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Zero Cash Balance in a Register was Black, Now it's Red.

I've been going through my 401(k) account where payroll contributions are transferred in from my paycheck and then securities are purchased with this funds. Each time I end up with a zero cash balance after the securities are purchased, as expected.

However, I've noticed that initially those zero balances were black and positive (0.00), but now they are red and negative (-0.00). It doesn't really effect anything, but I was just wondering if anyone knows why the zero balances are negative.


  • Chris_QPWChris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    My guess would be because the amount isn't exactly zero, but because of the rounding you can't see it.

    As in the "real numbers" are like:
    (I'm using the latest Quicken subscription version)
  • SitalSital Member ✭✭
    Thanks for responding. I wondered if that might be the case, but that seems like strange behavior for currency. Plus, I tried adding various small cash balances to see if that was the case and the balance either stayed at -0.00 or jumped to 0.01.
  • Chris_QPWChris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I can guarantee you that Quicken isn't storing the numbers in "currency" units/variables.  They would be stored in C/C++ double variables, which have a much higher precision than two decimal digits, but are also prone to various "rounding problems".

    The problem wouldn't come up in a bank account where all the numbers are to two decimal points and all you are doing is adding and subtracting.

    The problem comes up from the fractional shares and the calculations you have to make.  If I purchase 15 shares at 11.1232 per share my cost is 166.848, but of course we don't purchase anything in hundredths of a dollar.  It is these kinds of calculations that start you on the path of having rounding problem.

    In truth they probably should truncate the value to two digits after the decimal point before displaying it so that it doesn't behave like this.
    (I'm using the latest Quicken subscription version)
  • SitalSital Member ✭✭
    Yes, I realize the calculations are done to a much higher precision that two decimal points. I guess my mistake was assuming that the results were then truncated as you mentioned. That just seems like common sense to me. In any event it's not a big deal.
  • Chris_QPWChris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I agree, I doubt there is anyone would find -0.00 "normal".
    (I'm using the latest Quicken subscription version)
This discussion has been closed.