Thursday, September 21, 2006

Quicken Scare

I was playing around with Quicken the other night and noticed that the 2006 version I'm using offers some account types that were not available on the last version. Or maybe I just never noticed them on the last version, who knows. One of the things that has always bothered me about Quicken is that you can't group your accounts according to your own preferences-- you have to stay with their defaults, which are just Bank, Investment, Credit Cards, Cash Accounts, Assets and Liabilities. I have several bank accounts, including checking, savings, money market, and CDs. A couple of the CDs are Roth IRAs. Then under investment accounts, I have my E*Trade brokerage account, an E*Trade Roth IRA portfolio, and my 401k.
What I would like to be able to do is group some accounts as "retirement," lumping together the Roth IRA CDs and portfolio, and the 401k, and then group the others as just "savings." In the long run, some of those "savings" accounts may also end up paying for my retirement, but I like to think of them separately-- they are more liquid, and I have other short-term goals in mind for them, such as the condo purchase. I also just like to see the retirement savings total as a lump sum. I suppose it is all kind of a mental game... but it would also make it much easier for me to update my NetWorthIQ profile without having to do extra math!
Anyway, I thought the new account type options in Quicken might allow me to do this, so I was poking around a bit. It turns out that I still can't group my accounts, so I didn't actually change anything. But the next time I went into Quicken, I discovered that my 401k account had somehow been turned from an investment account into a checking account, and all the buy/sell/dividend transactions had disappeared!
There was a time that I didn't even track these things, but now that I do, to lose the info was quite distressing! Fortunately I had backups of my Quicken data-- it's one of the only things I DO back up-- so I was able to restore everything without too much trouble. But let it be a warning to you-- don't monkey around too much with your account types in Quicken, as you may have unexpected results!

4 comments:

Rob said...

I'm still using Quicken 2004 (Premier, but I don't think that Basic/Deluxe/Premier affects this part of the discussion), and I have my various investment accounts groups where I want them: some credit cards are grouped with my "Cash" accounts, and I have some investment accounts groups with my "Retirement" accounts. So maybe you're upgrading from some very old version.

Madame X said...

Hmm... Rob, are you using Quicken for Windows? I am using it on a Mac, and I don't think the Mac version has as many features. No foreign currency transactions, for instance...

Rob said...

Yep, Quicken for Windows, and I know that Quicken for Mac is really a "different" product rather than simply being ported to Mac. Sorry. (I just got a Mac for work and have been very underwhelmed.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Quicken for Mac officially sucks. Do you use Quicken for E*TRADE checking? I am still appalled that E*TRADE still doesn't support Quicken for Mac. I write them nasty threatening notes about it every time I have to manually enter all transactions from my E*TRADE checking account.

Unfortunately the stereotype of Mac users as flighty creative types who have no need for spreadsheets or financial applications still persists as witnessed by the dearth of products available, or in this particular case, the pathetic state of Quicken for Mac. I think I may get a cheapo Windows box just to try out MS Money and Quicken Not As Afterthought, aka Quicken for Mac.