How to Find Stocks You Own

How to Find Stocks You Own
Image Credit: Ridofranz/iStock/GettyImages

Warning

Never go more than a quarter without reviewing your stock's performance, even if you have a firm making all the decisions. Although you are trading stocks, those certificates are backed by money from your bank accounts and you need to know where it is coming from, or going.

Owning a stock portfolio serves no purpose unless you stay updated on the stocks that make up that portfolio. You should track their values periodically to determine whether you should buy more shares, or sell off the ones that aren't performing well. You must know if a stock in your portfolio split or if there are dividends owed to you. This portfolio maintenance can only begin once you find out what stocks you own. Yes, you may have them listed in a file somewhere, but you must find them in the market in order to chart their progress. These steps will help you with the process.

Step 1

Find the official abbreviations for your stock. Before you find out any information from the market, you must know what to look for. For example, you can only find the current price for Bed, Bath and Beyond only if you look for information on BBBY. Search your portfolio paperwork, or account online to find the stock's abbreviations. You can also go to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission's (SEC) website.

Step 2

Open up your morning paper. The easiest way to find your stocks and track their performance is to look in the business section of the morning newspaper. Most publications have sections of the Dow, NASDAQ or the S&P 500. Find your stock's abbreviation in the alphabetic listings. Beside it, you will find the current day's price, and price changes from the previous day. This way, you can keep an eye on your stocks as you eat breakfast.

Step 3

Contact your brokers, or the firm that manages your portfolio. They will have records on every stock bought and sold on your behalf. Firms usually employee financial advisers who can help find the values of each share as well as offer advice on whether to sell or buy more.

Step 4

Read your quarterly statements. On them, you will find the stocks you own, their abbreviations and the amount of shares you own of each. Use this information to search online or in the daily newspaper for the stock's performance. You can also use the information found in these statements as a decision-making tool. By looking at the past performance of a stock, you can decide on how to treat it in the future--whether to buy, sell or simply hold onto it.