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How To Hold "Cash" In Your Seeking Alpha Portfolio

For some time now I have been using the Portfolio feature of SeekingAlpha to track the value of my holdings. If you're not familiar with the Portfolio capability, check it out. It is very useful. You can set up multiple portfolios and track each one individually or all of them together. That turns out to be pretty handy.

I have set up a portfolio for my Dividend Growth stocks, one for my speculative stocks, and another one for my list of potential buy candidates which I call my 'Watch List'.

The only issue I have run into is how to represent the cash or money market funds which I have yet to invest in an individual stock. Those funds are sitting there in my account, but the Portfolio feature does not have a "cash" bucket, nor will it recognize mutual fund / money market symbols.

This weekend it finally dawned on me that I could substitute an ETF symbol for my cash and get a reasonably close representation.

Duh!!

After a little research I settled on the iShares Capital 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (NYSEARCA:BIL). This ETF has maintained a stable price (within 0.1%) since the start of 2009. The price might vary by a few pennies (out of a $45.80-ish price) over time, but that's close enough for my needs.

One caution is that you can only enter an integer number of shares in any stock. This means that the value of BIL which you can represent in your portfolio might be off by as much as $20 or so at any given time. While the perfectionist in me finds that somewhat annoying, the pragmatist can live with it.

So now my portfolio(s) carry a near-cash balance in BIL and my total portfolio value is pretty darn close.

I hope that helps some of you folks out there on SeekingAlpha. It sure helped me.