I am using Manager for personal finance (please hold your criticisms – the price is right, I have a 101 understanding of double entry bookkeeping from highschool, and I really like Manager’s interface).
I’m looking for feedback on my thinking of how to track investments including retirement, pension, and general investment (roboadvisor) accounts.
Expected transaction flow is that deposits into said accounts will be highly regular while withdrawals (loss/gain realization) will be infrequent. I’m tempted to just do a semi-yearly or yearly transaction where I reconcile the estimated value for the accounts vs their book value.
Bank and Cash Accounts
Because these accounts aren’t liquid like “normal” chequing accounts and are subject to loss/gains at the time of withdrawal, I hesitate to use a bank account in Manager due to how that affects reporting. Put simply, investments are not cash equivalent. The pro here is that reconciliations have a built-in flow.
Because I’m not wanting to micro-manage individual securities/bonds/stocks/etc, using the investments tab seems like the wrong use here but maybe I’m thinking about the tab wrong.
I saw another thread that alluded to this method, but not exactly how that’s envisioned. I feel like this one is an easy “no” as it is abusing a feature of the software in an unintended way.
Standard Accounts & Journal Entries
I’m certainly leaning this way. Just make an asset account for investments along with a revenue & expense account for capital gains & losses respectively. Because this is personal finance I could even get away with making one account for each institution for better reporting.
So I’ll turn it over to the forum - has anyone done something similar in Manager? What works for you? What didn’t?
How do you receive your pension, buy and sell investments? Surely some Bank account is being used. You are therefore advised to enable Bank and Cash accounts and create the bank account.
You can create in Chart of Accounts an Asset account, Revenue account and Expense account for each institution. No need for multiple businesses.
Fair point, I’ll experiment with this tomorrow using a backup/copy of my current file and see how this works. I guess I’d just use receipts and payments for tracking gains/losses. I guess that could work fair enough.
The one downside is that things get a bit vague with respect to the breakdown of the accounts. For normal chequing accounts this doesn’t bother me too much but I would like to have the individual investment accounts listed out “atomically” in balance sheets & general ledger summaries as opposed to a giant control account.
Hoping that makes sense.
Therefore you should just create for each investment account and asset account in Chart of Accounts. similar for each revenue and expenses for each institution under P&L.
The balance Sheet Report will show all these.
You should definitely not use receipts and payments for value adjustments. Those are only for movements of actual funds.
The Investments tab is in its infancy and really questionable for this purpose at present.
Personally, and this is a forum moderator saying this, I don’t believe it worthwhile to monitor personal investments with Manager or any general purpose accounting program. Available software from brokerage firms is specialized for the purpose, widely available, and includes all the necessary data links for automatic updates, along with trading interfaces. When better developed, I think the tab will be suitable for investments held by a business.
I chose the path of making standard accounts + journal entries and for the last few months it’s worked out with sufficient reporting for my needs.
- When setting the opening balance for the accounts I simply used the most recent statement for each account (institution).
- For year-end and month-end I once again used the latest monthly statement from each institution/account and input those into journal entries to reconcile growth/loss (balancing with either a capital gains or capital losses account).
- My pension contributions are withheld on my paystubs, so I simply made a separate “PENSION - $EMPLOYER_NAME” revenue account and balanced the growth of that account in that way.
- Deposits into my investment/retirement accounts are simple payments from the bank accounts except they debit the asset account instead of an expense account.
- For easier to read reports + summary page I made an “INVESTING” group under Assets and made the individual accounts members of that balance sheet group.
Thanks to the way manager handles reporting/date selection it’s not required to explicitly zero out the account come year end - simply treat year end the same as a month end.
Overall I’m happy with this approach and hope this helps any other people who have the same questions I did.