (or worse still - by post).

But we like to see what prices are trading at, and we like to see the price spread, and we like to see the volume of shares being traded.  All of which you can see when trading on the internet, via your own platform.

Once you set yourself up with a DIY Pension provider, they will make available to you, at no extra cost, a 'Stock Trading Platform'.

"Your Stock Trading Platform and
Hardware That You'll Need"

Take a look at the screenshot below and we're sure you get the idea.  It's so pre-2000 to trade over the phone.  We would even venture to say, amateurish.

It's even more amateurish to trade by post.  Just think of the time delay.

We're well and truly in the internet age now.  Embrace it!

If your 'Stock Trading Platform' is your essential trading tool, then what other tools do you need?

Let's start with where we just left off.  The internet. You will need a good, reliable internet provider. And to be able to access your platform and other tools, you'll need a half-decent desktop computer or laptop.

Now we're not techies, but we have both a desktops and a laptops.  Our desktop computers are our permanent pieces of equipment, firmly ensconced in our home office but if we're away on hols or off for business, it's our laptops that we turn to.

And we also trade from our iPads and our iPhones.

We use our iPads daily.  It's just so easy to lug around and there aren't many places nowadays where you can get a wifi signal. 

Occasionally, we'll use our iPads for placing trades.  It's so convenient (and easy to use).

And then there's the trusted mobile.  (Sorry you U.S. folks, we mean cell phone). 

Who hasn't got one of those?  Everyone and their Grandma!

We choose to have a large screen iPhone because small phones just don't do it for us.  We can't see the screenface.  The writing's too small.

And yes, we have placed trades on our iPhones more than once.  But only if it's the only internet connection we'll have on our personage, then it'll do.  It does the job.

When we're out and about, like most people we only have our iPhones.  We use them daily for keeping abreast of the markets.  We have an app. for that.

What we see on our iPhones are not real-time prices but delayed by about 15 minutes.  But that's O.K. because we're not day trading, we just want to keep an eye on prices and any news bites that may be announced.

The app. that we use is provided by 'Yahoo Finance'.  And it's inexpensive (it's free).  We've looked at other apps but 'Yahoo Finance' gives us all what we need.  We've used it for a few years now and wouldn't like to change.

We're so comfortable with it.

There are quite a few free tools available, most of them apps.

But we're also not afraid to pay for good information.

Inexpensive Software

One such tool that we pay for is our end-of-day price charting service.

For this, we use a company called 'Sharescope.'  It's an incredible software package that gives us charts on over 3000 US and UK shares. 

We could write half a book on what 'Sharescope' can do (it's a powerful package).  Just take a look at their wonderful website ( to get the full gist.

Another product by the same company is a marvellous little web-based program called 'Sharepad.'  This outstanding piece of software will perform almost all the 'Fundamental Analysis' you're ever likely to require. 

Just check out their website. 

Software wise, 'Sharescope' and its brother, 'Sharepad' are what we use most of the time.  We have flirted with a few more expensive software packages but rarely have they done what they said they'd do on the tin.

For even more money you could purchase some all-singing, all-dancing software that promises you push-button riches.  But really, there is no such thing.  Do not be cajoled into thinking that there is.

Some software is free.  Some charts are free.  Take a look at or

On our website we have a section solely on trading software.  You'll find more information there about individual pieces of software.


Our website is all about investing for the long term.  It's not about day trading. So you'll need tools that help you trade for the long term.

You'll need both hardware and software.

The only 'tools of the trade' that you'll require to manage your own Pension Pot are just a few, simple ones:

Hardware:  Desktop computer (with Internet connection)
                   Laptop computer (with Internet connection)
                   iPad  (or equivalent tablet)
                   iPhone (or other mobile device)

Software:    Sharescope

'Sharescope' has three different packages.  But you only require the basic version, that's the one that provides you with end-of-day data.

The above list of tools is ALL that you will need.  And a laptop, tablet are optional rather than necessary.

And, do not be kidded into thinking some super-duper software package with traffic lights and bells and whistles will work wonders for you - it won't.

Stick to the list above.

Plus of course, the 'Stock Trading Platform' you'll be using, but that comes as part of the package that will be provided by your DIY Pension Provider.


As a newbie, you may want to read the other "Frequently Asked Questions" on this website.  Doing so, will give you a good introduction to running your own DIY Pension.

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