PortfolioCenter is worth the cost, especially considering what it does for you! Maintaining accurate data is invaluable to your practice, your clients and your peace of mind.
In addition to the standard license, SPT offers a “Emerging Practice” license for firms with 100 accounts or less. Check with Schwab Performance Technologies for current pricing. You’ll find their staff friendly, knowledgeable and easy to work with.
If you’re getting started and truly can’t afford the cost yet, you still have options. Sometimes managers who are retiring sell their licenses on eBay or through National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
You might also consider interning with the soon-to-retire first, so you can benefit from their wisdom and experience before inheriting their license and buying their practice.
Another “out of the box” option is joining forces with another new RIA. While you would need to buy a second seat, sharing the overall costs makes them more affordable. I know of groups of managers who operate under a single LLC and shared investment philosophy — sometimes from different cities. As they build their practices, they share knowledge and overhead while giving each other backup and greater expertise as different managers specialize in different aspects of financial management.
Whatever option you choose, protect your investment by outsourcing to ensure accurate data.
Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.