Aerial View of Tracking Investments

Is Quicken the best tool for investment tracking?
Quicken is great in my hands tracking money flow for checking/savings and tracking categories of expense. I'll continue to use it for that. Maybe not investments? What other platform with download feature? Should I search for some genius Excel spreadsheet?

- What I require is a consolidated look at each investment account balance, performance to ballpark net worth. I need Q to match online balances. Placeholders bring me down. Details of transactions are in statements, brokerages report sales and profit/losses for tax purposes. I really never have a need to review Q register. Do you?

- I also want to be able to state what I have invested in some commercial real estate so my kids know I put X dollars into an LLC that they should go looking for if I croak. I have opened a Q account for X property with X dollars invested and it sits there as a marker for them. I don't try to update value of it, wouldn't know how to enter that even if I knew it may have increase 2x or 3x.

- I opened a home residence account and change the approx market value of my home from time to time. Do you do that and that way?

Thank you for taking time with me,


background comments:
When downloading became a thing --> my investment tracking, account accuracy went to poop. Placeholders and trying to resolve them in accounts where mutual fund reinvested proceeds is the worst for me.
Where I have transferred assets to another brokerage (stocks) it is easier to hunt down but I have had problems accurately zero-ing out the last broker account and wondering if starting balance of new broker was somehow incorrect leading to discrepancy of Q vs online balance.


  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2019
    You raise several questions. I'll try to answer some of them.

    Quicken is not the best tool for tracking investments, but it is the only one I know of that combines so many features all in one place.

    If you want to accurately track performance and tax implications of your investments, you will need a tool that has an accurate record of all your transactions in all your accounts.

    Just tracking your balances is easier. Many brokers (Vanguard eg) offer the ability to track your balances at outside investment accounts and offer a consolidated view. They get the balances and holdings at your other accounts via a consolidation service like Yodlee.

    If you just want to track balances in Quicken, you can set up an Asset account for each investing account and manually adjust the balance each month to match your statements. Of course then you will not be able to take advantage of Quicken's performance, asset allocation, or tax tracking features. You can do the same for your LLC and your home. Premier offers the ability to link to Zillow to get their estimate of your home value.

    If you want help dealing with placeholders and getting your investing account to reconcile, please post back.
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  • dogwind
    dogwind Member ✭✭
    Thanks Jim!

    Placeholders are a major part of it. Trying to track down the info lacking especially when share balance in mutual funds is multi-year with dividend reinvestment. I can usually hunt down a stock buy 6 yrs ago and fix that placeholder but matching shares from a 6 yr dribble of buys is hard.

    I opened a new file this AM to toy with idea of "investments only" file and separate banking file. My 401k downloaded from the website for year to date has 8 placeholders. Can't go back to inception. What do new users do when they are first using Quicken and all the current holdings needs past data that can't auto load?

    1. Since it is a nontaxable account do I delete them and be gone?
    2. But then no performance data right? Use 401K website for that?
    3. Use average cost that is somehow easier? (don't know how to do)
    4. Painstakingly record every transaction?(my 401K may not give me that detail online)
    5. OR try to rehabilitate what I have - fix what I got?

  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sometimes all the transactions can be approximately correct but you get Placeholders due to rounding errors. In this case, especially for tax deferred accounts where the tax lots don't matter, you can get "close enough" tracking by cleaning out the Placeholders.

    One way to do a quick fixup if the placeholders are not for lots of shares, would be:
    -- do a backup first in case the result is not to your liking.
    -- download so your share balances are current. 
    -- open the Placeholders tab at the bottom of your transaction list (register)
    -- hit the Delete all button (be patient, this may take some time)
    -- download again and let it make Placeholders to force the balances to match the download.
    -- manually enter Add and Remove transactions for the day before the new Placeholders to get the Placeholders down to zero.
    -- delete the last set of Placeholders. 
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  • dogwind
    dogwind Member ✭✭
    wow will do

  • dogwind
    dogwind Member ✭✭
    I have to step back to an elementary question:
    What do I lose if I delete placeholders?
    The correct value and current investments are still there.
    I lose performance data, buy/sell data for taxes (which I double back to at tax time and performance I usually evaluate on websites)
    What else do I lose that I am not considering?


  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    The Placeholders force your share balances on the Placeholder date to match the balances downloaded from your Financial Institution. Manually entering an Adjust Share Balance, to match the balance on a statement for example, will also create a Placeholder.

    Because the shares added or removed do not have cost data associated with them, Quicken is unable to accurately calculate your performance or cost basis. In a taxable account, the cost basis affects your taxes when you sell.

    The best practice is to resolve placeholders, i.e. reduce the share adjustment to zero by adjusting earlier transactions, and then delete them.

    For new downloads, you can prevent the placeholders in the first place by noting any discrepancies reported at the end of the download but not letting Quicken create the placeholder(s). Then go back and enter any missing transactions or adjust Reinvests to eliminate rounding errors. When you are done, you can do a Reconcile Shares and Quicken should report that they are in balance. 

    If you have a bunch of placeholders but the dollar value is much less than your account balance, then deleting them will have a minimal effect on the performance calculations, and in a tax deferred account you really don't care about the cost basis. In this case you can either live with the resulting small discrepancies or use the process I described above to reduce them to one presumanbly small adjustment for each security.
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