Quicken External Transfers

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MisterMister
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Quicken External Transfers

Post by MisterMister » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:32 pm

I use Quicken extensively for both tracking spending and cash flows. I do not track my brokerage accounts there.

One nuisance I've noticed is that when I deduct a transfer amount from a bank account in Quicken (e.g. when I send that money to Vanguard), it shows up as uncategorized expense. This fouls up my spending reporting, because it's not spending at all. If both accounts are in Quicken, I can simply record it as a transfer from account A to account B; but as I said, I don't have my brokerage accounts in Quicken nor do I want them there (more hassle than it's worth).

Wondering what tricks if any, anyone else has found and used for this problem.

Rupert
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by Rupert » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:35 pm

Create a dummy transfer account. Just call it "investments" or something.

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MisterMister
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by MisterMister » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:37 pm

Interesting idea. I have a cash account I created that I use in a similar way, .e.g. to track physical checks I receive before depositing them.

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MisterMister
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by MisterMister » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:43 pm

Rupert wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:35 pm
Create a dummy transfer account. Just call it "investments" or something.
The other thing I have done is to put a transfer category in that is the same account I am transferring out of. Quicken issues a warning but allows this. The item then does not show up either as income or expense.

So that works, but I thought it was a bit weird. I like your idea better, especially since it still shows the same "all accounts" total (IOW, the money isn't simply vanishing from Quicken's totals).

At one time I tracked brokerage funds in Quicken but I found that to be a nightmare and abandoned the idea.

stan1
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by stan1 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:47 pm

You could also set up an expense category called “investing” and use that for transactions in your checking account instead of a transfer. With that approach you would not have a dummy account floating around with a nonsensical balance that doesn’t reflect dividends or appreciation. Use filters on reports if you need to.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:53 pm

I find it annoying how my entire mortgage payment doesn't show as an "expense", only the interest part. The principal part reduces the loan balance, and isn't an "expense". Yet I need to pay that money out each year. Would like to be able to say to include it.
Avid user of forums on a variety of interests - financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair and more. Enjoy learning and passing on knowledge.

Topic Author
MisterMister
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by MisterMister » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:54 pm

MisterMister wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:43 pm
Rupert wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:35 pm
Create a dummy transfer account. Just call it "investments" or something.
The other thing I have done is to put a transfer category in that is the same account I am transferring out of. Quicken issues a warning but allows this. The item then does not show up either as income or expense.

So that works, but I thought it was a bit weird. I like your idea better, especially since it still shows the same "all accounts" total (IOW, the money isn't simply vanishing from Quicken's totals).

At one time I tracked brokerage funds in Quicken but I found that to be a nightmare and abandoned the idea.
Also an excellent thought. The only thing I have trouble wrapping my head around is considering investment an expense, especially since I no longer have earned income to offset it.

But that approach does have some other advantages, namely that the money doesn't show up in my net worth in two places (bank account + Vanguard) when it really is only in one.

Lacrocious
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by Lacrocious » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:56 am

You are hitting on the various options I can think of.

I like the create an Expense category. It isn't an expense to you overall, it's an investment. It is an expense from the spending/savings accounts you track in Quicken. The money leaves your spending/savings accounts and goes elsewhere. Money for food goes to your grocery store, while money for investing goes to your broker, tracked elsewhere. You have broken your money into two pools - Spending/Savings vs. Investing. An expense in Quicken is simply removing money from the accounts you track in Quicken.

The other option is to setup an investing account, but go into the account details and on the Display Options tab, check "Keep Separate..." and "Hide account name...". Do not check "Hide in transaction entry lists". Don't close the account. This will effectively hide the account from all views, reports, calculations - but keep it visible in the category list as a possible transfer. You could hide it from there as well and manually type in the transfer category [Investments] in a transaction, but then it won't fill automatically. You can always go to the Accounts list to find your Investments account for any review.

Really, I don't see how option 2 is much different than option 1. Actually, Option 1 gives you more flexibility - in that you can easily create sub-categories for "Job1 401K", "Job 2 401K", "Roth 1", "Roth 2", etc. - so you can track, report, budget for what gets sent to which investment account. You could do option 2 and create separate accounts as well. Budgeting works seems to work better with categories rather than transfers.

Note - I also do the Cash Account to make deposits easier. If I get multiple checks to deposit, I enter them in the Cash Account so each check gets a transaction, then the deposit to checking is a transfer of the whole amount of all checks. The cash account balance stays at zero most of the time. This works better than using a single deposit transaction and split rows to enter checks. The split info can contain the payee - but a separate transaction is easier to track/review in the future.

- L

stan1
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by stan1 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:08 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:53 pm
I find it annoying how my entire mortgage payment doesn't show as an "expense", only the interest part. The principal part reduces the loan balance, and isn't an "expense". Yet I need to pay that money out each year. Would like to be able to say to include it.
You could configure Quicken to do what you want if I'm understanding it, either by creating a custom report that includes the transfer to the loan balance as an expense or not doing a transfer at all and creating or editing your own transaction(s) for the monthly mortgage payment. Just requires some customization which Quicken actually provides a lot of capability for users to do within some boundaries. Sometimes it becomes an opportunity to get a little creative.

acegolfer
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by acegolfer » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:33 pm

stan1 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:47 pm
You could also set up an expense category called “investing” and use that for transactions in your checking account instead of a transfer. With that approach you would not have a dummy account floating around with a nonsensical balance that doesn’t reflect dividends or appreciation. Use filters on reports if you need to.
+1. Any Quicken report (even the ones in homepage) allows you to include/exclude specific categories.

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MisterMister
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by MisterMister » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:38 pm

acegolfer wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:33 pm
stan1 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:47 pm
You could also set up an expense category called “investing” and use that for transactions in your checking account instead of a transfer. With that approach you would not have a dummy account floating around with a nonsensical balance that doesn’t reflect dividends or appreciation. Use filters on reports if you need to.
+1. Any Quicken report (even the ones in homepage) allows you to include/exclude specific categories.
The default spending report on the Spending tab does not appear to allow custom category selection (though it does allow custom account selection). Too bad, this is the report I use most. Unless I'm missing something...

acegolfer
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by acegolfer » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:41 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:08 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:53 pm
I find it annoying how my entire mortgage payment doesn't show as an "expense", only the interest part. The principal part reduces the loan balance, and isn't an "expense". Yet I need to pay that money out each year. Would like to be able to say to include it.
You could configure Quicken to do what you want if I'm understanding it, either by creating a custom report that includes the transfer to the loan balance as an expense or not doing a transfer at all and creating or editing your own transaction(s) for the monthly mortgage payment. Just requires some customization which Quicken actually provides a lot of capability for users to do within some boundaries. Sometimes it becomes an opportunity to get a little creative.
+1. In report>customize, select/deselect accounts (or categories depending on how you set up mortgage account).

acegolfer
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by acegolfer » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:49 pm

MisterMister wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:38 pm

The default spending report on the Spending tab does not appear to allow custom category selection (though it does allow custom account selection). Too bad, this is the report I use most. Unless I'm missing something...
Too bad. My 2016 Quicken has "Customize" button, where I can select accounts, categories, etc and save.

stan1
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by stan1 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:22 pm

MisterMister wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:38 pm
acegolfer wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:33 pm
stan1 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:47 pm
You could also set up an expense category called “investing” and use that for transactions in your checking account instead of a transfer. With that approach you would not have a dummy account floating around with a nonsensical balance that doesn’t reflect dividends or appreciation. Use filters on reports if you need to.
+1. Any Quicken report (even the ones in homepage) allows you to include/exclude specific categories.
The default spending report on the Spending tab does not appear to allow custom category selection (though it does allow custom account selection). Too bad, this is the report I use most. Unless I'm missing something...
OK, I agree specifically for the Spending screen if you created an Investing category you would not be able to filter that out of the pie chart (or the table below that shows transactions). I would still find it useful to see how much of my monthly outbound cash flow was going to investing and would not see it as a problem to have an investing category on that chart. If you choose go back to the other suggestion which was to transfer the investment to a hidden account it would not show up on this page. I verified that transfers out to an investing account do not show up on the spending report.

You could also create a custom view of your own (from the Home Tab click on "Add View") and put an "Expense" item on it that does allow filtering by category (but its not as pretty as the Spending tab). I have a custom view that I use as my custom start up page. You could also try sending a feature request to Quicken. I am still on 2017 (and will be until the downloads stop) but there are some reports that the new Quicken sold off from Intuit is more responsive.

delamer
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by delamer » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:30 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:08 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:53 pm
I find it annoying how my entire mortgage payment doesn't show as an "expense", only the interest part. The principal part reduces the loan balance, and isn't an "expense". Yet I need to pay that money out each year. Would like to be able to say to include it.
You could configure Quicken to do what you want if I'm understanding it, either by creating a custom report that includes the transfer to the loan balance as an expense or not doing a transfer at all and creating or editing your own transaction(s) for the monthly mortgage payment. Just requires some customization which Quicken actually provides a lot of capability for users to do within some boundaries. Sometimes it becomes an opportunity to get a little creative.
Right.

If you include transfers to your mortgage balance as an expense in your budget report, you’ll get what you need.

You need to use the customize function for your budget report to add that category.

stan1
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by stan1 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:51 pm

delamer wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:30 pm
stan1 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:08 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:53 pm
I find it annoying how my entire mortgage payment doesn't show as an "expense", only the interest part. The principal part reduces the loan balance, and isn't an "expense". Yet I need to pay that money out each year. Would like to be able to say to include it.
You could configure Quicken to do what you want if I'm understanding it, either by creating a custom report that includes the transfer to the loan balance as an expense or not doing a transfer at all and creating or editing your own transaction(s) for the monthly mortgage payment. Just requires some customization which Quicken actually provides a lot of capability for users to do within some boundaries. Sometimes it becomes an opportunity to get a little creative.
Right.

If you include transfers to your mortgage balance as an expense in your budget report, you’ll get what you need.

You need to use the customize function for your budget report to add that category.
The Spending tab is not a standard report if that's what RickBoglehead is looking at. It works different than other reports and is less customizable. I don't use the spending tab very often but spending a few minutes looking at it to help people on this thread reveals that it could use some more advanced filtering options. I do like how it drills down from categories to sub-categories to payees. You can filter out tax categories but not categories you specify. Seems like a fair request to make of Quicken to improve filtering on this report. Otherwise it is a nice feature to make Quicken feel a little more like an advanced visualization tool like Tableau.

Topic Author
MisterMister
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by MisterMister » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:06 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:22 pm
MisterMister wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:38 pm
acegolfer wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:33 pm
stan1 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:47 pm
You could also set up an expense category called “investing” and use that for transactions in your checking account instead of a transfer. With that approach you would not have a dummy account floating around with a nonsensical balance that doesn’t reflect dividends or appreciation. Use filters on reports if you need to.
+1. Any Quicken report (even the ones in homepage) allows you to include/exclude specific categories.
The default spending report on the Spending tab does not appear to allow custom category selection (though it does allow custom account selection). Too bad, this is the report I use most. Unless I'm missing something...
OK, I agree specifically for the Spending screen if you created an Investing category you would not be able to filter that out of the pie chart (or the table below that shows transactions). I would still find it useful to see how much of my monthly outbound cash flow was going to investing and would not see it as a problem to have an investing category on that chart. If you choose go back to the other suggestion which was to transfer the investment to a hidden account it would not show up on this page. I verified that transfers out to an investing account do not show up on the spending report.
...
Thanks, I tried that and you are right. It looks as if the default Spend tab report doesn't include *any* transfers (internal or otherwise), whether or not the target account is hidden. But additionally giving it a display option of "separate" and/or "hidden" might be a good compromise, depending on whether the investment account was desired for inclusion in other reports.

NYCguy
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by NYCguy » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:13 pm

Try tracking investments in Quicken. It us awesome. And has the benefit of solving your problem.
If your out-go is greater than your income, your upkeep will be your DOWNFALL.

SimonJester
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by SimonJester » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:15 pm

If you are not going to track the brokerage account, then I would not categorize the transaction as a transfer. Just create a category called Inventing and record the transaction as you would any other spend from the account.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

delamer
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by delamer » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:43 am

stan1 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:51 pm
delamer wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:30 pm
stan1 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:08 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:53 pm
I find it annoying how my entire mortgage payment doesn't show as an "expense", only the interest part. The principal part reduces the loan balance, and isn't an "expense". Yet I need to pay that money out each year. Would like to be able to say to include it.
You could configure Quicken to do what you want if I'm understanding it, either by creating a custom report that includes the transfer to the loan balance as an expense or not doing a transfer at all and creating or editing your own transaction(s) for the monthly mortgage payment. Just requires some customization which Quicken actually provides a lot of capability for users to do within some boundaries. Sometimes it becomes an opportunity to get a little creative.
Right.

If you include transfers to your mortgage balance as an expense in your budget report, you’ll get what you need.

You need to use the customize function for your budget report to add that category.
The Spending tab is not a standard report if that's what RickBoglehead is looking at. It works different than other reports and is less customizable. I don't use the spending tab very often but spending a few minutes looking at it to help people on this thread reveals that it could use some more advanced filtering options. I do like how it drills down from categories to sub-categories to payees. You can filter out tax categories but not categories you specify. Seems like a fair request to make of Quicken to improve filtering on this report. Otherwise it is a nice feature to make Quicken feel a little more like an advanced visualization tool like Tableau.
I don’t use the Spending tab.

Under Reports, go to Reports & Graph Center, then under Spending go to Current Budget — that I’ve customized to do exactly what I want including showing certain transfers.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Quicken External Transfers

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:28 am

stan1 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:08 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:53 pm
I find it annoying how my entire mortgage payment doesn't show as an "expense", only the interest part. The principal part reduces the loan balance, and isn't an "expense". Yet I need to pay that money out each year. Would like to be able to say to include it.
You could configure Quicken to do what you want if I'm understanding it, either by creating a custom report that includes the transfer to the loan balance as an expense or not doing a transfer at all and creating or editing your own transaction(s) for the monthly mortgage payment. Just requires some customization which Quicken actually provides a lot of capability for users to do within some boundaries. Sometimes it becomes an opportunity to get a little creative.

Yes, I can create a custom report, eliminating all transfer accounts but the mortgage principal. This doesn't add the two mortgage numbers (principal and interest together, and requires the manual unchecking of literally dozens of accounts each time I want to create a report. It would be nice to have a report "definition" that guided all reports.

Since I want the loan principal reduced, I guess I could add two lines to each automatically generated transaction, one adding the principal payment to an expense account, and another reversing it out (to balance), and not including the reversing out account in the expense reporting.

My point was that this is one of the many ways in which Quicken could improve, a simple box that says "include mortgage principal in expense reporting" (and also lower the loan balance).
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