I know that this is not what YNAB is about but does anyone know of or use a 3rd party app that uses the YNAB API to do forecast predictions. I love YNAB and it is great for controlling my money but it's also fun to dream a little see how much money we will have in the future. For example to save for holidays or lazer eye surgery.
I know you can set a Target Category Balance by Date but this is not the same.
I have seen an API to export to Google Sheets so I may just have to use that.
Don't get your argument YNAB only shows one month at a time a cashflow typically shows 12 months.
With a cash flow, you can carry out what-if calculations. I get a second income from AirBNB for example and would like to consider what if I could earn more, and how quickly I would earn enough cash balance to meet a goal.. If I can do a 12-month prediction in YNAB let me know-how.
Ok, let's discuss this. I totally understand why YNAB would not have cash flow forecasting as part of its product. It also shouldn't calculate the average cost basis on the dividends reinvested in a mutual fund, or help me fill out a depreciation report on an item I purchased for a home business that I budgeted for in YNAB. But why is cash flow forecasting frowned upon by the community so much?
A few years ago I made a cash flow spreadsheet for my mom's budget, which I managed in YNAB. The purpose was to figure out not how much she'd spend, but how much money she NEEDED to spend. She had fixed nursing home expenses (and a bunch of other biggies at different times of the year) and I had to make IRA withdrawals to cover them. I had to make sure her investments were properly allocated so that she'd have the cash available that she needed to cover those expenses every few months. In order to make sure I paid the correct estimated quarterly taxes, I had to have an idea of how much I'd be withdrawing for her throughout the year and for what, so I'd know what her tax liability would be a year later. Just reflecting on the prior year was not working because her fees and taxes kept increasing, while other expenses decreased.
I now keep a spreadsheet for myself as well. It is based on my YNAB budget as far as categories and historical spending. It has a running "net worth" balance. It gives me an idea of the direction things may go if a big change in income or expenses were to arise. And in my case, a big change happened. My mom died and I took on some of her expenses (a house in another state with fat property taxes and a low rental income, and private school tuition she had been paying) and income in the form of her IRA and some investments. Thankfully my spreadsheet is helping me forecast what will be feasible for me to cover with some of the inheritance, i.e. how long it can last in the short term. This helps influence my regular day to day YNAB budgeting decisions, which for the most part haven't significantly changed and they're based on money I *do* have. It also helps me plan out an investment strategy so I can more aggressively invest funds I won't need to tap in the short term.
I won't carry on with more boring details, but my advice is to make or find some kind of simple spreadsheet that fits your needs. And I don't think living in the here-and-now is incompatible with future financial planning. What's wrong with checking out the big picture every once in a while? It can actually be extremely motivating. If someone is going to go, "Ooooh what if I win the lottery? Ok, I'll go spend as if I just won the lottery!" then they're in a class of their own and I'd have nothing to say there. :)
Well, not all the sheets work for everybody and probably that's why I haven't found a good one yet. I don't have a template but I started using https://www.calxa.com/cash-flow-scenarios-to-mitigate-a-crisis and, I am very satisfied. You can get some inspiration here since they have lots of options and even a free trial. Try to look on this site maybe you'll find something useful but don't forget that results are seen after at least a year so you shouldn't have many expectations from the start.