Shares & Price

Enter the number of shares when each ticker is entered or at any time afterward. Fractional shares are allowed, although the example has only integral values. Prices (i.e., quotes) can be entered manually or obtained from online sources. Value is calculated automatically. The table looks straightforward, but there are some subtle features that warrant explanation.

Shares Price

The total account value appears below the Value column. This is the sum of all assets held in the account or in the entire portfolio depending on what view is selected. The total (89,802) excludes assets that have been sold, DJP and VIG in the example.

By default, the value column displays the value for each lot (i.e., shares times price). A main menu view option is available to show the percentage of the lot for the selected account. In addition, a view option provides for the value column to display the "plan value" or "plan percentage." The plan view reflects the expected values or percentages assuming that all proposed trades are executed. Percentages are not displayed for lots that have been sold. This view option was introduced in version 1.1. See the Tips & Tricks section for additional details.

Update prices by clicking on the header bar above the "Shares Price Value" columns. This requires an internet connection. The date of the most recent update is displayed in the header.  Price quotes are available assuming that the ticker corresponds to a listed security on a major stock exchange. Warnings are issued if a ticker cannot be found. The price update is done for all listed assets in held in the portfolio, not just the assets in the selected account.

Prices for shares that have been sold are not updated. The price of an asset marked as sold must be entered manually. Do this to accurately reflect the actual sale price which is used for the realized capital gain calculation.

Prices for unlisted assets must be entered manually. See Ticker Symbols to learn about unlisted assets. Briefly, the ticker symbol for an unlisted asset must contain an asterisk ( * ).

Prices for bonds (not bond funds) require special attention since they are often quoted relative to par value. Bond quotes are a percentage of par. A quote of 102.34 for a bond with $1,000 par actually means that one bond is priced at $1023.40. The shares entry should be the number of bonds and the price entry would be 1023.40 in this example. Bonds will almost always require manual entry.

See Tax Lots to learn about entering shares and prices for individual tax lots.

Tips & Tricks

It is perfectly valid to enter zero for the number of shares. Use this to give the Balancing Act "permission" to buy the asset during rebalancing

An asset will be considered part of the account if the date sold is in the future.  You might do this, for example, to make note of the maturity date on a bond or CD.  Use this feature with caution, since it can be confusing.

You may remove shares that have been sold. The only caveat is that shares sold at a loss in a taxable account are relevant for 30 days following the sale. Failure to keep track of these could result in an inadvertent wash sale violation.

The Value column view option (actual value, plan value, actual percentage, plan percentage) is helpful when a portfolio is composed of multiple accounts. This gives added insight into the portfolio. The ability to see the "plan percentage" is especially useful for some Fidelity accounts (possibly other custodians). Rebalancing this type of account is trivial when the portfolio is made up of a single account. With multiple accounts (e.g. one that requires percentages and one that supports explicit trades), additional calculations are required. To rebalance a multi-account portfolio, simply specify percentages or actual trades depending on each account requirement. (This feature was introduced in version 1.1) 

Keeping sales records up-to-date means that Balancing Act can give you a quick view of realized gains and losses. This is especially useful if you have more than one taxable account. It is also useful in tax advantaged accounts when you simply want a quick look at investment performance on an individual asset basis.