Register Cash Balance meaningless for me

wa1oui's Avatar


09 Oct, 2017 03:42 PM

I have just set up an investment account, downloading the last 18 months from the company and hand entering the previous amount. The register shows a negative cash balance. What does this mean? I have no cash balance in the account as it is all in shares. Is there any easy way to 0 out the cash balance, and keep it at 0?

  1. 1 Posted by -Kevin N. on 09 Oct, 2017 06:00 PM

    -Kevin N.'s Avatar

    Hi wa1oui,

    Is there any easy way to 0 out the cash balance, and keep it at 0?

    The easiest way to zero out the cash balance is to enter a positive 'Initial Balance' equal to the amount of the negative balance.

    To do so, open Moneydance to the account in question.
    From the menu bar, go to Account > Edit Account.
    In the resulting form, you can enter/edit the 'Initial Balance'.

    Keeping the cash balance at zero would require that there is no further activity in the account.
    Any further BUY transactions would result in a negative balance unless the required funds are first transferred into that account.
    Any further SELL or DIV transactions would result in a positive balance until the funds are either transferred out of the account or reinvested in the account's holdings.

    -Kevin N. (not a member of MD support)

  2. 2 Posted by David Kaplan on 09 Oct, 2017 06:10 PM

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    Hi Kevin,

    I sort of figured that might be the case. The problem is that the account reinvests dividends. Yes there is actually cash transferred from the dividend to buy the new shares, but it’s really transparent. Just as if the source of the original buy is not in MD.

    There ought to be some sort of option to not have the cash balance in the register. I can see how useful it could be if someone wanted it, but it’s annoying. Since I will be downloading each transaction automatically that means I have to manually enter an offsetting transaction each time for the cash amount… not fun.

  3. 3 Posted by dwg on 10 Oct, 2017 09:47 PM

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    This type of transaction should be downloading as either a Dividend Reinvestment transaction or as a combination of a Dividend and a Buy transaction

    Even though you are reinvesting the Dividend it is still assumed that is paid to you and so categorized as a Dividend transaction. The only real differences between this transaction and receiving the Dividend and buying new shares yourself is that it is done for you, of course there are often other benefits like nil brokerage and perhaps a discount form market price for the purchase.

  4. 4 Posted by David Kaplan on 10 Oct, 2017 09:57 PM

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    The problem is they download as a DivReinvest only, no split into dividend and buy. This means I have to add a separate transaction for each download.

    In addition for manually added transactions I have double the effort if I want the balance to be $0. This would be great if I WANTED to connect a bank account to Investments, but given my situation, which is probably very common, I have to ignore meaningless amounts in the column.

    It would be nice if there was an option to hide the column AND delete the row for cash balance in the Portfolio view, as it gives a meaningless total...

  5. 5 Posted by dwg on 10 Oct, 2017 10:09 PM

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    A proper dividend reinvestment should have the correct action code. This transaction type is a combined dividend and buy transaction in one and should result in a zero effect to the cash balance, there is no need for a split transaction

    Try entering one by hand and you should see what I mean, if it is not working this way perhaps posting a screen image may help

  6. 6 Posted by David Kaplan on 10 Oct, 2017 10:15 PM

    David Kaplan's Avatar


    Thank you thank you thank you.

    The DivReinvest are being downloaded/entered correctly.

    I had manually entered Buy transactions to build up history. I changed them to BuyXfr and the cash balance remains 0.

    Did I say thank you?

  7. 7 Posted by dwg on 10 Oct, 2017 10:24 PM

    dwg's Avatar

    You are very welcome

    Ahh just entering buy transaction will have that effect unless you use the initial balance too offset it. A buyX of course has to pull the money from an another account or a category

  8. 8 Posted by wa1oui on 10 Oct, 2017 10:28 PM

    wa1oui's Avatar

    I'm not following your comments. I start out with a Buy of $10, and that makes the cash balance -$10. If I do a BuyXfr the cash balance remains 0, and doesn't seem to need a transfer account to work, and gives the register the look I want.

  9. 9 Posted by -Kevin N. on 10 Oct, 2017 10:29 PM

    -Kevin N.'s Avatar

    Hi David,

    I see the Des (dwg) has already replied while I was composing my response. Hi Des.

    As Des stated a DivReinvest transaction should have no effect on the Cash Balance column.

    I included a screenshot illustrating as such.

    -Kevin N. (not a member of MD support)

  10. 10 Posted by David Kaplan on 10 Oct, 2017 10:33 PM

    David Kaplan's Avatar

    DivReinvest works great, I had been having problems with Buy.

    If I used Buy for a $10 transaction, it would put -$10 in the cash balance.

    If I used BuyXfr it would put $0 in the balance which is what I wanted. I have not yet seen a downside to doing this without an xfr.


  11. 11 Posted by dwg on 10 Oct, 2017 10:40 PM

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    A buyX should make the transfer field active and it should not allow you to save the transaction until this field i completed.

    What did you enter in this field?

    This field is the account/category that the funds were drawn from.

    Hi Kevin

  12. 12 Posted by David Kaplan on 10 Oct, 2017 10:44 PM

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    What you say makes sense, and that’s why I didn’t let the issue drop. For normal transactions I just use a placeholder category of “Stock Transaction”. Somehow the BuyX is filling that in the transaction instead of the another account, and it seems happy.


  13. 13 Posted by -Kevin N. on 10 Oct, 2017 10:49 PM

    -Kevin N.'s Avatar

    Again Des has beaten me to the punch. :)

    You may be better served editing the 'Initial Balance' to cover the cost of the Buy / BuyXfr transaction(s) rather than debiting a fictitious category.

    -Kevin N.

  14. 14 Posted by David Kaplan on 10 Oct, 2017 10:53 PM

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    What is the downside of the fictitious category. One part of me agrees with you that it is more transparent if there is a separate offsetting entry, but is there a problem without it?

    All I really want to do is just keep track of the number of shares and dollars spent, which this seems to do.

    I’ve used MD for years with just checking/savings/cards but wanted to see investment tracking might offer.


  15. 15 Posted by -Kevin N. on 10 Oct, 2017 11:08 PM

    -Kevin N.'s Avatar

    Hi David,

    What is the downside of the fictitious category.

    TBH, I'm not sure. I've never tried your method. It never dawned on me to do anything other than edit the 'Initial Balance'.

    I suppose that it might effect your overall net worth reporting but as a 'category' it might not. This is hurting my head. :)

    ...keep track of the number of shares and dollars spent,...

    Cost basis reporting should cover that for you.

    If you DO come across a downside to your use of a fictitious category, please post back with your findings so that we can put this to bed. OK?

    -Kevin N.

  16. 16 Posted by David Kaplan on 10 Oct, 2017 11:10 PM

    David Kaplan's Avatar

    Certainly will post back, but let’s hope I don’t find a problem!

    Thanks to you and dwg for your help.

  17. 17 Posted by dwg on 10 Oct, 2017 11:25 PM

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    There is no downside that I can think of to using a category. When I migrated from Reckon to Moneydance There was a bit of both approaches in my data.

    I decided to move to the initial balance method as it was neater and cleaner, I could get rid of any categories that were created for initial balance purposes only and get rid of the transfers.


  18. System closed this discussion on 09 Jan, 2018 11:30 PM.

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