Cashflow Forcast

Hello

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.

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  • Given Rule 2 has you make monthly contributions based on the desired total, how could a forecast show anything other than the desired total?

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  • 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. 

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      • jamesx4
      • Software Engineer
      • jamesx4
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Hail I hear ya'!  Would like this as well. 

      Seems like all the data is there to produce such a report.  Would need to factor in your Scheduled Transactions, Monthly Funding Goals, and Target Balance by Date goals.  Obviously, you'd need to have Scheduled Transactions for Income. 

      Eons ago Microsoft Money had a pretty nice Cash Flow report.  Got a little confusing though with some of the options around how you distribute the spending like the Monthly Funding Goals and Target Balance by Date.  Do you be conservative and just take those out at beginning of the month or distribute forecasted spending across each day of the month?  Or do you just keep it simple and consider end-of-month totals in the forecast? 

      Given some of these complexities I can understand why it's not an easy ask. 

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Hail So you basically want to see what you can do with your budget if you make up income. That's pretty much the opposite of everything that the YNAB method represents.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view
      Sky Blue Hail said:
      With a cash flow, you can carry out what-if calculations.

      With a normalized budget (Rule 2), you work backwards from your desired goals in a priority basis. A single month is all you need because every month after that is simply a copy. 

      If you want to evaluate the addition of a second income stream, flip to an empty month and temporarily budget without regard to TBB going negative. Your goal is to ensure those budget entries meet your desired timelines / totals AND the "Budgeted In" header does not exceed your anticipated monthly income.

      Make notes of the amounts for reference, and delete those scratchpad values.

      Like 2
    • nolesrule no need to get upset

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    • dakinemaui I don't really understand what you mean on face value but I will look into rule 2 and consider it. 

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    • dakinemaui Just wondering, do you have any categories with the Target Balance by Date goal? Flipping into the next (or definitely the following) month messes with my totals because I haven't contributed to those goals yet, changing the underfunded amount. Or does this not bother you because you can budget all in the 1st and then you only go one month forward?

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Hail I didn't realize I was upset.

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Hail Rule 2 is save for your true expenses. I know that I buy stuff for Christmas to use your example, so that is in fact a true expense. I allocate the same exact amount to my Christmas category every month. Therefore there is no need to do any sort of projection. And on December 31 anything left as available gets donated to charity so I start January 1 with a clean slate of how much goes into that category every single month.

      Another example I have is Technology Replacement. Right now I don't need anything, but over time my laptop and phone will need to be upgraded. Or a lost power cable will need to be replaced. I allocate $62/month to this category so I know that I have to make my tech last until such time as there is enough in the category to replace whatever I need (I also tend not to replace my tech that often. I bought my laptop in 2017 and I expect it to last me another 3 years at least. I bought a new phone in December, about a year earlier than I had planned because the trade in value that the Apple Store was offering was just too good to pass up, but there was enough in the category so it didn't matter that I did it early). So if I know how much is in my category today and I want to know how much will be in it next March - that's simple arithmetic; no need for additional tools.

      Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life My reply addressing the partial month screwing up suggested Goal contribution amounts seems to have gone missing.

      In such cases, just dial in the desired/correct value, ignoring the Goal. If you want to adjust a timeline during the analysis, that is simply the remaining amount needed divided by the remaining months you'll budget before the outflow.

      Alternatively, temporarily fill out the remainder of the current month (letting TBB go negative) so the Goals give the correct answer. Restore TBB to $0 when done with the analysis.

      Like 1
  • 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. :)

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    • Annieland that spreadsheet you developed seems like it would make sense for me.  If you're willing to share it, I'd appreciate it!

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  • I'm not very familiar with this domain but recently I switched my jobs and I had to start using cashflow and lots of other tools.

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  • 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.

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