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I am an avid Quicken user, and I have pretty much every account, investment, liability, and asset tracked in it. I recently started purchasing gold and silver as an alternative, "backup" investment, and I'm not really sure how to track that in Quicken. Is there an official way to do such a thing?

When I try to add a new investment, the only options are:

  • Standard Brokerage
  • IRA or Keogh Plan
  • 401(k) or 403(b)
  • 529 Plan

I don't think any of these fit the bill for a commodity investment. None of the other account types, such as a normal savings account, really seem to have an adequate way to track the value of the commodity and adjust the balance of the account. I'm not really sure if a commodity investment works as an asset?

Is there an official way to track commodity investments in Quicken? If not, what would the best approach be?

UPDATE:

Here is more specifically what I would like to do. As I understand it, gold can be viewed as any other "stock" or "index", wherein you have shares, value, and a cost basis. I would like to create a "gold investment" account, wherein I can track the value of my gold "shares"...i.e. the actual amounts of gold I have in weight by ounces, as well as the cash value cost basis of the account. I've been trying to do this with a "standard brokerage" investment, however I have not had much luck yet (which is partly due to the fact that I can't seem to find a decent index that tracks the "USD value" of gold in ounces.) I don't need 100% accuracy, however I would like to have some basic, automatic tracking of my gold and silver investments based on an index of some kind.

One of the indexes I have looked at is the Kitco Gold Index (KGX), which aims to provide a more real-world "actual value" index of gold per ounce. This index doesn't seem to be tracked via the KGX ticker on anything that Quicken has access to, though. The normal GLD ticker does not seem to directly reflect the USD value of gold.

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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You don't need to use a real stock like GLD. You can just create a "stock" called something like "1 oz Gold" and buy and sell them as if they were shares. It won't auto-update the price like GLD, but that's not a big deal to update manually once a month or so. I prefer to have accurate data that is correct at a particular point in time to having data that is 2-3% off, or that requires entering the ounces as 10x reality. YMMV.

This is very similar to how you track US Savings Bonds in Quicken (and might be described in the help under that topic.)

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Thanks for the answer @smackfu. This is actually what I have resorted to in the last few months, as the ETF's have been diverging farther and farther from the actual gold spot price. Once you have a hefty amount of gold or silver, the divergence in price becomes too significant, and really starts affecting the numbers. Its too bad there isn't a normal stock ticker for the COMEX/GLOBEX Gold Spot Price. :'( –  jrista Jun 16 '11 at 16:52
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I would track it using a regular asset account. The same way I would track the value of a house, a car, or any other personal asset.

ETA:

If you want automatic tracking, you could set it up as a stock portfolio holding shares of the GLD ETF. One share of GLD represents 1/10 ounce of gold. So, if you have 5 ounces of gold, you would set that up in Quicken as 50 shares of GLD.

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+1 @Eric. I have done it this way in Quicken with my gold coins and it works great. –  mpenrow Aug 27 '10 at 18:59
    
An asset doesn't really provide any automatic control over the value of the account, though. I guess I could handle it manually, but I was looking for some way to have my weight in gold automatically translate into value based on current gold value indexes. Is that not possible? –  jrista Aug 27 '10 at 19:28
    
@jrista - updated with an alternative that should allow automatic tracking (and now seeing that Jim just suggested the same thing) –  Eric Petroelje Aug 30 '10 at 14:17
    
I haven't looked at that particular ETF, but some of them take their management fee by very slightly reducing the amount of gold per unit every year. (Of course this is documented up front.) So, this will get slightly inaccurate over time. Not enough to probably matter though, unless you're hitting reload far too often. :-) –  poolie Dec 3 '10 at 2:03
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If you don't need 100% accuracy then GLD and SLV will work fine. Over the long-term these converge quite nicely with the price of the metal.

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I guess SLV will work, since it is 1:1 of the value. I think GLD is 1/10th the value, though. Is here any way to factor that into the calculation in Quicken? –  jrista Aug 27 '10 at 22:38
    
Just add 10x the shares. –  Jim Aug 27 '10 at 22:47
    
Had to add 10x to the shares, and divide the cost per share by 10, to get it to come out right. Problem is, now it is inaccurate by 2-3%, and always shows a loss, as the index always seems to be lower than the actual cost of gold. :( –  jrista Aug 27 '10 at 23:06
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Consider that the transaction cost of selling your physical gold. In reality is could be more. –  Jim Aug 28 '10 at 19:26
    
I did experiment with that a bit. I also experimented with putting in the share price at what the gold price was any given day I purchased gold (at least, when I could find such information), and applied the rest as a commission fee. Generally speaking, I think there is some overhead involved in buying or selling gold in general, especially if you buy from a place like goldline.com, or buy collector coins, etc. Its balanced out pretty nicely now that I've messed with it for a couple days. –  jrista Aug 28 '10 at 22:37
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I was able to find a fairly decent index that trades very close to 1/10th the actual price of gold by the ounce. The difference may be accounted to the indexes operating cost, as it is very low, about 0.1%. The index is the ETFS Gold Trust index (SGOL).

By using the SGOL index, along with a Standard Brokerage investment account, I was able to set up an investment that appropriately tracked my gold "shares" as 10x their weight in ounces, the share cost as 1/10th the value of a gold ounce at the time of purchase, and the original cost at time of purchase as the cost basis. There tends to be a 0.1% loss every time I enter a transaction, I'm assuming due to the index value difference against the actual spot value of the price of gold for any day, probably due to their operating costs.

This solution should work pretty well, as this particular index closely follows the gold price, and should reflect an investment in gold over a long term very well. It is not 100% accurate, but it is accurate enough that you don't lose 2-3% every time you enter a new transaction, which would skew long-term results with regular purchases by a fair amount.

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