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The Quicken Tutorial

Note from the Webmaster: Thanks go our to users Jennifer Krou, Sam Cotton, and Jimmy Connor for giving their permission to present this information.

Fishlip:

Setting Up A Checking Account

  1. If you are using Quicken 98, open your "Accounts page" (that is the main page Quicken 98 shows when you open the program). If you are using Quicken 99, click on "Window" at the top of your Home Page and scroll down to activate "Show top icon bar." After the icon bar shows (near the top of your Home Page), click on the "Accts" icon (2nd from the left). The "Accounts page" is identical in both Quicken 98 & 99 versions.
  2. Click your mouse cursor on "New" which will be located near the top of the Accounts page. Here we go!
  3. Quicken will now walk us through the process of setting up a new account. Notice all the different types of accounts. (We'll be back for sure.) Choose "Checking" then click "Next."
  4. Go ahead and name your account. For our discussion purposes, we'll use "1st National Checking" (you use your bank's name). Also describe the account. We use our actual checking account number (account number located on your last statement). Then click "Next."
  5. Quicken then asks you about your checking account and lets you determine from which date the account will start. The start date is purely personal preference. Do you want Quicken to compare your finances for the 1999 calendar year? Then pick 1/1/99 as your start date, grab a Diet Coke (or two) and get ready to re-enter everything from your Jan 1999 statements and un-reconciled Feb 1999 transactions from your paper checking account register. For our purposes today, let's assume your checking account register is accurate through your last written check, so click "yes" then "Next."
  6. Choose today's date as the "Statement date" and enter your accurate check register balance on the next line. Then hit "Next."
  7. If you want to apply for "on-line" banking services, select "yes" and proceed through the application process. If you don't know or don't want online banking services, select "no" and hit "Next." (You can always edit the account and apply for online services at a later date.)
  8. Quicken then generates a detailed summary of your checking account. Double-check all the information to ensure accuracy. You should see "1st National Checking," your checking account number, opening balance (your accurate paper register balance), start date and any online banking services applicable to the account. Press "Done."
  9. Quicken now displays your checking account on the "Accounts Page." From now on, every time you write a check, withdraw cash from an ATM machine or make a deposit, record the details of the transaction in your Quicken checking account including a "category" for the transaction. (The category field is right below the "Payee" slot in the transaction window.) If you fail to categorize a transaction, Quicken will prompt you to assign a category. ALWAYS ASSIGN A CATEGORY.

    For example, if you write a check to ABC Cable and record the details of the check in Quicken, after you record the amount of the check, use your "tab" key to get to the category window. Quicken has already pre-written expense and income categories for you to use. Yes, "Cable TV" is already there. Select Cable TV then press the tab key. Press "enter" to complete the transaction. Voila.

    Quicken will "remember" categories for each Payee, so when you enter a repeat transaction, Quicken will automatically categorize the expense. Neat! (You may need to change the price and payment date.) Don't worry if you make a mistake, you can delete any transaction from your Quicken checking register and try again. It's really easy once you record a few transactions.

Conclusion

So, how does this all work towards managing our DRIP accounts? Sam will take the ball and proctor us on the finer details of setting-up an investment account. As you probably guessed, it'll likely show up in our "category list." Hmmm, so that's how is works!


SCOTTON:

We are now ready to set up the Investment Account in Quicken. This account is basically the account which houses your various investments, in this case your DRiPs. I'm sure there are some Fools among us who would prefer a separate Investment Account for each individual DRiP. I'm not sure why, but it's an individual decision on how many accounts that you might need. In my case, I use two Investment Accounts. The first I use for stocks held by my brokerage. I do this so that it's easier to reconcile to monthly brokerage statements. I set up another brokerage account where I place up all of my DRiPs. There might be other reasons to set up additional accounts, but I won't address them here.

  1. Select the List feature from the menu bar and choose Account.
  2. From the screen provided, select the button marked New. You will then be prompted to answer a number of simple questions.
  3. Account Type - Investment. You are then asked to name the account. Be as creative and entertaining here as you dare to be. There is absolutely no consequence.
  4. On-Line Services - The typical answer to this question is no.
  5. Checks or debit cards used against this account - No
  6. Type of Securities - Stocks
  7. Tax Deferred or not - No except with IRA's. This might be an area to look at if you are using any DRiPs as an IRA. In this case, it might be advantageous to set up a separate Investment Account for each IRA and in this case, choose tax deferred.

    You are than presented with a summary of the data which you have selected for your review. If you're satisfied, click Done and it's a done deal. Go ahead and kick back, sip your Diet Coke and take a deep breath. You're half way home! The Investment Account itself is set up!

    The next set of instructions is even easier than the last. I'll try to recap these pretty quickly because I know you're getting anxious. What Quicken does is takes you through a number of screens for each unique stock which you are adding to the portfolio. For my example, I will use the Fool-famous Coke.

    Name: Coke
    Ticker: KO
    Type: Stock
    Optional Info: I don't use - look at and see if you feel you need
    Date to Start: I always use the original purchase date and record all transactions. That is so I can reconcile to statements received from transfer agents.
    Number of Shares: 1
    Price: $64.75 Please note that this is where you put in commissions or other cost basis items such as Temper fees
    Cost Basis: Lot Identifiable
    Summary: Review for errors

    At this point either add additional securities or select Done.

Congrats! You passed this segment! Don't be overly concerned with making mistakes. You can always go back and correct them at a later date.

How was that? Simple enough? I now see why my fellow Fools assigned me this segment! Regardless, please post any questions and we'll do our best to answer them.


JKROU:

OK, here we go off to make an OCP (optional cash payment) to our favorite DRiP. If you are already comfortable with using Quicken to record check-writing then skim down to the Category (#5) or skip this lesson.

  1. Select your checking account from the Quicken Home Page. After each instruction either hit your enter key or your TAB key, depending on how you have the program set up to move from field to field.
  2. Enter the Date if it is other than today.
  3. Enter the Payee (example, for KO this would be First Chicago or whoever they tell you to make it out to on the coupon.)
  4. Enter the Amount you are going to send.
  5. Enter the Category, you should be selecting your DRiP account.
  6. If you like Memos and notes, you can enter one now such as KO stock. If you are using a single DRiP account (portfolio) to track all of your DRiPs then this can be helpful for laggard statements.
  7. Look over the entry and make sure you are happy with it, then click ENTER and you are done. Great job!

If you are setting up for your OCP's as automatic debits from your checking account, please refer to note called: Quicken Tutorial: OCP ACH

Well, some Fools want to set up their accounts as an automatic withdrawal from their checking accounts. Follows are the instructions to set up a scheduled payment, this will also work for any regular payments that are drawn automatically from your account. (Again, I am assuming that you will be using your enter key or TAB key to move from field to field at the end of each instruction beginning with #3.)

  1. From the Quicken Home Page, select Lists and drag down to Scheduled Payments List, or use the shortcut keys: Ctrl-J.
  2. Click New.
  3. Select the Account the money will be taken from, this would most likely be your checking account.
  4. Select the Transaction type: payment.
  5. Select the Payee, this is whoever the money goes to such as First Chicago for KO stock.
  6. Select the Next Date that this transaction should take place, what day will the next automatic payment be deducted from the checking account.
  7. Select the Category, this will be the DRiP account that you have set up previously.
  8. Enter the Amount of the automatic payment.
  9. Enter a Memo if you want, can come in handy if you have a single DRiP account to track all of your DRiPs; we will say KO Stock OCP for this case.
  10. Enter How Often the automatic deduction will take place, usually this is monthly.
  11. Enter the Number of Payments that will be made.
  12. Record in Register: choose either Automatically Enter or Prompt Before Enter, your choice here. I use Automatic because I don't like to be bothered.
  13. Record This Many Days In Advance, your choice here.
  14. Review all of the entry, and when you are happy, click OK. YIPPEE, you did it!
  15. In the event that you ever need to edit the scheduled payment: from the Quicken Home Page, Ctrl J, highlight the entry to be changed, click Edit, make the changes, click OK.

You guys are doing great, since we have not had many questions yet.....GOLD stars and a share of your favorite stock all around! (kidding on the shares of course.)

Recording the actual purchase from your statement:

(as always, I am assuming that you will use your enter key or TAB key to move from field to field.)

  1. From the Quicken Home Page select your investment account.
  2. Enter the purchase Date from your statement.
  3. Select Action: BUY
  4. Select the Security (if this is the first purchase of the security then you will get a pop-up box to enter the following information: Symbol, Type {stock}, Asset Class {your choice}, check the box if you want to use Average Cost, then click OK)
  5. Enter the Price from your statement.
  6. Skip over the Shares field.
  7. Enter the amount of the OCP (less any fees.)
  8. Enter a memo if you want.
  9. Enter any fees paid, this will automatically increase the Amount field.
  10. Review the transaction so far, when you are done press the Enter button.
  11. Note: the number of shares has been automatically calculated for you and should match your statement.

Recording a Dividend Reinvestment:

(as always, I am assuming that you will use your enter key or TAB key to move from field to field.)

  1. From the Quicken Home Page select your investment account.
  2. Enter the Dividend Date from your statement.
  3. Select Action: ReinvDiv
  4. Select the Security.
  5. Enter the Share Price
  6. Skip over the Shares field
  7. Enter the Amount of the Dividend (less any fees)
  8. Enter a memo if you want
  9. Enter any fees paid
  10. Review the transaction and press the Enter button
  11. Note: the shares are aiutomatically calculated and should match your statement

Recording Fees Paid by the Company:

(as always, I am assuming that you will use your enter key or TAB key to move from field to field.)

  1. From the Quicken Home Page select your investment account.
  2. Enter the Date the fees were paid from your statement.
  3. Select Action: ReinvDiv
  4. Select the Security.
  5. Skip over the Price, Shares, and Amount fields
  6. Enter a memo: Company Paid Fees
  7. Enter the amount of fees paid
  8. Review the transaction and press the Enter button
  9. Note: the shares remain at zero since only a fee was paid, an amount may show up in the Price field but you can ignore or delete it.