When I set up a trading account for a USD stock, gnucash diligently added
transactions in the trading account for the stock and for USD. The stock
trading account simply tracks the number of shares in the account (which is
what the asset account for the stock already does). The USD trading account
shows the amount spent or received. So the trading USD account shows dollar
amounts for all stock transactions in USD. I did not see a way to set up
trading accounts for the currency side of each stock separately, but there
may well be a way.

When I sell a security I post a debit to the checking account the money
goes into, a credit to the security at the PURCHASE price. The remaining
out of balance amount is the capital gain (loss). That is pretty simple.

For a traditional IRA, I post dividends to an Income:Deferred IRA:FB
account. The income is not taxable in the current year, and at year-end I
will close it to equity. But its nice to know. No need really to track your
basis since it is all taxed as ordinary income when distributed. If you
want to keep IRA out of "income" you could just as well post the dividend
to an Equity:Deferred Income account. Then when you take a distribution you
can debit Equity:Deferred Income and credit Income:IRA Distribution.



On Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 4:57 PM, Stan Brown <the_stan_br...@fastmail.fm>

> On 2018-02-21 12:00, Keith Bellairs wrote:
> > In the end I do not see that I get anything from using trading accounts.
> I
> > can see that they would be useful for currency if I had to track the
> > exchange rate on every foreign currency transaction. But the IRS lets me
> > use an average rate for my CDN income(expense).
> >
> > Am I using trading accounts wrong?
> I'm kind of wondering what they could do for me, and you've fueled my
> doubts.
> I have three Vanguard accounts (taxable, Roth IRA, and traditional IRA)
> and a company 401(k) to which I'm currently contributing.
> The 401(k) has "fake funds" -- they're not traded on any exchange, or if
> they are then the customer service rep couldn't give me valid ticket
> symbols. So I have to keep track of that myself and post realized gains
> or losses in dollars, not shares.
> The Vanguard funds are all invested in subsets of the same about eight
> mutual funds -- for instance, all three have VTI and VXUS, and two have
> BND -- so GnuCash could look up values there. But I'm not clear on what
> that would buy me, with my "set it and forget it" portfolio.
> For the two IRAs I don't need to do any tax accounting: the Roth is tax
> free and any withdrawal from the traditional will be ordinary income.
> The taxable account has just two Vanguard funds in it, and that's not
> going to change. But since dividends are reinvested automatically, every
> month there are purchases of fractional shares, which I'd have to tell
> GnuCash about. Is that worth it, or am I better off to stick with the
> spreadsheet I've already developed, and just make one-off entries in
> GnuCash, in dollars not shares, when I buy or sell (which will be rarely)?
> --
> Regards,
> Stan Brown
> Tompkins County, New York, USA
> http://BrownMath.com
> http://OakRoadSystems.com
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