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73 Accounts and Counting

Contributed by mm | May 15, 2005 1:24 AM PST

I mentioned in my previous post that I have Microsoft Money managing more than 70 accounts. It might sound like a lot, but I have to say it is not excessive, and I don't find it to be difficult to manage all these accounts.

At the end of this post, I will share the breakdown of my 70-some accounts. But before jumping to the details, let me first

First, I did accumulate more credit card accounts and banking accounts like normal people do. If you follow my blog long enough, you will realize I am very eager to try out new products and take advantage of fantastic deals (believe me, there are a lot in the personal finance world).

Second, a large number of my accounts are employment-related, like ESPP, Stock Option and Flexible Spending Accounts. Plus, as a double-income family, we are talking about two complete sets of such accounts.

Third, some of these accounts have been closed. I understand over time, some accounts are no longer useful to me, so I selectively closed some of them. They still live in my Microsoft Money file as part of my financial history.

(One caveat: in Microsoft Money, each investment account is actually tracked as two separate accounts: one to track investment positions, and the other to track associated cash balance. Therefore, in reality, my Money file is approaching the 100th account now.)

Now, let me reveal the breakdown of my 73 accounts. How many accounts do you have?

Banking Accounts     Assets  
Checking 2   House 1
Saving 6   Car 2
PayPal 2      
Saving Bonds 2   Other Accounts  
    Cash 2
Investment Accounts     Mortgage Escrow 1
401(k) 2   Installments 1
Brokerage 5   "Uncashed Checks" 1
Roth IRA 2   "Payment Adjustment" 1
    Tax Liability - Floating 1
Loans     Tax Liability - Incurred 1
Credit Card 18      
HELOC 1   Closed Accounts  
Mortgage 1   Mortgage 1
    Credit Card 4
Employment Related Accounts     Car 1
Flexible Spending - Dependent Care 2   Banking 5
Flexible Spending - Health Care 2      
ESPP 2      
Corporate Credit Card 2      
Stock Option 2   Total 73

This Post Has Received 26 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Jonathan@MyMoneyBlog Commented on May 15, 2005

18 credit cards! I'm not there yet, but two more are in the mail ;)


Tim Commented on May 15, 2005

18 credit cards... Are you serious? How many of them do you actually use?


nickel Commented on May 16, 2005

I've never bothered tracking my PayPal account because I don't carry a balance. If it's income, it gets transferred straight into my bank account where I record it. If it's outgoing money, it pays through PayPal instantaneously, so it just gets reported as a charge to whomever in my credit card account.

With regard to older (closed) accounts, I use Quicken's "hide" feature. Thus, all the data are still there, but the existence of these older accounts doesn't clutter up the interface. Not sure if Money allows this, but I find it indispensable. After all, I've been tracking everything since January 1, 1997. I have 14 active accounts and 25 hidden accounts that I've long since closed. Keep in mind here that I always used to track my credit cards as split check payments, with the line by line payee info tracked in the split, rather than in a separate account, so that has kept the historical number artificially low. I've now switched to creating accounts for each credit card.

By the way, how exactly do you use you 'payment adjustment' account?
--
fivecentnickel.com


mm Commented on May 16, 2005

Thank you for the comment, nickel!

PayPal: I use PayPal a lot, paying for eBay items and receiving some ad income. I don't clear the balance to my bank account every time as it will be too much work. BTW, PayPal pays good interest rate too.

Closed Accounts: Yes, Money can hide closed accounts too. I'm more talking in the context of offline reports (http://www.pfblog.com/archives/2223_my_offline_excel_models_1_monthly_snapshot.shtml). You still need to include closed accounts to show fair year-over-year comparison.

"Payment Adjustment" is a virtual account that helps me to reconcile some transactions (rebates, product returns, insurance claims, etc.) Think about it as a "Payable/Receivable" account.


Wes Commented on May 16, 2005

I was curious as to how many I had so I just had to count!

1 Asset
4 Bank
6 Credit Cards
2 Investment
4 Liability
5 Retirement
3 Savings
56 Inactive
=============
81 total

Notes: This is since 1992. My wife and I don't track our cars as assets in Quicken nor do we have our savings bonds in there. If we wanted an accurate balance sheet we would. Also, I didn't count the "cash" accounts that go along with the stock trading accounts.


-wes


Glyn Simpson Commented on May 16, 2005

I thought that was a lot of accounts, so I counted mine. It surprised me to see 35 inactive accounts (11 of which were loans - mortgage and car loans) and 20 active ones (3 Credit cards, 3 asset accounts, 6 investment accounts, 3 cash, 1 savings, 2 checking and 2 other cash based 'dummy' accounts).

THis is from 1990, which is when I ceased being a student and started working.


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