Do you know if your exchange traded funds (ETFs) are performing the way you want? The idea of buying an ETF is to match an index. Using the S&P 500 as a broad-market benchmark is helpful, but if you’re buying ETFs that don’t track the S&P 500, how do you monitor your portfolios’ performance? Morningstar and Yahoo!Finance are a couple of websites that offer the tools to help you, says Eleanor Laise in The Wall Street Journal. These sites allow you to input your unique holdings as well as their cost basis and watch them.

Regular monitoring of your portfolio is the best way to track your ETFs. The index used for comparison should match your financial goals. For example, if you plan to retire by 2020, you could compare your ETFs and other investments to a “target-date” index with the same date set to see what changes your portfolio needs to achieve better performance.

Another option is to create your own index that relates specifically to your investment strategy. However, users need to create their own benchmarks carefully to ensure proper measurement.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.