Goals- doen't know when they're paid?

for example- I have a category goal to pay my union dues $52.50 every three months, so the Goal this quarter was to have $52.50 in the acount by March 2020. All good, the amount was available this month, the dues got paid via autopay from my checking account, YNAB imported and correctly categorized the transaction.... but now it's yellow, saying "Your $52.50 goal is due this month, and you’re short by $52.50. Budget another $52.50 to reach your goal target." ... what the heck? why doesn't it know the goal was reached and paid? Is there a better way to handle these kinds of budget items?

 

Thanks in advance for input!

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  • Yes, I agree it’s very unintuitive however the way this sort of goal works in YNAB is that the app wants to have $52.50 in the account at the END of March (i.e. available to spend in April).

    Someone with a little more experience than myself will be able to guide you on the right way to set up a goal to achieve what you want (sorry!).

    In my experience I usually have the goal set to “Fund $17.50 a month” so that by the end of the 3 months I will have the full $52.50. Because it is a goal to fund X amount rather than a goal to have a target balance by a date, it doesn’t cause the same issue when I actually spend from it. Unfortunately setting up your goal in my way will not work if you’re not planning or able to fund an equal amount to the category every month.

    Like 3
  • Set up another Goal in NEXT month's area for the June payment.

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  • Thanks for the input, all... seems to be a case where adding 'end of'  to the Goal Month would eliminate the confusion. I'll just make the next Goal "by May" to cover a payment due in June... right?

    I guess I still don't understand why I get the under funding error message if the full amount of the payment is available when the payment posts...

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      William Spencer Only you know if you will budget to the category before the outflow in the target month. If you will, make the target match the due month. If not, make it for the month before.

      Always making it for the prior month when not necessary leads to higher contributions -- something avoided with a moment's thought.

      Like 1
  • William Spencer said:
    I still don't understand why I get the under funding error message

    Because the goal looks solely at the Available amount which is now probably $0. It could be implemented better, but it's also trivial to work around.

    Like 1
  • Got it thanks just making sure I understood how it works

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  • Just ran into this with my auto insurance bill.  Goal set to have $700.00 by May and there was $700.00 in the category.  Paid $588.61 w/Covid discount and now it's yellow with a $111.39 balance and saying I'm $588.61 underfunded.  It is not clear in any instructions that you have to set the goal to be the month before the actual due date of the payment.  As someone pointed out here, that artificially inflates the amount you need to save each month.  Certainly not ideal.

    Like 1
    • Hi FmrMSFan !

      Thanks for your feedback here! We're currently looking into ways to improve this functionality. :)

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view
      FmrMSFan said:
      It is not clear in any instructions that you have to set the goal to be the month before the actual due date of the payment

      That's not necessarily true. The only real reason to use the prior month is if you cannot budget to the category before the outflow.

      Look, the goal did it's job, and money was there when needed it. You have another payment due at some point, right? Create a goal for that in next months area. If this was a one-off, just delete the goal.

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      • FmrMSFan
      • 56north
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui The goal of $700 was reached on May 1.  I paid the insurance bill $588.61 on May 25.  Now it is annoyingly yellow and telling me it's $111.39 underfunded.  I would have expected it to simply state there is $111.39 remaining in the category.  I really can't change the goal until June 1 to set for the next 6 month period.....Hmmmm.....Okay, I just went to June, reset the goal to be $700 in November.  When I come back to May, suddenly it's green with the remaining $ there.  Acceptable.

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    • Faness what would be ideal (for me!) is to have a way to add a certain monthly amount (for example, $100/month for home maintenance) and get the pretty green when I have done that, but not to lose credit if I need to spend from that category. It's almost like an ongoing funding goal/sinking fund. I realize the difficulty in this because it looks like the goal hasn't been met if there is an expense, but that's what I'm trying to accomplish for a few of my goals - $XX to car maintenance, to be used when needed, $XX to home maintenance, to be used when needed. 

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Trombone Isn't that just a monthly contribution goal?

      Like 2
    • monkeyhanger It is. However, the Monthly Contribution goal makes a strong distinction between money spent (which it doesn't care about) and money moved to a different category. When you move money, that reduces the Budgeted column, which makes the goal sad. We've gotten frequent feature requests for a goal type of the form "remind me to budget $100 at the beginning of the month, and then quit bugging me after that," which has sometimes been called a "true budget template."

      Lavender Trombone Is this what you're running into with your Monthly Contribution goals, by any chance?

      Like 2
    • Matthew Interesting. I hadn't considered the differences between spending and moving from the category. Here's an example of what I do - I have a monthly contribution goal for medical and dental expenses (I call it a buffer) as I try to save toward the maximum deductible in a given year. I then have a medical & dental expense category for each family member (to understand the impact of kids moving into adulthood). So typically what happens is I fund the Monthly Contribution, at some point an expense comes through for one of us & it gets categorized, then I move money from the Monthly Contribution to the category that has the expense, and then my Monthly Contribution goal looks ignored, which it wasn't. 

      It's by no means the worst thing in the world. If you're looking for ideas, though, maybe the answer is to have a way for the user to decide/note when setting up the goal if the goal is still met if money is moved from that category. Alternatively, another type of goal, like a "Building a Buffer" Goal or a "Minimum Contribution Goal" could incorporate it. I'd use it for car maintenance & replacement, a medical deductible buffer, housing maintenance & repairs. 

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    • Lavender Trombone I agree that something like this could be really useful. The word "goal" seems to sometimes frame the problem in the wrong way, I think. Some of what we call goals truly feel like goals: e.g., "I want to save up $1000 for a new couch by December." If that's my goal, I want YNAB to bug me if I'm not on track to meet it.

      On the other hand, sometimes a "goal" is really more of a reminder: "Hey, remind me to throw $100 into that Medical Deductible category." And a Monthly Contribution goal will, indeed, remind you to do that, but it's kind of intense about it, because it gets offended and turns yellow when you redistribute that money to other categories.

      I think there's room for a more chill goal type like this, but it's not something on our short-term roadmap. That could change anytime, though!

      Like 3
  • Since the quarterly transaction is a consistent known amount, instead of fiddling with updating 3-month goals every quarter, I'd set this up as a monthly funding goal of $17.50 going forward, with no end date, and be done with it.

    I might also consider setting it up as a spending goal. Since we're nearly halfway through the year, In June set it up to spend $122.50 by December, then change it to a $210 annual spending goal in January 2021 to December 2021.

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      If you use a monthly funding goal, either don't reallocate from it or update the amount if you do.

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