How to fix a negative cash balance

Jim Shiffrin
Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭✭
edited January 18 in Investing (Windows)
The Cash Balance in my primary investment account is a very large negative number. I've reported this before, but nobody had any idea how to fix it.

Answers

  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    You can make the problem disappear by clicking on the gear at the top right of the account and selecting Update cash balance, but generally it is better to determine what is causing the problem.

    Is the negative balance a fixed amount, or does it grow over time?

    In either case, you can click on the Holdings button in the account and change the As of date to see when the incorrect balance first appears. When you find the date, go to the transaction list and see what is recorded. Maybe you forgot to enter a deposit prior to that date or recorded a sale as a Removed transaction.  

    You can also back up your data then do a File > Validate and Repair which will sometimes fix this type of issue.

    Please let us know what you find!
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  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, that will not work. The data started going bad on 15 Aug 2013, and the number has been growing more negative since then. I've done Validate and Repair a couple of times - did not help. I just off a chat session with a Quicken rep. She had me create a new TEST data file with the Morgan Stanley account - the balance is correct. Then she had me add the account to my regular data file again, but as a new account, not linked to the existing account. The balance is correct, but the new account only has transactions going back to June 2021 (the old account goes back to August 2003). She suggested keeping the old account as an Archive and using the new one.
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Why will fixing the historic transactions not work? It may be tedious, but if you want your cost basis and performance data to be accurate, that is what you will have to do. Or if you just want things to be accurate going forward, you can just use the new account.

    Another thing to check is to make sure there are no Placeholders in the account that may be affecting your balances.

    To make Placeholders visible, go to Edit > Preferences > Investment Transactions and make sure the Show hidden transactions box is checked. 

    Placeholders will have a gray background in the account’s transaction list (register) even if they are not selected, and will have “Entry” in the Action column.

    Placeholders compensate for missing or incorrect investing transactions by forcing Quicken’s share balance for a security to match a specified value. This is usually the share count downloaded from your financial institution (FI).

    Because transactions are missing or incorrect, Quicken will not be able to compute the cost basis or performance for the affected securities. You will see asterisks in the Portfolio views for this data.

    Placeholders also prevent new transactions like Div, Bought and Sold prior to the security’s Placeholder date from affecting the account’s cash balance. This shows up as N/A in the Cash Amt column of the transaction list. To allow the cash balance to change when entering missing transactions that affect the cash balance, you must first delete the Placeholder.

      For information on resolving placeholders, please see this FAQ:

    https://community.quicken.com/discussion/7267839/quicken-faq-managing-placeholder-entries-in-quicken-for-windows

    Always back up your data file before changing historical transactions.


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  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭✭
    There are no placeholders and no incorrect amounts in the account. The cash balance (in the investment account) starting going negative in Aug 2013 and has only gotten worse over time. I just tried removing the Checking Account (saying NO in Options/General. It complained that it could not handle everything in there and left me with a (different) large negative balance in the investment account. I just restored from the latest backup and will not play with this any further! I have lived with this error for ten years after all. Thanks for trying to help.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    So, I have to ask: Why has the cash balance gone negative?  Looking at the 8/15/2013 what, exactly, was the transaction that switched the cash from positive to negative?   I assume that further movement in the negative direction also can be associated with individual transactions.  In general and in the main, what did those transactions look like?  What Action was associated with them?
  • Jim Shiffrin
    Jim Shiffrin Member ✭✭✭
    OK - I dug further. The problem actually started on 1 Apr 2013. It appears not all of my "banking" transactions (checks written on the brokerage account) are accurately reflected in the Cash Balance section of the Holdings report for the linked investment account. At this point, I do not intend to spend any more time on this issue. I can compute my net worth with a little outside math.
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