Pitfalls, if any, of updating investments yearly and manually

Poinz2 Member ✭✭
edited April 2022 in Investing (Windows)
So, I'm having a little trouble learning how Quicken "thinks".  I have several brokerage accounts with the major firms, but do not use auto online transaction updates inside quicken because of security concerns.  I only care about year end to year end performance / expenses / income, so at the end of each year I need to manually update each stock / mutual fund / bond with lump sum (summary) entries.  For example, one summary entry for dividends per stock per year. I assume I need to enter dividends / interest / etc, but what else and where ??  I personally think of all market gain, realized or not, as income, so will these entries show me the report I want every year showing me all income by category?  Thanks for any help !!


  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    There isn't any way for Quicken to magically know all the things you want without the transactions.  It "knows it" by doing the calculations on every transaction.  Without any transactions it has no information for you.

    Note there are two modes in Quicken Complete and Simple.  Simple only tracks the number of shares and that cash balance.  It is only for someone that is concerned about the overall value of their account, not about "performance" or "dividends" or such.

    Complete is where every transaction is recorded.

    If one wants, they can manually enter the transactions to avoid any online connection.  One could also see if the financial institution allows for "Web Connect", which is downloading a QFX file from their website and importing it into Quicken.  That would allow getting the transactions without Quicken knowing anything about your username and password for the financial institution.
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  • Frankx
    Frankx SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi @Poinz2

    Since you've decided that you won't download investment transactions (or, apparently, security prices) online, you realize that you'll have to make manual entries - at least annually - to get your "year end to year end" data, as noted above.  So yes, you will need to manually enter total yearly dividend income, and interest income per security.  Other things that you should record manually will include:

    a) stock transactions such as sales, purchases, and other similar changes to numbers of shares you hold (like acquisitions, spin-offs, restructuring, etc.);

    b) expenses related to the securities (such as commissions, and fees); and

    c) the year-end prices of each security held.

    I think that will give you the annual report you are seeking.  But I also want to note that if you have setup your stock holdings in Quicken to include their ticker symbols, that will actually give you the price changes throughout the year and year end prices.  And using Quicken for this function should not cause the "security concerns" that you have qualms about.


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  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you think of market gains and losses as income and expenses, you have been spending a lot recently!

    That aside, what to record depends on how complete and accurate you want Quicken's data to be, and how you plan to use it.

    Would you be happy with just tracking the account balances, and not the individual securities?

    Do you want Quicken to track your dividends and interest, to understand your income and tax situation?

    Do you want Quicken to track your realized capital gains and losses for tax purposes?

    Do you want Quicken to track any commissions and management fees you are paying?

    Do you want Quicken to track the performance of your securities and/or accounts?

    The answers to these questions will determine what you need to record.

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  • Poinz2
    Poinz2 Member ✭✭
    Thank you all for taking the time to comment. It really helps me confirming what I think I know and adding new ideas. And yes, I get the unrealized gains comments <smile>.
  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Others have covered most of my thoughts adequately.  One other thing I would like to point out is that 'returns' and 'performance' are broadly used terms that can have many different specific meanings.  In that context, if you aggregate all dividends to one year end transaction vs 4 transaction throughout the year, that will alter some return calculations but not others.  Similarly, when buys, sells etc. occur can be a factor.  So consolidating to a set of year-end calculations may be adequate for your understanding and decision making, but it could also be misleading in some cases. 

    For the most part, scattering four dividends on a stock paying out 2% per year versus consolidating that 2% payout to year end PROBABLY does not make a big difference.  But you can't extrapolate that to all cases.
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