Friday, March 17, 2023

Duplicated Securities in Quicken

When I was working on reporting my net worth to you the other day, I was surprised to see that it was about $3.3 million! I immediately knew I shouldn't get too excited, though. It wasn't the first time I'd had Quicken duplicate the securities in my 401k account, thereby artificially inflating my account value.

It's a very annoying problem to have-- Quicken has a "merge securities" feature that lets you combine the assorted versions of a security that have been downloaded under different names. But sometimes the problem is that you still end up with the wrong number of shares for each security-- usually double what you really have. I did a little online searching for solutions but didn't find much. I tried just deleting one version of a security, but Quicken wouldn't let me do that, since both versions were active. I probably should have just removed all the shares for the duplicate securities, but from what little I did see online, it looked like merging the securities would be the best way to go.

Merging the securities was a little complicated. The securities in Quicken don't all have 5-letter symbols, and even ones that did have those symbols had been downloaded under various names, so my security list was looking rather cluttered. A few others seemed to have changed ticker symbols.(The downside to just letting Quicken add all these transactions automatically is that I don't pay as much attention to what's going on. But my old method of entering them manually was a big drag.)

As I was merging the securities, I noticed that it might be duplicating the number of shares, but I figured I'd just have to adjust that afterwards. Once the security list was cleaned up, I went through my 401k statement to check the true number of shares vs. what was showing in Quicken, and then entered some "remove shares" transactions to correct the balance. And voila, I'm back to being $1.5 million poorer! 

The really annoying thing was that the inflated numbers somehow populated my past years' net worths in Quicken. I'd never really played around with restoring from a backup in this version of Quicken, but I decided to try it and see if I might be able to correct the past years. To make a long story short, I ended up restoring an older backup, having more problems, then going back to the more recent version I'd fixed, then having doubts, then installing a Quicken update, and doing a couple more rounds of adjusting transactions, merging securities, etc. What a mess. At this point, I do have the past years fixed and my current share counts are pretty accurate, but my most recent 401k contribution seems to be missing 3 mutual fund purchases, so something still isn't working right. UGH! I'm going to sit on it for a bit and see what happens when my next contribution goes through and whether my balances and share counts match my next statement.

The main thing that came out of this is that I'm going to be more vigilant about recording my net worth at the end of every year in a separate spreadsheet, and probably on paper somewhere too! Just in case.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see your posts! Looks like all's going well. I'm not a fan of this market volatility, and I'm also going to be making some investment changes to get to a more conservative portfolio as retirement (hopefully) nears.

I don't use Quicken or other personal finance software, just an Excel spreadsheet to which many tabs have been added over the years. A lot of the information is not historical, just current and updated regularly - and that includes my net worth. Maybe I'll add a tab to keep maintain the historical NW data. Though I don't always find it comforting to see the ups and downs of my 401k balance...