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Spring Financial Cleaning

I spent a busy weekend taking care of many small tasks that have piled up over the long cold winter here in Ottawa. One of the most important task that I have procrastinated about is cleaning up my Quicken data files. I have done some quicken spring financial cleaning, but there was a lot of information that just never got cleaned up.

To make a tool like Quicken, or whatever tool you use to track your finances, useful it must be up to date and reflect your current financial standing.  I was not happy to see that I had left around:

  • The mortgage to my previous house was hanging around as a “hidden” account, with basically the balance from when I bought that house. Not sure how it got to that state, but cleaning that up, suddenly made my balance sheet look a lot less lopsided.
  • There were at least 2 RRSP, and two mutual fund savings accounts that were hanging around as well, that have been long since closed, that added a little too much optimism to my retirement planning as well.
  • All of the RESP accounts and pretty much all the remaining active RRSP accounts did not reflect the actual investment levels in them, due to me simply dumping money into the account without actually completing the task by “purchasing” the investment vehicles used.
  • Growth from DRIPs and mutual fund reinvestment were also not included in the savings accounts as well.

My Spring Cleaning Findings

Needless to say this took a very long time (some very quiet swearing) and a few huge mistakes that had to be undone, to fix up most of these issues, but now I think I have most of it straightened out.

The biggest issue I have with Quicken as a tool is that it seems to work very nicely with day-to-day banking things, however, as soon as you enter into investing too many things become far too manual, and then far too easy to procrastinate about.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I just don’t trust technology… Better yet, someone else’s anyway… I manage all of our finances, day-to-day and long-term planning in EXCEL… It was lots of work in the beginning, but now having 15+years of data created and analyzed, I’ve found for us what works and in some cases does not. The bonus is I can set up my own metrics to see if we are on track, or analyze data in weird manners as I typically do. It’s all about the consistent accounting! Funny statement coming from an Engineer, I know…. – Cheers.

  2. I know the feeling. I thought we’d increased our spending by $11000 last year, till I realized we’d contributed 11 to our TFSAs in January and then in November contributed 11000 to TFSA kickstarter accounts at ING that transferred out to InvestorLine on Jan 1–so the money sort of vanished from view by mid-January. It was a relief to find out our savings had increased, not our spending!

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