locked
Investment Account Monthly Balance RRS feed

  • Question

  • Every month I balance the cash portion of my investment accounts when I receive the statement from the associated broker.  When I sat down to balance my Fidelity account for the statement dated 7/31/13 the dates in the beginning dialogue box were for 5/31/13 and 6/30/13.  I thought I might have missed balancing the account at the end of June so I went through the process for that period.  When I restarted the process for the 7/31/13 period the dialogue box again showed 5/31/13 and 6/30/13.  I've run through it 3 times now with the same result.  Does anyone have any idea what might be going on?
    Sunday, August 18, 2013 4:44 PM

All replies

  • Temporarily, in the Cash register, select View: Unreconciled Transactions. See if there are unreconciled transactions that are older. That can affect the balancing process. Otherwise, missing or duplicated transactions are common reasons for not balancing. I don't use the regular balancing process myself, but I understand it.

    A way to help find an anomaly, such as a missing transaction, is to compare the running balances in the Fidelity web register vs the Money register. The thing that makes this harder is the T+3 or T+1 delays before buys and sells are reflected in the cash. If you have periods with more than 3 business days of no regular Buy or Sell, then compare the balances at the end of that period. That way you can tell if the problem is before or after.

    You have the option of showing Money Market buys and Sells in the Fidelity web page by ticking "Display settlements in core account". I don't do that, because it would be a lot of extra transactions. If you have been doing that by hand in Money, then you would do so. It is not too late to change how you do that. The main disadvantage of not entering the MM buys and sells is that the performance is way overblown on a percentage basis in the Portfolio (tiny interest against zero balance is huge gain percentage-wise).


    Fidelity Investments works nicely with PocketSense getting your Fidelity transactions via an OFX file and feeding that file to Money. That process also enters the closing prices of securities that you hold, which are actually included in the OFX file that comes from Fidelity. If you want to try PocketSense, I would be glad to help. It would be best to make a new thread for that if you do.

    For balancing, if you get the Money Cash register to have the right balance, there is an easy way to catch up on balancing to get everything back to your accustomed way:
    If you wish to start fresh and declare an account balanced, you can
    mark all entries balanced.  Select to show only unreconciled
    transactions.  Sort by date, and go to the oldest transaction.
    Hold down Cntl+Shift+M and let auto-repeat work thru the
    transactions until none are left showing.  Do not change the
    starting date or starting balance.  The starting balance is the sum
    of the transactions that have already been marked as reconciled.
    Then balance making the ending balance match the known balance.
    Choose the balance date to be the day after your last transaction.
    This is not the normal procedure.  It starts you with an amnesty
    for former balancing.

    Thereafter, follow the normal procedure if you like.

    Monday, August 19, 2013 3:02 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Cal, I'll take a look and let you know what I find...

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:59 AM
  • I'm finally getting a chance to re-address this issue:

    Following your comments Cal, I have done the following:

    I have checked for unreconciled transactions and have not found any.  I have kept this account balanced since its inception back in March of 2009.

    I have checked the running balances on both the Fidelity web register and the printed statement against what has been entered in Microsoft Money, all seem to match.

    I have been using PocketSense to download all of the Fidelity transactions since August of 2010 I believe.  At that time, following Cal's advise, I downloaded transactions going back to the creation of the Fidelity account.  Since then I have downloaded all of the transactions associated with the Fidelity account first and used that process to enter them into Money, including those that occurred on or about the time that my ability to balance the account went awry.

    The last time I was successfully able to balance the Fidelity cash account was for the statement dated 5/31/13.  As I go through the automated balancing process for the statement dated 6/30/13 I enter, as I always have, the information from the Fidelity statement.  When I enter the values for the Fidelity Cash Reserves account, which dropped from $77.86 to $15.65 per the statement and the PocketSense downloads on 6/28/13, I receive a dialogue box that states "Money has calculated that the number of shares you entered is less than the number of shares already in you account as of the statement date.  Click OK to continue using the amount, or Cancel to go back and adjust the numbers yourself."  I have played with the number of shares, dropping it by one and raising it by one.  If it drops below 77.86 by any amount I get the same dialogue box, if I go over the amount no dialogue box.

    I would really appreciate any help I could get in resolving this issue.  I've allowed 4 Fidelity statements to pile up on my desk and am tired of looking at them.

    Sunday, October 13, 2013 2:23 PM
  • Which of these apply to your current practice?:

    1. You do not enter Buys or Sells for the Fidelity Cash Reserves itself, but are using the value of that core account from the website or paper statement as the number to expect the cash account for the Fidelity Investments account in Money after things have settled.  (That is what I do and recommend for ease. It also matches what happens when I download with PocketSense.)

    2. You do enter Buys or Sells for the Fidelity Cash Reserves itself, and you are checking the Fidelity Cash Reserves  market value in the Portfolio against the expected holding. You expect the cash account for the Fidelity Investments account in Money to be zero unless there is some unsettled trade (T+3 etc).

    I don't use Money's balancing procedure myself, but I inspect for anomalies. It parallels Money's procedure. I just got into the habit of doing it my way. That is not important, I actually maintain copies of Money on two computers, and I compare the two to make it easy to see when balances diverge.

    Here is my generic write-up of Money's balancing procedure; I have not revised it for your situation.

    =============================================
    The balancing paradigm is that you receive a statement that covers
    a period of time, or at least it covers a set of transactions not
    covered by other statements.  The transactions covered by previous
    statements should have been marked as balanced before starting.
    The net sum of the reconciled transactions should match the
    starting balance.

    You may have already marked transactions that have been recognized
    by the statement issuer during the period of the statement as
    cleared.  Those transactions covered by the statement that have not
    been marked as cleared should be will be marked as such during the
    balancing process.

    Electronically cleared transactions are marked with E during
    downloads or imports.  For Money, this has no distinction from a
    blank C column for purposes of the balancing process.

    An E item that is marked as Reconciled or Cleared and later marked
    as unreconciled will return to its E status.

    For Money, E (Electronically cleared) is not considered Cleared by
    the Balancing process.  During the balancing, you must still
    left-click the Es to change them to Cs.  As you do, the Difference
    moves toward $0.00.  For M02, Es in the statement period are
    automatically changed to Cs.

    There appears to be no built-in effect of the C column for
    investment accounts.  There is no balancing.  The column can serve
    as a memo for whether downloaded etc.

    If you wish to start fresh and declare an account balanced, you can
    mark all entries balanced.  Select to show only unreconciled
    transactions.  Sort by date, and go to the oldest transaction.
    Hold down Cntl+Shift+M and let auto-repeat work thru the
    transactions until none are left showing.  Do not change the
    starting date or starting balance.  The starting balance is the sum
    of the transactions that have already been marked as reconciled.
    Then balance making the ending balance match the known balance.
    Choose the balance date to be the day after your last transaction.
    This is not the normal procedure.  It starts you with an amnesty
    for former balancing.

    Thereafter, follow the normal procedure.  Look at the balancing
    movie clip from your Money disk.

    During the normal procedure, you are presented with the list of
    transactions that are not reconciled.  In the left column will be
    the starting, and ending balances you entered as you started
    balancing.  There will also be a difference amount.  As you click
    on the C column for a transaction reflected on the statement, that
    space in the C column will change to a C.  If you mark an
    transaction cleared that has not actually been reflected on the
    statement, you can click the C column again to toggle the cleared
    status.  The difference should move toward zero.  As you continue,
    you should eventually get the difference to zero.  If you can not,
    you can click next.  Money will offer some choices.

    Sunday, October 13, 2013 3:54 PM
    Moderator
  • Please keep in mind that you are light years ahead of me in understanding both the intracies MM and the world of investing.  With that being said, here goes:

    I do not enter Buys or Sells for the Fidelity Cash Reserves account, or for the Investment Transactions account.  I perform an update using PocketSense on a daily basis and "Accept" the transactions that are downloaded for the Fidelity, as well as other, accounts.  At the end of the month, when I receive the statement, I balance what has been downloaded against what appears on the paper statement.  This procedure has worked flawlessly until the statement period noted in preceeding posts.

    I've read through your write-up of the Money balancing procedure and believe it to be for what the user is presented with when balancing a checking or credit card account.  Unless I'm misreading your synopsis, the balancing procedure for investment accounts is somewhat different:

    1. As with a checking, savings or credit card account one is presented with a dialogue box that shows the date of the last statement balanced and the user is prompted to enter the date of the statement to be balanced.  No account balances are indicated.
    2. Next the user is asked what investments were in this account at the end of the statement period.
    3. The user is then walked through each investment and asked to update the information for that investment:

    It is during this process, when I enter the number of shares and balance for the Fidelity Cash Reserves account that I am presented with the dialogue box that indicates "Money has calculated that the number of shares you entered is less than the number of shares already in you account as of the statement date.  Click OK to continue using the amount, or Cancel to go back and adjust the numbers yourself."

    I have tried to circumvent this by marking all of the outstanding transactions as being reconciled and skipping to the next statement date, but Money defaults back to the previous statement date of 5/31/13.

    Sunday, October 13, 2013 4:49 PM
  • I think Iunderstand what is going on. I think you are using InvestmentTransactions->MoreInvestingTasks->UpdateRetirementAccount. That was intended for those who do not enter transactions, such as Buys and Sells, but instead only get holdings and values. Some 401Ks are like that. I don't think it even depended on a CashTransactions/Contributions account.

    What I was thinking you were using was CashTransactions->MoreCashTasks->BalanceAnAccount.

    Since you are using PocketSense and getting individual transactions, you are best to have a CashTransactions/Contributions account; probably you do. The value of that would reflect your holdings in your "core account" at Fidelity, taking into account the delays associated with T+3 and T+1 settlements. This will probably bring up some questions. Keep an extra copy of your Money file in case you want to undo something.

    One thing about Fidelity OFX files; they are in a state of flux at some point each night after a market day. So I suggest not running PocketSense between Midnight Eastern Time and about 1 AM ET. If you get " Fidelity Alerts - Mutual Fund/Equity Distribution" email, it is probably OK to run PocketSense. The problem that can happen during the ambiguous time is that the quotes, downloaded from Fidelity, can be off by a day-- not a huge deal for most people.

    Monday, October 14, 2013 2:51 AM
    Moderator
  • You were correct, I am using the CashTransactions->MoreCashTasks->BalanceAnAccount.

    I do the downloads typically between 3:00AM and 4:00AM, which may play into the situation.

    Monday, October 14, 2013 3:06 AM
  • What I would do is to look back at old statements, and find the last time the balance matches your expectations. I would then add a single transaction with a new category of Adjustment (new category that you make up) with the value to make up the difference. Date it just after the statement where you had the agreement in balances.

    Then do the procedure "If you wish to start fresh and declare an account balanced" as described above.

    Monday, October 14, 2013 6:24 PM
    Moderator