Reconciling 401(k) accounts with many transactions

mjburgard Member ✭✭
I have tried, literally for years, to get my 401(k) account and my wife's to balance with the actual online 401(k) account that contains many mutual funds. No matter what i have tried (create a new account, delete old transactions; use placeholder transactions,etc); very quickly the account gets out of balance. It shows funds with more or less shares than are actually owned. I understand how the initial seeding idea did not help as there were no "accounts" or "Shares" for the initial money. I hate to keep creating new accounts as then all our payroll deductions are created to the wrong account in past years. But I am not figuring out how to keep the balance correct.

Ultimately, I suppose I could simply turn off downloads and make an entry each month or quarter manually. It seems this very simplistic method would work since I am not using QUicken to track tax issues with these accounts and in fact never would since I would rely on my statements at the time of withdrawals to tell me what is taxable.

Seems like I am making it more complicated by trying to have Quicken match the 30-40 mutual funds found in our 401(k) accounts when i have that information already in my 401(k) account. Any thoughts ;)


  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @mjburgard,

    From your post, I can feel the frustration that you must be experiencing.  Given what you've described above, it sounds like you have attempted quite a few times to get this account (or accounts - because I can't tell if there is just one 401(k) account or two - i.e. one for you and another for your wife) to balance once new transactions occur.

    I could ask a lot of questions here to try to help you sort this out, but I think another approach may be what you really would want, and Quicken now has something that could work well for you.  It is called "Simple Investing".  You should be able to switch this account (or accounts) to the Simple Investing method (assuming you can "connect" to the financial institution that holds these accounts) and going forward you will not need to deal with making entries for the various transactions and price changes that occur in this (these) account(s).  Simple Investing does not track individual transactions but instead keeps track of your investment holdings by downloading balances of the individual securities holdings periodically.  There is no need to record individual transactions - in fact, there isn't even a register for this type of account. 

    If you do decide to go this route, I would suggest that you first make sure that you have a good backup file before you make the switch.  Once you do that you'll have to do two things:

    1) Go to "Edit" > "Preferences" > "Investment Transactions" > then click on the "Enable Simple Investing (positions only)" box > then click "OK".

    2) Open the 401(k) account (or accounts) in Quicken > Click on the "Gear Icon in the upper right > click on "Edit Account Detaile" > in the "General" tab - go to the bottom and under "Tracking Method" - click on the "Si,ple - Positions Only" button > then click "OK"

    Get back to me with any followups and let me know how this goes, etc.


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  • mjburgard
    mjburgard Member ✭✭
    I had just discovered the "Simple investing" over the weekend. I tried to set up a new account but did not realize i could switch over an existing account. I did for both 401(k)s. I had to manually adjust my wife's account because i already had downloaded the most recent transactions. For my account, i downloaded 12/31/22 transactions and they both balance to the penny. Thanks

    What i don't understand is all my Fidelity investment accounts download with all transactions and they match up every download. The only difference is that Fidelity accounts update with the standard update process while my 401(k) uses the QFX web connect after i download the qfx file. Not sure why that would make any difference. I may switch all my accounts to "Simple investing" since i don't need the detail in Quicken.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Now if you could just help me figure out how to keep my budget reports current and not have to manually find new categories and accounts and constantly update them!!! (Another topic I am sure). BTW, I have been using Quicken since some point in the mid-90's and still struggle to figure out how to make things work correctly!
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