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Manage U. S. savings bonds in Quicken

Note: I have confirmed that this procedure works great in Quicken 6 for Windows and Quicken Deluxe 99, both of which I own. I don't have any other versions of Quicken and (therefore) can't test that it works with them, but I don't see why it wouldn't.

To manage all of your U. S. savings bond prices in Quicken, follow these steps:

1.Download ussb.zip (57k). Unzip the file, and move ussb.csv to your C:\ directory (i.e., to C:\ussb.csv).

The reason I advocate putting the file in C:\ussb.csv is that when you tell Quicken to import prices, you will encounter a design flaw whereby Quicken will not let you "browse" to find the file. So, it's best if you save the file in an easy-to-remember place.

2.Because bond redemption values differ based on the series and date of purchase, you will need to create a different security for each date-series combination for which you have a bond. In your Quicken file, give each bond a "symbol" with the following parts:

    A. An asterisk. For earlier versions of Quicken, this told Quicken not to atttempt to download online price quotes for your bonds. In later versions of Quicken, Quicken will remove the asterisk for you; in that case, the asterisk is not necessary.
    B. The purchase year of the bond. Four digits. For example, 1999.
    C. The purchase month of the bond. Two digits. For example, 01.
    D. The bond series. For example, EE.

Examples of valid symbols:

*197708EAn E series bond bought in August 1977
*198506EEAn EE series bond bought in June 1985.
*199812IAn I series bond bought in December 1998.
*197001SAn S series bond bought in January 1970.

Quicken will only import bond values if your symbol exactly matches a symbol in ussb.csv.

3.In the investment register where you store savings bond information, make sure all bond purchases are relative to a $100 bond. (In other words, divide the face value of each bond you own by $100 to determine the "number of shares" you own.) For example,

Face value of bond"Shares"

Because most bonds are bought at less than face value, the purchase price shown will be less than face. Make sure the "share price" is shown in your register as follows.

Bond series"Price" (when purchased)

This is precisely how Quicken advocates recording bonds, although in my two versions of Quicken (6 for Windows and Quicken 99 Deluxe), the help file was written by someone who was completely incompetent. They use the example of a $1000 bond, and say that you should record 10 shares of a $100 bond -- then go on to say that you should always multiply the number of bonds you bought (of any denomination) by 10. Wrong generalization.

4.Now the fun part! Go to your portfolio, where you can see all of your securities. In the drop-down menus, go to File > File Operations > Import Prices.... Quicken will ask where the file is. Type in C:\ussb.csv. Click OK. All of your prices are updated! You're done!


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Page last updated: 1 December 2000
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