Fixing the Starting Balance Error in Loan Accounts

Are you running into this issue in your Loan account that says: "We found an error with the starting balance of this account?" This article will help!

Your Starting Balance–or the first transaction–in your Loan account is an important value that YNAB uses to estimate your debt payoff date, and the interest and time saved if you’re making extra payments.

If you delete or change the Starting Balance, or if a payment or other activity happens before the starting date, this may throw off the account’s calculations. Rather than showing you an inaccurate account balance, YNAB will ask you to fix the error by either editing the existing Starting Balance transaction, or adding a new one.

How to Fix This

  1. First, click on See Starting Balance in the error message in the Loan account. This takes you to the full list of transactions in the Loan account, sorted from oldest to newest. The next steps depend on the status of your original Starting Balance transaction. 
  2. If you deleted the Starting Balance transaction, the oldest transaction will be highlighted. (If you didn't delete it, skip to step three).
    1. Click Add Transaction.
    2. Choose the Loan account in the Account column.
    3. Change the date so that it predates the oldest transaction in the register by at least a day. 
    4. In the Payee column, type: "Starting Balance"
    5. In the Outflow column, enter the outstanding balance of the loan in that month. This should be the balance you owed before the next-most-recent transaction in the account. We'll use this new transaction as the Starting Balance. Skip to step four!
  3. If you didn't delete your Starting Balance transaction, we've highlighted it.
    1. Check if the transaction date is the oldest in the list. 
    2. If it's not the oldest, change the date of the Starting Balance to make it the oldest transaction in the register.
    3. Make sure the Outflow amount of the edited Starting Balance matches the balance for that date in the account statement from your lender. 
  4. The Starting Balance transaction's date is changed to be earlier than the oldest transaction.
  5. After correcting the Starting Balance, you might notice your Loan account balance is slightly off. If that happens, open the Loan account in YNAB and click the Update Balance button. 
  6. Follow the instructions to update the account’s balance. Once that’s done, it will be smooth sailing!
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