Does Intuit/Quicken really have us over a barrel

snipped-for-privacy@nospam.invalid wrote:


I download all my transactions, but have a series of 'canned' reports organized by how the paperwork comes to me at the end of each month by FI. That way, I can easily see if my Q numbers match the paper numbers. Best of both worlds; I don't have to enter a series of digits (with purchasing of fractional shares of dividend stocks each month, that can lead to errors rather easily...). As Ronnie once said, "Trust, but verify"!
--
-------------------------------------------------------------
Regards -
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------030508010700070003030503 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Andrew wrote:

You mention fractional shares and stocks which leads me to the following question: Of what good is online investment download? Partly I ask because of Online Investing Download Problems <http://defaria.com/quikiwiki/tiki-index.php?page=Online%20Investing%20Download%20Problems but also because it occurs to me that in order for online investment downloads to be useful one would need to have a fair amount of transactions happening. I mean why bother if you do 1-5 transactions a year?
Yet in order to do 1-5 transactions a month or a week you would be incurring a lot of investment expenses! I mean each time you send a check to some broker then tell them to buy stocks on your behalf, doesn't it cost you a certain amount of money? I mean let's say I want to sock away say $50 a week. But it costs me what like $5-$10 each trade or roughly 10-20% just to invest! So I wait instead and do it monthly ($200 with $5-$10 being much less percentage wise). But then I only have 12 transactions. Hell I can just enter that by hand!
Or if I was substantial amounts weekly (like $200-$500) then hell I'd probably just pay somebody to handle my investing transaction if I had that much money!
Now there may be some advantage to online investment download in that it verifies what you've entered to what your broker thinks happened. However I find that way too often the accounting system the broker uses is way different than Quicken and things don't match up. Trying to keep track of investments is a nightmare and brokerage firms make it no easier (refer to the link above - I have more horror stories but I've stopped documenting them).
So how does utilize Online Investment Download to their advantage?
--
Andrew DeFaria <http://defaria.com
I(nternal) R(evenue) S(ervice): We've got what it takes to take what
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 2/17/2008 8:27 PM, Andrew DeFaria wrote:

<http://defaria.com/quikiwiki/tiki-index.php?page=Online%20Investing%20Download%20Problems

There are certainly different investing philosophies. One that I've followed, and had reinforced by The Motley Fool, is to not do trades in amounts like $500 because the brokerage fees are too high a percentage of the transaction. Better probably to let your account grow to say $2,000 before making an investment. In the mean time earn interest on the cash that you are saving up.
But the question was what value is there to investment downloads, especially for small traders. I'd say marginal value if all you do is trade and occasionally receive dividends. Even then, if you are entering your transaction manually and downloading periodically from your broker, then you have something to easy and quickly reconcile, validating your position very quickly.
But if you have your dividends reinvested, which is a very good strategy, then downloading becomes a bit more significant and convenient.
Bernie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------000509030308060101050605 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Bernie wrote:

How does your account grow to say $2000 if you don't put anything in it? Perhaps you mean a non-investment account but your reference to "account" above is vague. If you mean a cash account of some kind then by saving up $2000 over time it means you don't do many investment transactions thus online downloading of investment transactions is not helpful.

I'd say the vast majority of people don't have a spare $1000, let alone $2000 to invest each month. At that rate how long does it take you to enter 12 transactions a year?

Again, online investment downloading has little value to somebody who doesn't have a lot of transactions.

I'd agree with you except for one thing - I have yet to meet an investment company who does reinvestment of dividends the correct way. By that I mean the Quicken way. Quicken has a transaction type called ReinvDiv. This transaction handles the reinvestment of dividends in one transaction. Most (all?) investment companies download two. One dispatching the Div and another to buy more stock/mutual funds. As a professional programmer with some 28 years of experience I know that when interfacing two dissimilar systems together as is being done here, the programmer must make an effort to understand both systems and there is a small amount of translating involved. So then if Quicken's native representation of a reinvestment of dividends is a single ReinvDiv transaction and the broker's idea of it is to - then *a translation is to occur to meld these two different systems together* and thus each speaks in it's own native tongue as it were. This is the value of a good programmer to this sort of situation! Again, I have yet to see it happen WRT investment companies and Quicken!
--
Andrew DeFaria <http://defaria.com
There's very little advice in men's magazines, because men think, I know
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 2/18/2008 9:43 AM, Andrew DeFaria wrote:

If you have a brokerage account then you have the ability to deposit money into that account without immediately investing it. You should also earn interest on that cash, although there may be a minimum cash balance before you start earing interest. And you may earn a higher rate f interest on a savings account elsewhere while you accumulate cash. It us usually easy to do an online transfer from your savings account to your investment account. At e*trade you can even an investment account and a savings account with the same company and transfers between them are instant.

Sounds like we agreed.

Yep. And even without 28 years of programing experience I think most people understand that. In my case I have even more years in the business than you do, although in this instance I don't think it is relevant.
And since this has now turned into a discussion just for the sake of discussion I'll drop this sub-thread.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dividend reinvestments (mutual funds and some individual stocks) across many family members yields a LOT of transactions (over a hundred) - and they're all without any brokerage fee. All my trades to portfolio allocation are done within my 401K so there's no fees for that either. Only occasion fee I pay is when I actually buy or sell an individual stock which is not often as I'm a fairly long term type of guy.
Q and all my accounts line up pretty well. On occasion, I find that the closing prices of my individual stocks do not match the price stated on the monthly brokerage statement, so that does need to be adjusted occasionally, but usually everything else is within a cent.
Downloading does save me a lot of time....I've used Q long enough to remember having to manually enter all this stuff as it came in the mail, and I never want to go back to those days.
------------------------------------------------------------- Regards -
- Andrew
all my transactions, but have a series of 'canned' reports organized by how the paperwork comes to me at the end of each month by FI. That way, I can easily see if my Q numbers match the paper numbers. Best of both worlds; I don't have to enter a series of digits (with purchasing of fractional shares of dividend stocks each month, that can lead to errors rather easily...). </BLOCKQUOTE>You mention fractional shares and stocks which leads me to the following question: Of what good is online investment download? Partly I ask because of <A href="http://defaria.com/quikiwiki/tiki-index.php?page=Online%20Investing%20Download%20Problems ">Online Investing Download Problems</A> but also because it occurs to me that in order for online investment downloads to be useful one would need to have a fair amount of transactions happening. I mean why bother if you do 1-5 transactions a year? <BR><BR>Yet in order to do 1-5 transactions a month or a week you would be incurring a lot of investment expenses! I mean each time you send a check to some broker then tell them to buy stocks on your behalf, doesn't it cost you a certain amount of money? I mean let's say I want to sock away say $50 a week. But it costs me what like $5-$10 each trade or roughly 10-20% just to invest! So I wait instead and do it monthly ($200 with $5-$10 being much less percentage wise). But then I only have 12 transactions. Hell I can just enter that by hand!<BR><BR>Or if I was substantial amounts weekly (like $200-$500) then hell I'd probably just pay somebody to handle my investing transaction if I had that much money!<BR><BR>Now there may be some advantage to online investment download in that it verifies what you've entered to what your broker thinks happened. However I find that way too often the accounting system the broker uses is way different than Quicken and things don't match up. Trying to keep track of investments is a nightmare and brokerage firms make it no easier (refer to the link above - I have more horror stories but I've stopped documenting them).<BR><BR>So how does utilize Online Investment Download to their advantage?<BR> <DIV class=moz-signature>-- <BR><A href="http://defaria.com ">Andrew DeFaria</A><BR><SMALL><FONT color=#999999>I(nternal) R(evenue) S(ervice): We've got what it takes to take what you've got.</FONT></SMALL> </DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
------=
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------010907010206060708020300 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Andrew wrote:

And they are all probably done incorrectly. Do you get a single ReinvDiv transaction or a Div and Buy? Do you even care?
Congratulations for reaching that high of investing whereas you are getting a lot of dividend reinvestment transactions! I don't have that many... :-(

Ah yes. Well my old 401(k) done through HP and Fidelity, did not provide the online investment download option and I don't know why. Then again perhaps it was a good thing because, again, rarely do they do things correctly... for Quicken... making my investment accounts messy...

Well good for you. As I've said, and documented, my experiences with online investment downloading of transactions has left me feeling that it's much better, more accurate, compact and non-messy to do it manually and there just are not enough transactions to justify online investment downloads.

When they can get it to do it accurately (giving me X shares of Microsoft stock for $0 when there's a split is *not* accurately and screws up Quicken's graphs because it cannot adjust for splits properly, for example) I'll agree with you. But when it causes more errors than help it's not worth it for me!
--
Andrew DeFaria <http://defaria.com
So what's the speed of dark?
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andrew,
I don't necessary have an answer to your question, but I would like to share a couple of thoughts (this my be considered a gripe).
The only place in my investment portfolio where downloads would really help me (but they don't) is with my Vanguard 401(k). I have about 150 transactions per month most in fractional shares of seven funds. These represent new contributions / buys, reinvested dividends and fees.
My issue is that Vanguard statements and their website report all transactions and unit balances to me rounded to three places after the decimal, while the transactions download to five places. I almost have to touch up each entry as I accept (generally to fix the units).
The number of transactions is caused by the number of "buckets" (before tax, after tax, company match, etc.) Vanguard tracks the funds in. I am not certain that the "buckets" really do me any good in Quicken - as far as I can tell, I can't report on them, nor do I see a need for any such information from Quicken as I would go to Vanguard.
This would reduce the number of transactions to 20 to 25 per month (spread out) if I received the transactions at the next higher level.
This is not a Quicken issue - as Vanguard supplies the data. Only recently did I notice there was a change either to Quicken or by Vanguard where the holdings in Online Center (Q2008) shows the units to three decimals - at least now I should be able to reconcile to the Vanguard website statements. : )
If the fund carry's the units to five decimals Vanguard should report it that way on the web or on their statements.
As for other investments accounts - they work fine with the download as all I am really doing is matching to scheduled transactions for dividends as I am not an active trader.
Oilcan
all my transactions, but have a series of 'canned' reports organized by how the paperwork comes to me at the end of each month by FI. That way, I can easily see if my Q numbers match the paper numbers. Best of both worlds; I don't have to enter a series of digits (with purchasing of fractional shares of dividend stocks each month, that can lead to errors rather easily...). </BLOCKQUOTE>You mention fractional shares and stocks which leads me to the following question: Of what good is online investment download? Partly I ask because of <A href="http://defaria.com/quikiwiki/tiki-index.php?page=Online%20Investing%20Download%20Problems ">Online Investing Download Problems</A> but also because it occurs to me that in order for online investment downloads to be useful one would need to have a fair amount of transactions happening. I mean why bother if you do 1-5 transactions a year? <BR><BR>Yet in order to do 1-5 transactions a month or a week you would be incurring a lot of investment expenses! I mean each time you send a check to some broker then tell them to buy stocks on your behalf, doesn't it cost you a certain amount of money? I mean let's say I want to sock away say $50 a week. But it costs me what like $5-$10 each trade or roughly 10-20% just to invest! So I wait instead and do it monthly ($200 with $5-$10 being much less percentage wise). But then I only have 12 transactions. Hell I can just enter that by hand!<BR><BR>Or if I was substantial amounts weekly (like $200-$500) then hell I'd probably just pay somebody to handle my investing transaction if I had that much money!<BR><BR>Now there may be some advantage to online investment download in that it verifies what you've entered to what your broker thinks happened. However I find that way too often the accounting system the broker uses is way different than Quicken and things don't match up. Trying to keep track of investments is a nightmare and brokerage firms make it no easier (refer to the link above - I have more horror stories but I've stopped documenting them).<BR><BR>So how does utilize Online Investment Download to their advantage?<BR> <DIV class=moz-signature>-- <BR><A href="http://defaria.com ">Andrew DeFaria</A><BR><SMALL><FONT color=#999999>I(nternal) R(evenue) S(ervice): We've got what it takes to take what you've got.</FONT></SMALL> </DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
------=
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------040207030402080203050101 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Oilcan wrote:

Don't feel bad - nobody does!

Again, online investment download + 401(k) account - that makes sense. But alas my 401(k) didn't offer that!

Here's the way I look at this: The equation is shares * price = amount. What you pay (amount) for an investment is fixed in stone. There's a certain amount of money that changed hands. The amount of shares you got is also fixed in stone or at least years down the road they will argue with you that it was 1.203 shares not 1.2 shares! Therefore the only thing left in that equation to "give" is price. Therefore I let Quicken calculate the price as it may. As for reconciling with statements, well you gotta get the amounts and shares to agree. Prices can differ.

Exactly - worthless accounting crap! Sorta like taking two transactions to do what can be done in one. Waste of space and... my time. Fidelity always accounted for everything with my contribution and company match. What a bother!

Well when your 401(k) provider doesn't provide you with the data it becomes your problem!

Never heard of 5 decimal digits for shares - 5 decimal digits for price - not shares...

The issues I pointed out in Online Investing Download Problems <http://defaria.com/quikiwiki/tiki-index.php?page=Online%20Investing%20Download%20Problems remain for all FI I've dealt with.
--
Andrew DeFaria <http://defaria.com
After eating, do amphibians need to wait an hour before getting OUT of
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------090407070903000001070403 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
snipped-for-privacy@nospam.invalid wrote:

Yes you are missing something. You're assuming that online download replaces your own data entry. Yes I know, many lazy asses out there use it that way. But I don't. I still enter my data. When things download I *expect* them to match. When they don't I investigate right there and then.
On the plus side, when reconciliation time comes around it's usually a snap.
--
Andrew DeFaria <http://defaria.com
You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking five miles a day
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 2/17/2008 4:23 PM, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.invalid wrote:

No, I don't think that eliminates the point of the reconcile function at all, and yes, I think that perhaps you have missed something. Downloading transactions and balances from banks/brokers/credit cards simplifies and speeds up reconciliation.
Of course if ALL you do is download transactions then there is nothing to reconcile against. If you enter transactions manually, daily, weekly or monthly, then each time you download you quickly get to do an "interim" reconciliation. I find that very useful. Then when you get a statement from the financial institution reconciliation should take only a few seconds!
Of course some people do think that mistakes are so rare and so insignificant that it isn't worth entering transactions yourself and having them compared to the downloaded transactions. That isn't my preference, but that is why we have freedom of choice.
Bernie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@nospam.invalid wrote:

I download all of my accounts, and examine each transaction when it is downloaded. That is the way the download function works. The transactions appear in a smaller window below the register window. You can accept them all or each one individually, or you can edit them if needed.
This lets me catch potential problems quicker. It adds insurance that if someone stole a credit card number, I'd be aware of it very quickly. It let me catch a double charge to my credit card by my dentists office on the day after it occurred. It also prevents typographical errors which used to account for almost all of the lost time during reconciliation. In addition, it keeps me informed of dividends, splits, and any other transactions that I didn't initiate.
I also reconcile my accounts when the statement arrives. All of my accounts download in less than 3 minutes a day. Reconciliation which used to occasionally be painful usually takes two minutes or less.
I've been using financial software since MYM in the late 80's. I think it was about $150.00 at the time. I've done manual entry, and my finances were a lot simpler then. With the addition of investment accounts, IRA's, and multiple bank accounts, I'd definitely not want to go back to manual entry.
--
Jim

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I have ONE joint checking account. No need for any more. When my wife and I married, we also "married" all of our assets..no need to obsessively keep everything separate.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
sharx35 wrote:

I never said we kept things separate. I'm not obsessive about anything except exercise and pizza. :-)
We have been married for 32 years. We're looking forward to 32 more. All of our accounts are joint accounts except IRA's which must be kept separate.
We have accounts other than checking and savings.
--
Jim

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

and I

keep
... Good. A "marriage" is really a melding of financial estates. If you don't like that, you can get a lawyer to draw up an agreement that excludes specific items from the marriage contract. You'll figure that all out if you get divorced!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Incredibly, I hear some of my income tax clients arguing about who paid for what..as if it matters. Hell, all of our family's income goes into ONE joint account before being allocated to various bills, etc..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Pizza is the important thing here. Deep dish? Thick crust? Thin?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

BeanSmart.com is a site by and for consumers of financial services and advice. We are not affiliated with any of the banks, financial services or software manufacturers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.

Tax and financial advice you come across on this site is freely given by your peers and professionals on their own time and out of the kindness of their hearts. We can guarantee neither accuracy of such advice nor its applicability for your situation. Simply put, you are fully responsible for the results of using information from this site in real life situations.