View Full Version : Best Money/Investment Tracking Software?
05-31-2000, 07:06 AM
I used to use PointCast to track my investments. It allowed me to keep track of each investment, split, etc. for stocks and mutual funds. This was nice because I'm in a deferred comp program at work, and have a deposit into different funds a couple times each month. When I eventually withdraw it, I'll need to know specifics for tax purposes.
Unfortunately, when PointCast turned into EntryPoint, they took out that feature, having only an "average" number. This allows me to keep track of how much I have overall, but does nothing for the specifics.
I know there are other sites out there, but I don't want to rely on them because they could change and then I'd be back to square one again.
So, I'm looking to buy a program like Quicken or Microsoft Money or something. From what I've read so far, I would need Quicken Deluxe to do what I want. I was wondering what experience folks have had with any of these types of programs and what you guys what recommend.
05-31-2000, 09:28 AM
I don't understand why you would need to track it.
If your deferred comp is a qualified plan, then all you need to know is whether pre-tax, or after tax dollars are being contributed.
They are most likely pre-tax.
Your plan custodian and administrator have to prepare reporting paperwork to the IRS. They also give you a copy. When you pull money out of the plan it will be fully taxable regardless of the growth. The only part that will not be taxable will be your after tax-contributions if any.
The custodian of your plan or fund provider should be supplying you with this information. Many mutual families have websites where you can access account and cost-basis information.
Microsoft Money and Quicken Deluxe both have features that even allow you to download this info directly from the net (with varying degrees of success.)
What kind of plan are you dollar cost averaging into? Some programs may not be able to account for certain plans.
06-01-2000, 12:33 PM
I can recommend Quicken Deluxe, I've used it for two years quite happily. Before that I used Managing Your Money for DOS, then for Windows (which actually sucked compared to the DOS version for the first version) but MYM went under or got bought by HR Block or something like that, and sent a nice note out to all their customers that MYM for Win 2.0 was the last version ever, have a nice day. At the time I had heard MS Money bit the big one, so I went with Quicken.
Anyway, it is nice to be able to track all the individual purchases made in my 401(k), I'm anal and like charts and graphs and stuff, so I dig it. Besides, now that there is the http://www. you can go to http://www.andrewtobias.com/ instead of relying on MYM to give you Andy quotes & tips, so I don't miss it much.
Bottom line, if you can compare Money to Quicken to get a feel for which one you'd prefer to use, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. The $30 bucks you spend at Costco will be worth it for the fun/utility you get out of it. I've caught $600 or so worth of bank errors and unauthorized charges I probably would not have noticed without a rigorous system like Quicken. But then, I'm one of those folks who can't remember anything if it isn't written down or in a computer somewhere for me to look it up.
06-01-2000, 09:18 PM
What does the Deluxe version of Quicken give you that the basic version doesn't? I realized that I had a basic Quicken 99 that I'd gotten with my computer (never installed it). If that can do what I need to with stocks, hey, I'm set! :)
Scylla -- I've never gotten anything indicating what my basis was. I just get a statement every 3 months telling me what I've deposited and what they've taken out for fees. But it's not only the deferred comp I want to keep better track of. For example, I've bought some shares of a given stock, then a little later, bought more shares. Sometimes I've used a different broker, even! Right now, with the lousy EntryPoint system, I just see the average. I want to see each one individually.
06-01-2000, 09:57 PM
Take a look at your paycheck and determine if tax is being withheld from your statement. If it's not, when you begin distributions, the amount you take out will be fully taxable. Treat it like a deductible IRA. Just track the total number of shares and price to see how you are doing. Check Morningstar, Bloomberg, S&P and such for performance figures versus funds with like goals to see how your funds are holding up compared to the competition. Don't worry about the dollar-cost averaging. You don't need to worry about the cost-basis since it's probably a qualified plan tax-wise.
Look at the firm that your deferred comp statement is with. Call the 800 number and see if they have web access (most do.)
You may want to consolidate your taxable accounts with one firm. Merril, Salomon Smith Barney, Etrade, Ameritrade, and most of the other guys will let you look at all your holdings across several accounts in one central location.
Last I checked, both Quicken deluxe and Microsoft Money had occasional problems doing valuations. They would not adjust for splits, or capitol gains distributions with any regularity. SOmetimes they had symbol problems too.
If you just want to track your portfolio and see it live, There is a actually a pretty decent tool for this on Yahoo Finance. I think they let you track multiple positions of the same security.
I Use Meta-Stock, but it's kind of expensive, as well as some proprietary tools my firm provides me with.
06-02-2000, 07:15 AM
Check Morningstar, Bloomberg, S&P and such for performance figuresWell, I check with Bloomberg every morning. But I just get the same look back from the mirror...
(For those who have no clue what I'm talking about here, I'll give you one guess as to what the "B" at the end of my screen name stands for.)
06-03-2000, 01:48 PM
Well, I installed the Quicken 99 basic that came with my computer (still can't find the documentation -- I don't think I got any). It seems to do what I want, although parts of it are a bit annoying. For example, when I set up one account, I didn't link it to a checking-type account; it said if I messed up, I could change it later. Well, I messed up (it should have been connected) and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to change it! Luckily, I had only put in a few entries, so I just deleted the whole damned thing (even that took a little while to figure out how) and started over. I haven't had time to mess around with reports and stuff.
But I do have a follow-up question. In adding each stock/fund, it asks if I want to keep track on an individual entry basis or as a lump (in other words, each addition, or as an overall average). It says the IRS allows either way, but once you start one way, you have to keep doing it that way. Any idea what it's talking about? I thought you always had to keep track of each individual portion of the basis.
06-03-2000, 01:50 PM
Does anybody know the real difference between Quicken Basic and Quicken Deluxe?
I've tried comparing the info on the back of each box, but it just isn't terribly helpful for what I'm looking at.
I know Deluxe has some planning tools (college, retirement, buying a house, etc.), but I don't need those. Anything related to following stocks and funds, though?
06-03-2000, 04:26 PM
Regarding the first question. In taxable accounts (read NOT IRA or other qualified retirement,) you are allowed to account for mutual funds in one of two ways. Either you track each individual purchase's cost basis and liquidate according to LIFO (Last in first out,) or you just average the basis of all your holdings in that fund, and when you sell all, or a portion you just use that average price as your cost basis.
Which one is better, depends upon your intent. If you forsee that you will be making liquidations in the near future, and periodically through the holding period of your fund, use LIFO. If you are holding it for the long haul, use the average.
Again, unless this is in a taxable account, the question is moot.
I would wager that you could go to Intuit's website, and they would be sure to prominently advertise the difference between Quicken Basic and Deluxe.
06-04-2000, 07:53 AM
Regarding the first question. In taxable accounts (read NOT IRA or other qualified retirement,) you are allowed to account for mutual funds in one of two ways. Why only for taxable? For non-taxed (like deferred comp), I need to keep track of all the deposits, etc. (Or, hopefully, the company running it will?)
Which one is better, depends upon your intent. If you forsee that you will be making liquidations in the near future, and periodically through the holding period of your fund, use LIFO. If you are holding it for the long haul, use the average. Why is it better to use the average for the long haul? You mean just better in terms of recordkeeping, or better in terms of less tax?
I'll check out their website, as you suggest.
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