If you own stocks in a public company, you might be wondering how to figure out the worth of your shares. Frankly, the ever-changing landscape of the stock market is overwhelming for most non-finance folks. All those symbols, values and different exchanges are confusing to navigate. Thankfully, if you know how to use an internet search engine, it’s extremely simple to calculate the worth of your stock shares.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
To calculate how much your stock shares are worth, find the current share price and multiply that value by how many shares you own.
Find the Current Share Price
Head over to your favorite internet search engine and type in the company’s name plus "stock price." For example, if you’re looking up the current share price of Apple, type in “Apple stock price.”
The current share price of your stock should immediately come up. The search engine will also provide some helpful information about the stock’s price over the course of the day, week, month, year and more. This will give you some context as to the typical price fluctuations happening with your stock during a given time period.
Another option is to look up your stock on a popular financial site such as Bloomberg, Yahoo! Finance or MSN Money. These sites have a wealth of information about publicly traded stocks and can help you research your investment over the long-term.
Calculate Your Stocks' Value
Now that you’ve got your share price, it’s time to calculate the value of your stocks. Simply multiply your share price by the number of shares you own. For example, let’s say you own 35 shares of stock for Company A. You search “Company A stock price” and see that at this moment, each share is worth $85. Now, calculate 35 shares times $85 and you'll get a total value of $2,975.
Alternatively, many large companies such as AT&T offer investment calculators to help you figure out the worth of your shares. On these calculators, the company provides its most current stock price and you type in your number of shares. Press the calculate button, and there you’ve got your up-to-the-minute stock value.
Understand the Context
Here’s the tricky part: That value you just calculated doesn’t tell the whole story. It's important to note that there will be fees to pay if you decide to sell your shares, which will affect your potential profits.
Further, stock prices change many times a day, so your stock’s current value can shift rapidly. Sometimes, you can decide to sell a few shares of your stock only to find that the price has changed by the time you’re ready to make the transaction. It’s a good idea to do a little research on the history of your stock’s price. This information is readily available and can help give you some much-needed context about what to expect from your stock’s value over time.
Chelsea Levinson earned her B.S. in Business from Fordham University and her J.D. from Cardozo. She has been writing professionally for more than ten years. She has created personal finance content for Bank of America, H&R Block, Huffington Post and more.