Explain negative balance in my 401k account ?

Unknown Member
edited January 2019 in Investing (Windows)
Hello all.

As will probably be determined I am quite ignorant to this
topic and at first made a really long question out of this, but in the interest
of making this a little simpler I tried to make it as short as possible....so why does Quicken in my 401k investment
registry not show the actual value or total amount of worth of the account like
it does for all the other accounts I have, so that in general I can get a complete
picture of not only how much this account is worth, but in total when looking
at all my accounts together how much I am worth?

Note just to add, I have imported the transaction info that
was put into the Quicken 401k account registry from a .QIF file I downloaded designed
for just this purpose from the brokerage houses website, so I don't think this
is a matter of the incorrect info being put in although I suppose that could be the case.

Simply put for any possible option of a say a contribution
(or Buy as it would be in Quicken), there is the Price per share box, then the
number of Shares you bought box, then the amount is basically calculated for you
into the Amount box, which btw all matches what the brokerages online info shows...but when you finally hit enter and you look at its Cash
Balance for that transaction and as well for the totaled amount at the bottom,
they are all negative numbers.

An in a second odd part to that, it only shows for the
"Market Value" at the bottom what was made or lost per the
transactions, and not its full value. As well with that, when I look at the full list of all my accounts, it just shows that same number and not the total value of whats in the account and or is adding that to the full list so I see a complete picture of all I am worth.

So am I doing something wrong?


Thanks for any help.


  • markus1957
    markus1957 SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    edited January 2019
    Regarding negative cash balance, often times in 401k accounts, the employer contribution is not part of the download. So you are purchasing shares with no money in the account. I would start looking there.  Quicken sort of expects that you have a Paycheck Reminder set up that directs a portion of each paycheck to your 401k via a transfer to the 401k account. If you don't have a paycheck reminder set up to receive your paychecks, look there next.
  • Unknown
    Unknown Member
    edited March 2018

    Yeah, oddly I think I figured it out, or at least figured out
    a way top get it to be the way I wanted it to be.

    Basically is near what you said I think and for how I
    figured this out more was by using the "Form" option of the button group to the left
    that reads "Enter/Edit/Form" under the input lines of each

    For a odd point on that when you are first beginning to
    input info for a transaction via what ever parts you can put it, the
    "Form" part of that group of 3 is lighted out and not available until
    after you have completed everything and hit Enter...which seems stupid to have
    it that way but what do I know.

    So once I glanced into that I could see one part to it is (2)
    possibilities of where to get the money from for this transaction within Quicken
    and (1) for just a deposit share only and so sorta like you said, natively it
    is looking for a place to get that from and since it seems to default to the
    one called "Yes, From My Cash Balance" unless you provide something
    else and via this form as I don't see another way, it comes up negative as that
    seems to be looking to get this for the Cash Balance of the 401k account.

    In other words and I would not have thought that they would
    have setup up a 401k account option like this, but its almost like any other
    account where it expects a positive balance first, then if you buy something using
    that account it subtracts from that. Or even to say as like a Credit Card
    account where its just all negative with a purchase.

    So basically as I never started with any raw cash balance (nor
    would be adding any along the way) into the account it just kept producing
    negatives such as if I did the same with a checking account and started writing

    Anyway, for the solution there was a couple such as after
    the file import I used that form at each transaction and switch it to the Deposit
    Share Only option, which interestingly changed the transaction action type from Buy or Sell to shares in or
    out, or another way was to input the info myself and from the start and use
    the shares in or out as a action, or another was to open the file I down loaded
    and change it there (with btw using the right Quicken spelled code of ShrsIn or ShrsOut to replace).

    So once this was all done it worked right.

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