Four Questions / Problems From a Newbie

steve's Avatar


10 Jan, 2010 08:19 PM

While I am new to Moneydance, I have used personal finance software since the mid-80's - first Managing Your Money and then Money. With the demise of Money and my purchase of a Mac 2 years ago, I am moving to Moneydance. Since my past data structure was dated and I have had disastrous results trying to import data files in the past, I have elected to rebuild everything from scratch with a starting point for bank accounts of the last date that statements reconciled, but full history on investments (a lot of work). So, if you will pardon the pun, I am heavily "invested" in Moneydance. My methodology is to run Moneydance and Money in the same Windows partition of my Mac until I have recreated everything I need from Money and then move the data file to the Mac partiition to run in Moneydance there. Mac OS is Snow Leopard, Windows is Vista and I'm using Moneydance 2010.
Problem #1: As soon as installed Moneydance in Windows, I could no longer do Web downloads into Money. Internet Explorer could only download the B of A transactions as a Moneydance file. Nice for Moneydance, but not so nice if you're trying to run the two apps in parallel doing double entry for a while.
Problem #2: As mentioned before, all investment security transaction are being re-entered from original purchase date. I am entering the purchases as "BuyXFr" and the category as "Initial Holdings" as is suggested elsewhere on this site. But what about historical dividends, interest payments and dividend reinvests? If I use the "BuyXfr" action and "Initial Holdings" category, won't it distort financial performance information in Moneydance for each security? It seems these are to be used only for historical security purchases
Problem #3: I have had quite a few "DivReinvest" transactions. As usual, I enter the number of shares, price per share, and total dollar value in your transaction form. It correctly has no impact on cash balance in the register, but these are substantially distorting my "cost basis" in Moneydance. It seems to think these were stock purchases, resulting in a much higher cost basis than I really have.
Problem #4: Even though I don't want my securities shown on my home page and have left the appropriate box unchecked, they still are showing up there, periodically. I can't seem to figure out why this is happening only some of the time and what triggers it.

Finally, three apologies:
For the lack of specificity in the subject line.
For the length of this.
For the possible repetition if these are answered elsewhere (I did look), or if I'm simply not smart enough to figure out the obvious answer.


  1. 1 Posted by ljb on 10 Jan, 2010 10:51 PM

    ljb's Avatar

    I'll try the easy one... (4) securities shown on home page. I'm pretty sure this check-box only affects the "Stock Prices" section of your home page. (Not to be confused with the side-bar.) The "stock prices" section can be enabled or disabled under File > Preferences.

    Securities always show up under an investment account on the home page, if the account currently holds any of those securities. If the security is added to the account, but you don't own any shares, it won't show up. Of course, the securities are only seen under the account if the account is "expanded" by clicking on the + sign before the account name. MD should remember which ones are expanded when you save and restart.

    If this isn't what you are seeing, more details would help.

  2. 2 Posted by steve on 11 Jan, 2010 12:22 AM

    steve's Avatar

    Got it, ljb. You appear to be right. Thanks!

  3. 3 Posted by Randy on 11 Jan, 2010 01:06 AM

    Randy's Avatar

    I believe that #1 is because when you installed Moneydance, there is a screen where you have to uncheck a box to keep Moneydance from being the default for QIF files. I am guessing that your Money downloads are QIF files, so the default got changed when you installed Moneydance.

    Having said that, I can't think of any way to fix it, other than uninstalling Moneydance (which will put the default for QIF files back to Money hopefully), then reinstalling Moneydance, this time being careful not to check the box to make it the default for anything other than .MD files.

  4. 4 Posted by ljb on 11 Jan, 2010 03:11 AM

    ljb's Avatar

    While that would affect what application opens for QIF files, I can't see how that would change what gets downloaded. He said B of A will only download MD files? Wait, no that can't be true, maybe he does mean it downloads QIF then opens in MD. OK, if that's it, he just needs to reset the file assocation. Several ways to do that, such as using right-click Open With instead of Open on the QIF file, pick the application you want and check Always Open With... Or go into Windows Explorer, File Types and change it there.

  5. 5 Posted by Ben Spencer on 11 Jan, 2010 02:12 PM

    Ben Spencer's Avatar

    Hi Steve

    With regard to #3 it is my understanding that each div reinvest should be considered a purchase and have an affect on your cost basis for tax purposes accordingly. The Advantage of div reinvest is that you usually don't have to pay the brokerage fees however it is still a purchase of new stocke and you have to keep track of it as a purchse to quote wikipedia

    "A downside of using DRIPs is that the investor must keep track of cost basis for many small purchases of stock, and maintain records of these purchases in paper or electronic form. This assures that the investor can accurately calculate the capital gains tax when any shares are sold, and document cost basis to their government if requested."

    Here is a link to the wikipedia article on Dividend reinvestment:


    Ben Spencer

  6. 6 Posted by steve on 11 Jan, 2010 08:48 PM

    steve's Avatar

    OK, first, thanks to all of you for your help. In all of the years I've had computers, this is the first time I've used a forum. I normally try to figure things out by myself.
    Problem #1: My terminology probably could have been better. When I'm in Money and try to download a 4 digit QIF file from the B of A web site, I get a file download box that identifies the file as "stmt_y4.qif" with the type "Moneydance Data". I tried uninstalling Moneydance and still got the same result. I want to be able to download the info to Moneydance, so I did check QIF (in fact all of the file formats) during the MD install and that works fine. Well sort of, but that's another subject. But I also want to be able to download the info into Money, and that's the problem. As ljb suggests this is probably a file association problem. I could change it so it works with Money and keep changing back and forth between MD and Money, but I guess I'll leave it the way it is and hope that I will soon be working solely in Moneydance.
    Problem #2: I've figured some of this out. I can use "DivXfer" and "Initial Holdings" for Dividends and putting historical dividend reinvests in "Initial Holdings" doesn't seem to effect the reporting in "security details", but I can't seem to find anything like "IntXfer" for bond interest payments. As painful as all of this is to do on historical transactions, I'm trying to enter all of them on the assumption that somewhere in MD there is an analytical / reporting capability to evaluate performance by security; things like overall gain (including dividends, interest, div reinvest, market value, etc.), total return, annual return, price appreciation, income, etc. - all available in Money. Are these somewhere in Moneydance? I haven't had a lot of time to explore the reports.
    Problem #3: Ben nailed this one. Up until I started this process, I never payed much attention to this because these are in an IRA, but I checked with an accountant and dividend reinvests would normally be included in cost basis.
    Problem #4: Solved thanks to ljb.

  7. 7 Posted by Ben Spencer on 12 Jan, 2010 09:18 PM

    Ben Spencer's Avatar

    While not included in the standard reports there is a free extension for Moneydance called "Profit Calculator" This extension will show the following summary info on each security:

    Balance of Shares, Total/Profit/Loss, Annualized Return, Realized Profit/Loss, Unrealized Profit/Loss, Dividend earned, Current value, Current price, Holding Price, Avg Purchase price, Avg sale price.

    You can install this extension by selecting Extensions->Add, Click next, select "Investment profit Calculator" from the list and click next. Once installed a new item called "Profit calculator" will be added to the extensions menu.


    Ben Spencer

  8. 8 Posted by steve on 12 Jan, 2010 09:43 PM

    steve's Avatar

    Got it Ben, and thanks. This leaves me with the remaining question concerning the correct action to use for interest payments, either historical for which I would have thought there would be an "Intxfer" action to transfer to the initial holdings catchall, or for current interest payments for which I can find no "Int" action.

  9. 9 Posted by ljb on 12 Jan, 2010 10:20 PM

    ljb's Avatar

    For an investment account, type 'xfr' is used for any expense or income that is not associated with a security. That includes interest paid on a 'sweep' or 'cash balance' amount, or an account maintenance fee.

    For initial holdings, you can of course just set the Initial Balance for the account, which becomes the cash balance before the first transaction.

Comments are currently closed for this discussion. You can start a new one.

Keyboard shortcuts


? Show this help
ESC Blurs the current field

Comment Form

r Focus the comment reply box
^ + ↩ Submit the comment

You can use Command ⌘ instead of Control ^ on Mac