Addendum: Project Years of Expenses With Quicken for Mac

Nerd Alert!  This is one of my secret hacks for long-term financial planning.  It’s definitely a little technical and not necessary.

By default, Quicken for Mac only has options to show you future transactions which will occur within the next year.  However, it’s possible to edit one of the settings directly and see your scheduled transactions for as long as you want.  This is extremely helpful as sometimes decisions you make in the near term have a profound effect when projected out over the long run.  If you spend $1000 now, even though you have it to spare, might you end up going negative two years from now?  Or perhaps your savings rate is too low, and you’ll have far too much cash in your checking account two years from now, and you should really increase your automatic investments.

I poked around in my Quicken for Mac data file and found that all the transactions, accounts, and their settings are stored in a SQLite database.  It goes without saying that you should back up your file if you decide to try anything like this.

  1. You’ll need a SQLite database editor like SQLite Browser.
  2. Make sure you have exited Quicken completely.
  3. Find your .quicken2015 file and right-click it to bring up the context menu.
  4. Select “Show Package Contents.”
  5. In the directory that is opened, right-click the file called “data.”
  6. Select “Open With…” then “Other…”
  7. Find SQLite Browser in the file browser that appears, then click “Open.”
  8. Switch to the “Browse Data” tab.
  9. Table “ZACCOUNT” is probably already selected, but if not, select it from the Table dropdown.
  10. Find the column “ZNAME” and figure out which row corresponds to the account you want to project far into the future.
  11. For that row, scroll right and left until you find the column called “ZSCHEDULELOOKAHEADDAYS.”  Double click on the value for the account you want to edit.
  12. Change the value to the number of days you want to look ahead.  So, two years would be 730, etc.  Keep in mind that if you have a lot of scheduled transactions, Quicken will have to work a lot harder if you make this too large, so you want to select a happy medium.  I have a lot of such transactions, and 730 days seems to work fairly well.  Click “OK” when done editing the value.
  13. Return to Quicken, open your data file, and you should now see scheduled transactions for your custom value.

 

Again, and I cannot stress this enough:  back up your data file before attempting anything like this.  I am not responsible if you manage to lose data, even though this is a very simple tweak.

One thought on “Addendum: Project Years of Expenses With Quicken for Mac

  1. Pingback: Tracking Expenses: Five Minutes to Wealth

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