Learning the Investment Module

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Elaine2
Elaine2 Member ✭✭✭
edited July 13 in Investing (Windows)

Windows user, R.-56.9, build: 27.1.56.9

  • Have ML accounts in Quicken
  • Have paper statements
  • Have reference on Kindle, YouTube— I will be studying
  • Balances are all off, both cash and holdings

Q: Should I start from the beginning in 2018? or is there a way to start reconciling Jan 2024?

Q: My sense is that explanations start somewhere in the "middle"— so it makes no sense to me

. . .Need to understand how to "read" statements and "navigate" tasks and steps

Guidance requested. thank you!

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Best Answers

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 13 Answer ✓
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    I'm not at all sure when you began using Quicken. My assumption is that you began fairly recently. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    "Q: Should I start from the beginning in 2018? or is there a way to start reconciling Jan 2024?"

    This is one of those absolutely "it depends" questions. What do you hope to achieve here? There are basically two polar opposites here:

    • Perfection. Every transaction since 2018 - all buys, sells, income and "corporate actions" - are properly recorded. All gains and losses from sales from 2018 to "today" are correctly reported, every position all along the way from 2018 to "today" is correct at the lot level as to number of shared, acquired date, and basis.
    • "I don't need any of the detail between 2018 to 'today' and I don't want to see individual transactions, I just want to know the value of the Account starting "now" and how that value changes in the future."

    You probably won't be surprised that there's middle ground here of "I want to start with 'known good' positions - value and cost basis - as of XX/XX/2XXX and then enter transactions from that date until "today."

    So the question is: what do you want to achieve? If you have every statement from the time of the opening of every investment account until "today" perfection is achievable, albeit at probably at a considerable amount of work on your part, depending on you individual circumstances.

    By and large most "vanilla" transactions - simple buys, sells, dividends and income received, transfers of cash into and out of the investment account - aren't at all difficult to enter manually and most brokers get these transactions properly formatted in downloads into Quicken Accounts. However most brokers also only allow for a download of fairly recent information - 90 days is common - so you most likely won't be able to rely on downloads to completely cover the history of the Account.

    Quicken also has quite a few "wizards" you can invoke to guide you in entering more common investment transactions like name changes, spin-offs, tax free stock for stock acquisitions by one corporation by another corporation, and the like. The "vanilla" transactions and the investment transaction "wizards" are the "Actions" that you select when you begin entering a transaction and they are entered in the "Action" box that's immediately after the "Date" box at the beginning of the recording of a transaction. The Actions can either be selected from the drop-down list that's available in the Action box itself. A more comprehensive list of actions can also be selected by clicking on the "Enter Transaction" button at the upper left hand corner of the screen when you are in an Investment Account. Using the "Enter Transaction" button also brings up a new Quicken window that allows you to enter information into that window instead of the ledger-like Transaction List that's the normal presentation of an Investment Account.

    The Quicken "Help" service is very useful here in providing more detail and guidance when using one of the selected Actions; the Help service can be called by pressing the F1 function key after selecting the Action and Quicken will bring up the help information for that particular action.

    Sometimes information reported on 1099s - "Oh, you know that some of that dividend income you received we've decided was actually a return of capital" - do are more difficult because the broker only gives you the information, they don't tell you how to enter that into Quicken and Quicken isn't really helpful in these "after the fact" corrections. And "corporate actions" like split offs, stock plus cash acquisitions and the like, can call for even more effort since the broker generally only reports "positions" after the event without any guidance as to proper accounting (tax) entries to make in Quicken.

    So, what are you trying to achieve here with respect to what information you want to have in your Investment Accounts? If you are trying to create a considerable amount of investment transaction history, more than you can get through downloads, then you will have to work through those statements from the beginning in 2018 and manually entering transactions from the opening of the account. As I said, by and large most transactions are easy to enter manually, but there are a few exception circumstances, mentioned above, where accurate entry requires that you do some figuring outside of Quicken and then use the available Actions to make the correct accounting entry. In the latter situations you can certainly get help here from fellow Quicken users. Ask a clear question about an event that you're trying to enter (INCLUDE the name of the companies involved and the date of the event) and you will get answers.

    (Yes, there is a way to start your Accounts as of January 1, 2024. When you create a new Investment Account you are asked for the Opening Balance information from the "most recent" statement on the Account. In this case you'd say "12/31/2023" and enter those balances and go from there. Almost certainly though the starting numbers you'd enter would be correct in the overall sense, but you'd lose lot-level detail.)

  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    Options

    @Elaine2 can you tell us what ML is? Is that Merrill Lynch?

    The basics for getting investment accounts balances to match your brokerage is for each holding, the number of shares and the share price should be the same in Quicken and at the brokerage for the date you are making the comparison. And the amount of cash in Quicken and at the brokerage should match for the date of comparison. The Portfolio on the Investing tab can be handy as you can set the date to the date for your comparison with the brokerage, e.g., for the last day of the month.

    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the Quicken Windows FAQ list

Answers

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 13 Answer ✓
    Options

    I'm not at all sure when you began using Quicken. My assumption is that you began fairly recently. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    "Q: Should I start from the beginning in 2018? or is there a way to start reconciling Jan 2024?"

    This is one of those absolutely "it depends" questions. What do you hope to achieve here? There are basically two polar opposites here:

    • Perfection. Every transaction since 2018 - all buys, sells, income and "corporate actions" - are properly recorded. All gains and losses from sales from 2018 to "today" are correctly reported, every position all along the way from 2018 to "today" is correct at the lot level as to number of shared, acquired date, and basis.
    • "I don't need any of the detail between 2018 to 'today' and I don't want to see individual transactions, I just want to know the value of the Account starting "now" and how that value changes in the future."

    You probably won't be surprised that there's middle ground here of "I want to start with 'known good' positions - value and cost basis - as of XX/XX/2XXX and then enter transactions from that date until "today."

    So the question is: what do you want to achieve? If you have every statement from the time of the opening of every investment account until "today" perfection is achievable, albeit at probably at a considerable amount of work on your part, depending on you individual circumstances.

    By and large most "vanilla" transactions - simple buys, sells, dividends and income received, transfers of cash into and out of the investment account - aren't at all difficult to enter manually and most brokers get these transactions properly formatted in downloads into Quicken Accounts. However most brokers also only allow for a download of fairly recent information - 90 days is common - so you most likely won't be able to rely on downloads to completely cover the history of the Account.

    Quicken also has quite a few "wizards" you can invoke to guide you in entering more common investment transactions like name changes, spin-offs, tax free stock for stock acquisitions by one corporation by another corporation, and the like. The "vanilla" transactions and the investment transaction "wizards" are the "Actions" that you select when you begin entering a transaction and they are entered in the "Action" box that's immediately after the "Date" box at the beginning of the recording of a transaction. The Actions can either be selected from the drop-down list that's available in the Action box itself. A more comprehensive list of actions can also be selected by clicking on the "Enter Transaction" button at the upper left hand corner of the screen when you are in an Investment Account. Using the "Enter Transaction" button also brings up a new Quicken window that allows you to enter information into that window instead of the ledger-like Transaction List that's the normal presentation of an Investment Account.

    The Quicken "Help" service is very useful here in providing more detail and guidance when using one of the selected Actions; the Help service can be called by pressing the F1 function key after selecting the Action and Quicken will bring up the help information for that particular action.

    Sometimes information reported on 1099s - "Oh, you know that some of that dividend income you received we've decided was actually a return of capital" - do are more difficult because the broker only gives you the information, they don't tell you how to enter that into Quicken and Quicken isn't really helpful in these "after the fact" corrections. And "corporate actions" like split offs, stock plus cash acquisitions and the like, can call for even more effort since the broker generally only reports "positions" after the event without any guidance as to proper accounting (tax) entries to make in Quicken.

    So, what are you trying to achieve here with respect to what information you want to have in your Investment Accounts? If you are trying to create a considerable amount of investment transaction history, more than you can get through downloads, then you will have to work through those statements from the beginning in 2018 and manually entering transactions from the opening of the account. As I said, by and large most transactions are easy to enter manually, but there are a few exception circumstances, mentioned above, where accurate entry requires that you do some figuring outside of Quicken and then use the available Actions to make the correct accounting entry. In the latter situations you can certainly get help here from fellow Quicken users. Ask a clear question about an event that you're trying to enter (INCLUDE the name of the companies involved and the date of the event) and you will get answers.

    (Yes, there is a way to start your Accounts as of January 1, 2024. When you create a new Investment Account you are asked for the Opening Balance information from the "most recent" statement on the Account. In this case you'd say "12/31/2023" and enter those balances and go from there. Almost certainly though the starting numbers you'd enter would be correct in the overall sense, but you'd lose lot-level detail.)

  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    Options

    @Elaine2 can you tell us what ML is? Is that Merrill Lynch?

    The basics for getting investment accounts balances to match your brokerage is for each holding, the number of shares and the share price should be the same in Quicken and at the brokerage for the date you are making the comparison. And the amount of cash in Quicken and at the brokerage should match for the date of comparison. The Portfolio on the Investing tab can be handy as you can set the date to the date for your comparison with the brokerage, e.g., for the last day of the month.

    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • Elaine2
    Elaine2 Member ✭✭✭
    Options

    Been using Quicken since version 2 or 3, in the early 90s but became a dedicated user since 2017.

    Thank you for very detailed reply. Read through it carefully. To clarify and answer your questions:

    1. I am only interested in correct balances.

    Context: I've worked really hard to get banking, credit and liability accounts to reconcile properly for the purpose of generating an accurate cashflow and category reports such as dining and groceries. I'm only interested in an accurate cashflow report and balance sheet.

    Details on the investment account(s) only matter to me if an entry is incorrect or entry is absent, that in turn impacts a balance. I realize there is a whole—- other level of detail you can get into (no bandwidth for that right now).

    2. Your response helped me to understand another level of detail on this section. Thank you!

    3. As with the banking accounts, can I create a starting balance of 12/31/2023 as you noted and ignore the rest. (I usually truncate my file after I've completed taxes to just the current year. Right now I have 2023 TRX still in the file.)

  • Elaine2
    Elaine2 Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 13
    Options

    to mshiggins:

    Thank you for this reply. — Yes "ML" = Merrill Lynch.

    I will study your suggestions and endeavor to familiarize myself with that feature.

    . . . In the past, when staring at a new account to reconcile it— I basically go line by line to understand the logic and process of how they arrived at said total until I figure out the sequence, then try to match it. Painstaking— but effective.

    Thank you again!

    [EDIT] - added from another topic posting -

    Hi—

    Merrill Lynch— direct connect — three accounts: equities, fixed income and cash money accounts.

  • Elaine2
    Elaine2 Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 13
    Options

    Hi—
    Merrill Lynch— direct connect — three accounts: equities, fixed income and cash money accounts.

    [EDIT] - copied to your other topic on Investment Learning

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Options

    " As with the banking accounts, can I create a starting balance of 12/31/2023 as you noted and ignore the rest. (I usually truncate my file after I've completed taxes to just the current year. Right now I have 2023 TRX still in the file.)"

    The answer to your question is "Yes."

    If you don't have Investment Accounts in your file and you create a new Investment Account Quicken will ask for opening balance information. Your opening balance information would be the 12/31/23 ML statement. It will ask for the cash balance to begin with and then ask for each security you own- name, how many shares, cost basis. You can enter lot-level information if you want but probably simply "summary" numbers would suffice for your purposes. Cost basis isn't absolutely necessary and probably isn't available in the 12/31/23 statement, though it might be. But that information really should be available at the ML site though you might have to "back into it" by subtracting 2024 transactions. You have flexibility here.

    But you can't delete investment transactions outside of the current year because Quicken always is calculating shares and basis based on ALL TRANSACTIONS in the file relating to each security from the first purchase.. The only way you can delete prior year transactions, if you want to, is to create NEW opening balance entries as of the end of "last year" to start Quicken's calculations anew, then delete last year's transactions.

This discussion has been closed.