Accounting for 401k and other investments

Robert Ramsdell rcriii at
Fri Jun 23 19:16:10 EDT 2006

On Fri, 2006-06-23 at 12:25 -0400, James Roman wrote:
>  the values reported in my Account
> Summaries don't match those of publicly traded stocks or mutual funds. 
One possibility here is that your fund owns a different class of the
fund than the publicly traded one.  For example I own a fund in both my
own IRA and in an education account for my kids.  The prices are
slightly different because they are different classes (reflecting
different sales fees) of the same fund.

If this is in a 401(k) account, and you are looking at a quarterly
statement, the prices may reflect an average purchase price over the

> I
> assume the disparity between unit values of my investments and the
> publicly traded funds is due to the investment company subdividing
> ownership of the shares among all participants in the plan, so one unit
> is only a fraction of an actual share. I am unable to match up some of
> the fund choices to publicly traded mutual funds, based on the
> combination of letters that represent each fund. It is possible that
> these are fund groups that are privately owned by the investment
> company. This means I can not add these commodities into Gnucash,
> because the number of shares I own in the fund, don't match up to actual
> shares, or I can not provide a valid symbol or abbreviation.
> Ultimately, I'd like to account for my 401k and other investment
> vehicles like I would if I had a portfolio of mutual funds. I intend to
> track the prices of these sub-funds manually. I'd also like to keep
> track of how much money is going into brokerage fees for the various
> sub-funds. One option I have is to input a bogus abbreviation when
> adding the commodity. This would at least allow me to enter the
> sub-funds into gnucash, so I could track the unit prices, without
> interfering with my automatically tracked investments via
> finance::quote. 

That is what I do.  When I get my statement I manually put in the price
for each fund based on the total dollars and number of shares purchased
that period. As a matter of fact I don't mess with my 401(k) unless I
have the statement.  I let the contributions accumulate in the parent
account.  Then when I get the statement I record 'purchases' that
allocate the correct amount of money to each individual fund, and input
the shares bought as indicated on the statement.  The 'purchase' price
is whatever per-share price is required to make the sums work out.

The main downside of this is that my 401(k) value is usually 1-2 months
out-of date.  But who cares if I don't want the money for another 20-30


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