Refresher Course on Rounding (for Non-Math Types)

Refresher Course on Rounding (for Non-Math Types)

The demise of the penny gave us all a refresher course on rounding.

Most of us know that one to four rounds down and five to nine rounds up, but there can be some surprising pitfalls when dealing with the kinds of numbers that are common in financial services marketing, especially in commentaries and reports.

Let’s get to the bottom of this.

How to round

A common rounding task is to express large monetary units in words instead of numerals. For example, $1,000,000 is often written as $1 million (or $1.0 million, depending on your style) in tables and copy. Depending on the context, you may want to highlight that the figure is approximate.

The key to rounding is to do it once only – looking only to the number just to the right of the last desired digit to determine whether/what rounding is needed.

If your style calls for numbers rounded to one decimal place ($x.x), then you would round the following amounts as follows:

  • $7,576,000 becomes $7.6 million – 7 rounds up to 6. Don’t be tempted to keep going and round again to $8.0 million.
  • $1,986,000 becomes $2.0 million – 8 rounds 9 up to 10, causing 1 to become 2. This is the only situation in which rounding affects a second column.
  • $4,746,000 becomes $4.7 million – 4 leaves 7 rounded down to 7. If you start rounding too early, with 6 rounding up 4, then you’ll arrive at $4.8, which is incorrect.

Another rounding rule to watch for

You cannot “unround” figures.

If you have a return of 7.6%, but your style calls for two decimal places, then you need to go back to the source, rather than simply adding a zero to the end (7.60% might be incorrect). In this example, the correct figure could be anything from 7.55% to 7.64%.

That concludes our rounding lesson for non-math types. Hope you enjoyed it!

Andrew Broadhead
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Andrew Broadhead is Communications Manager at Ext. Marketing Inc., where he creates content that helps financial services firms engage their customers and prospects. Andrew’ ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: May 22-26

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: May 22-26

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, May 22-26, 2017 

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Capturing the Attention of Millennials: Be Relevant and Digital

I know Gen Y are stereotyped as being transient, digital natives who are impossible to capture, but that is just the world we live in today. Technology has caused a proliferation of advancements and the financial services industry is (or should be) feeling the pressure ... — Missy Pohlig

2. Factor in a Smarter Approach to ETFs

Combining an alternatively-weighted index with a multi-factor stock screening process can diversify uncompensated risk, potentially leading to less volatility in down markets and an overall smoother experience for investors. But what are factors and why should they be a major consideration for every ETF investor? — J.P. Morgan Asset Management

3.  Don't MAKE the List ... DO the List

There is something gratifying about jotting down all the things you need to do. It quenches one’s thirst for being organized and for wanting some control over one’s life generally complicated by too many things to do with insufficient time and financial resources to do them. — Roy Osing

4. Smart Financial Advice for Those New College Graduates

College graduation is a time of celebration and pride. It’s also a time of significant financial transitions—for new graduates as well as their parents. As an advisor, this is a great opportunity to connect with your NextGen clients to help them make smart decisions that position them for greater financial success throughout their working lives and even into retirement. — Laura McCarron

5. Advisors: Why You Need to Show off Your Bench

Let your prospects see what working with you will be like, including exactly who will be holding their hand along the way. — Paul Kingsman

6. Why Investors Should Have Confidence in the Future of Investment Management

How should investors feel with all the advances in robotics and technology in our industry in the near future? — John Alshefski

7. 2 Things to Take Your Business From Startup Into A Great Business

Want to know how to grow your business fast? Discover here two things that you need to smash in order for you to take your business from startup to a great business. — Stewart Bell​​​​​​​

8. The #1 Marketing Asset Every Financial Advisor Should Hold in the Portfolio

Unlike many other industries, most people in finance confront the reality on a daily basis that a market downturn they have no control over could cast them out onto the street. — Sara Grillo

9. The Gutless Generation: How Risk Aversion Is Inhibiting Millennial Success

One year after I risked everything to launch my own venture, I penned a short article chronicling my journey up to that point. One commenter responded with near-vitriol, wondering how I could be so misguided as to influence – encourage, even – others of my generation to take on extensive levels of risk in order to successfully launch a new business. — Brian Hart

10. Are Your Marketing Priorities Out of Whack?

People are automating hellos and introductions instead of taking 3 seconds to personally do it. Folks are requiring followbacks if they give you one. Everyone believes that ads are the answer. And business owners think they know what’s best for their social channels. — Ahna Hendrix​​​​​​​

11. 10 Steps to Successful Strategic Alliances

Business growth doesn’t come from wishful thinking. As you know, it takes a lot of hard work. The growth of your business is not an option – it is a necessity. Coordinating the right mix of strategies to gain market share and improve client acquisition rates is essential to advance your firm in today’s economy. — Michelle Mosher

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio