Error C000008E MS Money and "remainder" shares

The following was submitted by Aric TenEyck, who I am grateful is helping the community

I've been a user of MS Money for 25 years, virtually my entire adult life. Starting last week, when viewing my 'net worth over time' report, Money would crash. Every time I tried to view it, Money would think for a while, and then a message would pop up that msmoney.exe had generated error c000008e, and that Windows was shutting it down. I'd find myself back at the desktop. This same crash would happen if I tried to view other investment-related screens.

A c000008e is a divide-by-zero error. For some reason, Money is dividing a number by zero, which is an error and results in the crash. It was reproducible - every time I'd look at that graph, I'd immediately crash to the desktop.

After some research, I found the error. I had recently closed an investment account and sold all of the positions in that account. But there is a flaw in MS Money: If you own less than 0.001 shares of something, MS Money won't display it in the holdings of an account.

The account I closed was a 401(k). Every two weeks, I'd buy a few shares of some mutual fund. My transactions looked something like this:

5/1/19 Buy 2.349292 shares VGDIX
5/15/19 Buy 2.193955 shares VGDIX
5/29/19 Buy 2.249483 shares VGDIX
[My employer moved from Vanguard to Fidelity at this point]
6/12/19 Sell 108.294 shares VGDIX
6/12/19 Buy 204.295968 shares FDURX
6/26/19 Buy 3.995325 shares FDURX
7/10/19 buy 3.975929 shares FDURX
4/3/21 Sell 407.393 shares FDURX

In 2019, when my employer changed providers, I sold the number of shares that Money told me I had; I did so again in 2021 when I closed the account.

But I didn't quite sell everything. Because my purchases were specified to six decimal places and my sales were specified to three, I had a tiny position left over in the account. Viewing the account summary showed:

Positions: [none]
Cash: $0.00
Total value: $0.39

I realized that there were some positions leftover from the not-quite-complete sales. I entered some 'remove shares' transactions, entering small random numbers until the value of the account showed $0. My account now looked something like this:

4/3/21 Sell 307.393 shares FDURX
4/4/21 Remove 0.000183 shares VGDIX
4/4/21 Remove 0.000029 shares FDURX

The account still showed no positions and no cash, and also showed a total value of zero. And at this point, viewing the net-worth-over-time graph still crashed the system.

I'm glossing over the other things I did to try to solve this. Because it was over a week between closing that account and noticing the error, it took me a while to make the connection. But I was able to resolve it by doing the following:

  • In the recently-closed investment account, make sure that all positions are truly zero.
  • For each investment that has ever been in the account, add a 'Remove Shares' transaction. Edit that transaction, removing the largest number of shares that you can, until increasing it by even 0.000001 gives an error about how this transaction would give you negative shares.
  • Move those transactions into the past so that they are not the final transactions in the account, so that the account is never in the state of having only these tiny holdings in it. In my example above, I moved them from 4/4/21 to 4/2/21.
  • At this point, Money never tries to do math with these tiny amounts that round to zero, and the crash stops happening.

Category: Investment

Keywords: C000008E, Divde by Zero, Crash