Custom Balances Extension: Questions and Answers

dtd's Avatar


29 Sep, 2023 11:03 PM

Stuart Beesley has developed some amazing extensions (Toolbox!) for Moneydance, but I feel one needs a bit more attention and usage - Custom Balances.

It's on my top right on my summary page. To put it simply, it allows you to create balances to view, on your summary page.

But it's much more powerful than that.

It's basically a custom report generator. You can create your own reports to view, and flip through them with the group id filter (i.e. a group id identifies a specific report you made)

It's basically a custom view into multiple reports. You just add another group id (i.e. "CustomView") and you can see important lines from multiple reports you created.

It's basically a warning window - you can place in hidden rows that trigger if a problem value is found (i.e. too low, too high, etc) and it will suddenly show up, and even blink if necessary.

You can change colors, show title bars, separation lines, etc.

You can do ratios, percentages, and so on. You can show categories by timeline - i.e. how much did I spend on gas THIS MONTH, or THIS YEAR?

It's uber powerful.

That said, anything uber powerful might elicit "how do I do this or that" questions. So far, these questions have shown up in "strange places" or in threads with a totally different title. As Stuart's main tester for Custom Balances, I can certainly answer such questions, and Stuart will probably check in as well. We would also entertain suggestions for improvement, but we both think CB is fairly mature at this point.

So, feel free to ask about Custom Balances here. It's a FANTASTIC extension (IMNSHO - in my not so humble opinion)

Showing page 4 out of 9. View the first page

  1. 91 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 11 Dec, 2023 10:58 AM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    I have to leave the above ideas percolating in the pot for a while whilst my unconscious brain works out the answer 😉

  2. 92 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 17 Dec, 2023 12:23 AM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    All, PREVIEW build 1041 now available from my site:

    • fixes to LOT controlled accounts when returning cost basis

    • NEW: Ability to offset the selected date range by number of periods -past, +future. Example, if you select last year, the period is year. Offset -1 would show you the year 2 years ago...

    • NEW: rows that are set to always hide, or filtered out by GroupID filter now always calculate when required within another row.

    Let me know how these work for you?


  3. 93 Posted by dtd on 17 Dec, 2023 02:11 AM

    dtd's Avatar

    We decided to institute period offsets as opposed to anything more automatic. i.e. give the users a new set of tools versus providing answers(balances) for them. You never know what a user might need, so just let them go at it.

    UOR (use other row - for maths) will obviously be used quite a bit more, so Stuart removed the need for the "silly X value, or a matching GroupID" for uor rows.

    Stuart coded and alpha tested, I beta tested, and if you have the time, start playing with it as a gamma tester... we think it's pretty much ready for a new release.

    Comments and thoughts and results appreciated.

  4. 94 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 12:30 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    Very nice, set it and forget it, always current comparison to prior period. Daily proof things are not what we have been led to believe by the nice man on TV. Love it when a plan comes together.

    In my mind this was going to solve the need for UOR (a helper row) for maths by using the current period value against the offset period value, but excited for the next best thing.

    * note I tried to import my previous backup, but I must have done something wrong. Had to start over, but a good learning exercise.

    Thanks for this great job.

  5. 95 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 17 Dec, 2023 12:58 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    👍 Which date option with offset are you using?
    And is this for asof balance. Reminders or Inc/Exp?

  6. 96 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 01:03 PM

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    @Stuart I've set up the "last 365 days" for an increase in spending from the prior period. Then created a duplicate row with the offset and did the math using other row. Only using non discretionary spending as a comparison.

  7. 97 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 03:22 PM

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    Since the topic is Questions and Answers. I have a question. Is is possible to calculate realized capital gains from stock sales with this extension?

    I'm attempting to automate the calculation of my tax bill ahead of time for estimated taxes (quarterly in the US). I can easily find my taxable dividends and calculate them,

    Calculating realized taxable gains from stock sales, both short/long seem elusive. The capital gains report does the calculation, I just can't figure out how or if custom balance extension can calculate this.

    I know I can go to the capital gains report and manually add that value to my taxable dividends, but automation is my goal.

  8. 98 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 17 Dec, 2023 03:42 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    It can't currently.. I had to rebuild the MD cost basis engine to get cost basis working for asof dates for both avg cost and lot control.... The new engine can in theory get CGs, but not yet tested. Also not yet in Custom Balances.... I presume you would want realised CGains between date ranges (rather than asof date)..?

  9. 99 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 04:14 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    @Stuart Correct. With the ability to differentiate between taxable and deferred. US retirement accounts are all deferred, so the only taxable gains prior to retirement age are on taxable investment accounts. Unfortunately I don't think MD differentiates between retirement and normal brokerages like Quicken.

    Between dates would be optimal, these are always on a whole year basis. Short term gains if held less than a year, long term is held longer. Of Course those are both taxed at different rates. I guess that is why they call them estimated. I always try to undershoot by a couple hundred dollars, getting to net 0 would be optimal. I hate the government getting interest on my money. :) Thanks

  10. 100 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 17 Dec, 2023 04:25 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    Sorry, then this is a no for CB. I don't even understand what 'taxable and deferred' means and whether that's even in MD? As for short/long term gains, again, I don't have a good grasp of those issues, whether it's right in MD, let alone how on earth we would get the user config on the GUI screen for all this, and then display it... Sorry.

  11. 101 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 04:53 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    Yeah, our tax system is such a mess. Really just getting the CG value would work, since the extension allows for account selection. Then that value could be added to the other stuff. I know your busy, keep up the great work.

  12. 102 Posted by sprimost on 17 Dec, 2023 05:02 PM

    sprimost's Avatar

    Fr" sprimost

    If it may help, and I have not red the entire thread carefully, so
    please ignore if I am incorrect, I have a separate category for IRA
    dividends (in relity, there is no ST CG for deferred accounts). I also
    have a sepatate set of categories for RMD. The income and expense report
    then reports my CG's that I have to pay tazxes on and the deferred that
    is nice to know.

    I can still see the "headache" for @Stuart since it depends on user


  13. 103 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 17 Dec, 2023 05:07 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    If the rules are easy, can be explained, there's a 'easy ish' way to set up the config GUI and the info is in MD (and correct), then I'm willing to explore... A lot of ifs....

  14. 104 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 05:13 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    @spimost I use a similar setup for dividend categories, making quick work of that part of the estimate for taxes. It's really the CG from stock sales during the year. That I'm looking for in the calculation. Since the user can select which accounts to include in the calc, the non taxable stuff would just not be selected for that row and it could be added to the calculated dividends for an "estimated taxes due"

  15. 105 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 17 Dec, 2023 07:02 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    It’s a great shame that costbasis and ur-gains require asof and this would require a new/separate range…. 😭

  16. 106 Posted by dtd on 17 Dec, 2023 07:16 PM

    dtd's Avatar

    "In my mind this was going to solve the need for UOR (a helper row) for maths by using the current period value against the offset period value, but excited for the next best thing."

    Doing the above would have LIMITED what we added here, i.e. suddenly CB becomes something specific for only this concept, and unless (as stuart has mentioned) we make the GUI selection area much longer, would eliminate other functionality.

    By adding "only" offset periods and not putting in any assumptive use for them, we increase the useability of the UOR field without eliminating any other functionality. And thus you can create your percentage comparisons, whereas someone else does subtractive comparison, and someone else shows profit/loss on a security between two dates.

  17. 107 Posted by dtd on 17 Dec, 2023 07:24 PM

    dtd's Avatar

    As to the conversation about realized capital gains and other tax items, I really don't think this would be appropriate for "Custom Balances". This, to me, would be a separate Tax Extension, because we would no longer be showing only calculated balances, it's the beginning of a "Calculated Taxes" system, and it would only be for one country, which would restrict it further.

    That said, I have run into similar issues (with my IRA balances) and do have some hints (and they are similar to what Sprimost mentions (and you say you do something similar)) on how to creatively use categories which then can be used to create balances. OTOH, it requires a bit more setup work (and you like automatic), and is nothing like creating a "Calculated Taxes" system.

    So whereas your desire for offset comparisons drew a resounding "that's a good idea" for CB, I think that Tax calculations is not a good fit for CB.

  18. 108 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 07:37 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    @dtd appreciate the candor, and understand completely. I wish I had left my original answer of "Correct" to @Staurt and not went into all the details. I hate to waste the time of anyone.

    I have 2 dividend categories (Taxable, and deferred) allowing for the capture of that part of the taxes, it was really just the addition of CG which could be added to the dividends for an estimate.

    I would be interested in your suggestion for ways to capture those CG from sales, other than the obvious capital gains report.

    As far as interface clutter I coded a project for work in VBA and ended up adding tabs, to separate different functions and keep the screen real estate to a minimum.

    You guys are great and have really made using Moneydance so much better. Thanks again.

  19. 109 Posted by dtd on 17 Dec, 2023 08:05 PM

    dtd's Avatar

    Yes, "Correct" would have been the best answer, as Stuart does want to add CG values to CB (just as he's added Cost Basis and urgains to Securities)

    But, yes, both our eyes began to glaze over when you described a full tax calculation system applicable to only one country.

  20. 110 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 08:09 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    haha, realized the error of my ways soon after posting. Was gonna edit but @Staurt had already replied and it would have made his answer look rude.

  21. 111 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 17 Dec, 2023 08:16 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    Debate is good. There is no ‘bad’ question or request.

  22. 112 Posted by dtd on 17 Dec, 2023 08:37 PM

    dtd's Avatar

    Stuart and I debate all the time - we usually end up with something better than either started with.

  23. 113 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 08:43 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    Agree, and appreciate the patience. I'm not sure if I'm happy or depressed with my ability to calculate more stuff. Hope next year brings lower costs for us all.

  24. 114 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 17 Dec, 2023 08:44 PM

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  25. 115 Posted by dtd on 17 Dec, 2023 08:59 PM

    dtd's Avatar

    Appears to be working...

    So, now you leave it going since it auto-adjusts, and hope the balance decreases over time...

  26. 116 Posted by dwg on 18 Dec, 2023 12:24 AM

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    At its core Moneydance would only be able to provide raw capital gains based on buy and sell events. The Tax laws around the world are varied, Reckon here is a localized product and it does not even try to deal with the tax laws in this space. Deferred tax on capital gains can also be handled in different ways, return of capital is one way by not being taxed at the time of receipt but reducing your cost base, and the event being reflected when the security is sold.

    I could go into the capital gains tax regime we have here but I'm sure eyes would glaze over.

    I expect capital gains will always have to be worked outside of Moneydance in some supplemental document, usually a spreadsheet.

  27. 117 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 18 Dec, 2023 02:48 PM

    robert.l.spaulding's Avatar

    Idea: Period Variables for Row Title

    <Period Name>
    <Period Year>
    <Period From Date>
    <Period To Date>

    - Auto Expenses <Period Name>
    - Taxes <Period Year>
    - Child Care <Period From Date> <Period To Date>

  28. 118 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 18 Dec, 2023 10:20 PM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar

    I do like the suggestion.

  29. 119 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 20 Dec, 2023 01:21 AM

    Stuart Beesley (Mr Toolbox)'s Avatar


    Latest PREVIEW(1042) on my site... Now with:
    - Simple Capital Gains calculations - Row name insert variables - e.g. <##rn> for row number (refer help for the list).

    @Robert - your idea is bot as simple as it would seem.. i.e. there are 4 sets of dates/ranges in the config setup per row. Anyway, see help for the variables.. NOTE: I have not done year, as which year from which of the 4 (for example), and what about when ranges are month to date or fiscal year that covers two years?)

    Anyway, I would be grateful of testing of:
    1. The capital gains calculations - do they match your MD results CG report?
    2. The new row name variables

    NOTE: I have rebuilt the internal MD CostCalculation engine to hopefully cover the known issues/inconsistencies within MD......

  30. 120 Posted by robert.l.spauld... on 20 Dec, 2023 01:03 PM

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    @Stuart Sir, you are a gentlemen and a scholar. I've been playing with this for an hour and really like what you have done. Allowing quick changes to an existing rows period without having to rename the row is great thing. Plus recycling is good for the planet..

    The capital gains is exactly the simple number I was looking for, it is .01 cents higher than the Capital Gains report, but for estimating that is fine. Not sure if this is a rounding thing or if I have something in the wrong category.

    One last challenge, for you since you obviously love what you do. Is it possible to automatically change the linked UOR period if the current row period is changed?

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