Balances not correct for linked tracking accounts

I have a number of linked tracking accounts - 401k, 529c, and mutual funds.  When I first linked them in YNAB, the balances were correct.  However, over time the balances do not stay current, and continue to diverge further from the correct balance.   After a couple weeks, they are not even close to the correct amount.

YNAB shows a checkmark next to the accounts, and hovering over each checkmark shows a "GOOD" link that was updated a few minutes ago.  This is the case for all the accounts.

By comparison, both Mint and Personal Capital show the correct balances for all accounts, so I'm pretty confident the problem is with YNAB.

Thanks.

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  • Hi Jerry !

    Sorry for the trouble!

    I'm glad you reached out about this!

    Direct Import isn't designed to handle investment accounts, so we're typically only able to import your starting balance. After that, you would need to update the balance yourself as it changes.

    We're looking to make improvements here, of course, but you might not find it beneficial to connect these accounts at the moment — especially since they're typically tracking accounts and the balances don't impact your budget.  

    The quickest way to update those account balances is to hover over the name of the account, click on the edit icon that appears, and update the balance in the "Today's Balance" entry - that will automatically create a balance adjustment to bring the account current. You can also reconcile the account to include any interest charges, if you prefer having that history.

    Let me know if you have any questions about that - I'm happy to help! :)

    Like 1
      • Jerry
      • Threepea
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Thank you so much for the prompt reply.  That makes sense, and I appreciate the candor and suggestions.

       

      Jerry

      Like 1
      • Juliana
      • juliana
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness Once we have followed those steps to adjust "Today's Balance", do we mark the automatically created line item as "cleared"?

      Also, if I am making the full monthly payment (i.e. on my car loan or mortgage), is it safe to assume that the automatically created adjustment line item is equal to the interest I was charged?  Interest does not show up as a transaction within my accounts, so I have nothing to match it to.

      Thank you!

      Like
    • Juliana Yes, you can mark that as cleared. Here's a little more on how we recommend tracking loans in YNAB. For many loans, the interest is included in the monthly payment. Is that the case with yours? You can create a balance adjustment like this, to update the balance and account for the interest!

      Like
    • Faness I'm shocked. It's okay not to support a feature, but the user interface is misleading us into thinking that it is or can be supported. They are essentially not linked and the UI should reflect that.

      Like 1
    • Khaki Octopus Sorry for the confusion there! The investment account data is handled differently by financial institution, so we only expect that initial starting balance to import. A UI change to clarify that in the app is a great suggestion. Can you submit a Feature Request to let our Product Team know? They'd love to hear more about what you'd like to see!

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 6 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Nicole A better idea for Investment accounts would be to import the current balance every time and automatically make an adjustment transaction.

      Like 6
    • dakinemaui This! Simple. Straightforward. If the software can see the current balance when first linking it, why can't it see that again and make an adjustment periodically? 

      Like
    • That Mike Guy I've said this repeatedly and had an extended conversation with support advocating for it. They just don't care.

       

      They do not understand that the whole purpose of software is to automate tedious and error prone processes. I always get a not-so-veiled attitude that says "you should be doing this by hand so that you remain in control of your finances. Look at our reconcile feature -- it's easy to use!"

      Totally tone deaf -- they can pull balance (as you mentioned, starting balance is accurate), adjusting automatically at every sync for tracking accounts would be really easy to implement. Just ignore ledger transactions in those accounts. Done and done.

      But I am pretty sure the creators dislike the very idea of direct import. They think it makes you too passive in your own finances. So they've trained support to make you feel like you're doing something wrong if you're not willing to enter the data yourself. They do not stand by the direct import feature (that they actively market on their website) and will not offer any form of subscription extension or credit, even if it stops working because they changed their provider.

      For the premium dollars they ask for this software, I would expect some basic things to actually work (like tracking linked account balances), and for their support to be superb and trained to bend over backwards to make sure users are happy.

      That's not this company.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gold Router That hands-on versus direct import argument is invalid for tracking accounts.

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui Gold RouterThat Mike Guy  It's a great suggestion, and improvements to the tracking account handling aren't outside the realm of possibilities. It varies by import partner and the product we use. We're focused on the budget side and importing for "cash " type accounts—including checking, savings, and credit cards for the immediate future, but will continue to see where we can improve!

      Like
    • Nicole 

      It might help if you

       

      I want to know if you or someone there could explain how it is technically difficult to just check a balance for a tracking account when it obviously is able to check it when first linking to the account. 

      We keep going around in circles here and I'm not sure if you think we are asking for full tracking of transactions and interest, etc. 

      Can you tell us explicitly how Ynab can see the current balance when initially linking but can't check it after that? That might help. 

      Like
      • Gold Router
      • Gold_Router.9
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole I don't think it varies by import partner.

      We are suggesting you ignore 100% of the transactions they present to you on tracking accounts.

      Complete and total disregard of transactions that is uniform across partners.

      You grab starting balance just fine -- use it over and over and over again.

      Its clearly not a priority for you guys, and that's both our point and concern. You shouldn't have a half-baked and misleading feature.

      YNAB does not have a culture of owning its mistakes or taking responsibility for its problems. It's driving users away.

      Like 1
      • Gold Router
      • Gold_Router.9
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      And forget investments for a second -- loans don't work right either. Most of your users are trying to manage their debts, and we are relying on the liabilities to have an accurate view of our situations.

      It took about four months before I realized that my transfers to loan accounts didn't have an interest charge -- YNAB was lying to me about my loan balances.

      It's not acceptable. 

      Like 2
    • Gold Router agreed, r/ynab is full of people sharing when their net worth stops being negative, and one of the three reports YNAB gives is net worth. Plus seeing your progress on paying down your debt is likely to help you stick with it.

      Like 1
    • Hi That Mike Guy and Gold Router ! Sorry for the delay here!

      Direct import currently isn't designed to continuously pull the starting balance - just the opposite. When an account is linked, we only pull in the starting balance for the first transaction. After that, YNAB doesn't look at the account balance again when importing - it only looks at transactions since the starting balance and how those have affected the balance. That's why investment and loan accounts aren't expected to work, because transactions are reported differently in those accounts and thus don't import the same as a Checking or Savings account. 

      I do like the idea of pulling the current balance and then automatically creating a balance adjustment, but currently, that can only be done manually - like this.

      We're continuously working to improve direct import but, as you can see from our status page, supporting the Direct Import feature as we have it now is an ongoing struggle for us. We're truly focused on improving the connections we do have now before we open this up to more options - and that includes both the possibility of supporting international accounts and building out a separate function specifically for loan or investment accounts.

      You can submit a Feature Request to let our Product Team know you'd like to see this option, but the road to improving direct import is a long one. 

      Like
  • Is there any hope this is going to be fixed? This makes the 'Net Worth' report in YNAB pretty useless and misleading.

    Like 1
    • Hi Orchid Lobster ! It's something on our Direct Import partner's radar, and we're looking to make improvements there. Currently, our partner is only able to provide your current starting balance — or only certain types of transactions for most investment and loan accounts.

      Since investment and loan account balances are Tracking accounts (with little daily activity), and don't affect your budget—you can create a balance adjustment like this, to make those match! And then you should find that Net Worth report more accurate. 😀

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Like
  • Personally, for tracking accounts I'd prefer the balances to update even if it meant the transactions wouldn't download. I don't know how others use them but I not need to see the transactions in the tracking accounts.

    Like 4
  • I agree this is a huge problem with linked tracking accounts. I don't want to create adjustments to keep up with my accounts, I just want to pull the latest balance. It doesn't even need to have transactions (or even the capability to add transactions), I just want the number to be updated automatically over time. The Net Worth report is a lot less useful if I can't see the overall trend of my mortgage going down, and my retirement investments going up.

    Like 1
    • Hi Green Griffin !

      Thank you for weighing in here! 

      Since the data for investment/loan accounts is handled differently than that of checking/savings/CC accounts, these accounts have always proven a bit difficult when it comes to direct import. We’re currently looking into ways of improving that handling on this end, and we won't give up! As of now though, if the transactions import incorrectly (or don’t import at all), that’s expected behavior.

      With that said, we certainly understand the motivation for tracking your net worth, so here's an easy way to manage them without direct import:

      1. Use Scheduled Transactions to show your regular contributions or payments. Or, if you have a lot of activity in the account, give File-Based Importing a try in the web app!
      2. Update the balance like this as it changes, as frequently as you wish.

      I know manual steps may seem tedious, but they're currently the only way to keep some Tracking accounts up to date. Let me know if you have any questions at all! 

      Like
  • I truly fail to see the point of a "Tracking" account being "Linked" if its value isn't tracked. I think the whole point of linking a tracking account is to have its value be shown -- it's not a budget account, so transactions are completely unimportant.

    Scheduled transactions are not a good answer -- my mortgage has a different dollar value on principal vs interest every month, but YNAB applies 100% of the payment to principal. Frustrating to say the least. I linked it so I wouldn't *have* to think about it. Creating manual adjustments every month is tedious and serves no real value to me. I guess I need to be using a different tool for Net Worth tracking. If you can't track linked account/asset values accurately, that graph in your app is worthless.

    Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Router I have tracked my net worth in YNAB for 10 years but it does require a little work. I don't link any of my tracking accounts but I link all of my budget accounts. For my mortgage, I add an offsetting interest payment each month. Both the mortgage payment and interest payment are scheduled transactions. I found a way to calculate what my interest payments would be each month and I enter a years worth of scheduled transactions at a time. So I only need to do that once a year. Good luck.

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

      Gold Router Either the starting balance is off (which can be effectively fixed with a reconciliation adjustment or manual edit of that transaction), OR the bank is not providing the correct information (not ynab's fault).

      Like
      • Gold Router
      • Gold_Router.9
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I don't deny it can be fixed by manually adjusting it -- but why should I have to do several calculations across 12 brokerage and 4 loan accounts every month when computers could be programmed to do that work?

      The starting balance was pulled correctly. The "payments" on a loan show as inflow, but a portion of that inflow is interest. I don't need transactions in tracking accounts. I need YNAB to use that "starting balance" logic every time it syncs. Ignore the transactions. Just report the total account value on every date it polls. Keep the history for the charts. Suddenly, it's useful information without forcing the user to complete totally unnecessary chores.

       

      Stock purchases and sales also just show up naively as inflow and outflow. But the account value, not the cash balance, was the "starting balance" in the accounts. Account value makes sense. Track it over time. No need to get bogged down by syncing and making sense of transactions in asset or secured liability accounts.

      Like 1
  • Totally agree with what everyone is saying (including YNAB). Tracking accounts aren't really tracking. If  YNAB could just grab a daily "current balance" and apply the adjustment transaction automatically, that could be a good workaround. Downloading individual transactions is meaningless as far as dividends, sale or purchase of stocks, etc. You could still have transactions in and out for the purpose of just having the account to interact with your budgeted accounts. The daily adjustment transaction would take that into account. You could even set it to update weekly or whatever if you'd rather. 

    This seems like a fix that YNAB could do without depending on the more complex solution of tracking values and holding of all investments in an account along with tracking the sales, purchases, dividends and fees. Just auto-reconcile with the current balance each day or whatever. YNAB can definitely see the current balance.

    Like
  • YNAB what's the deal, this obviously needs fixed. It's something I currently have setup to use, and should be able to use, but CAN'T because you haven't resolved it yet. Please resolve this. I also agree with everyone on this forum. 

    Like
  • I agree with everyone here. These aren't linked accounts and claiming so while setting them up is misleading to new users. I'm currently on a free trial and after several attempts over the years the YNAB method clicked with me, but I just can't swallow a $90 price tag for software that claims investment and net worth reporting but can't track an account balance. I have too many 401ks, Roth IRAs, and taxable investment accounts for manual tracking to be practical. 

     

    Honestly, this is basic stuff and i'm really surprised it's an issue on such premium priced software. Why not just do the same pull you do when setting up the account? It pulled my account balances the first time fine.

    Like 1
  • YNAB has always billed itself as budgeting software and not an overall financial package. Sure, it has tracking accounts and a net worth report but that’s just an added bonus for those of us who want to also track our net worth in YNAB with a little manual work. Maybe someday YNAB will automate those and approach being a full financial package but for now, it’s a budgeting program with extras. If you want hands free investment tracking, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

    Like 1
    • Superbone True about the budgeting focus but the current state is so bad because it is misleading. I don't want to see a full fledged tracking of every sale of stock or tracking of all asset values within a fund or whatever Quicken does. Just an added adjustment transaction at the frequency chosen (weekly or daily) would be fine. Shoot. I can do that manually by unlinking and relinking right now so clearly that capability is within easy reach. 

      Like
    • That Mike Guy 

       

      Exactly. It would be better to not link the accounts at all. But they are "tracking" accounts that are linked to track. And it can't event track the balance. It's misleading and broken.

      The feature should be done right or not at all. And I do not accept the premise that what they are doing meets any sane definition of right.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      That Mike Guy Sure, that would be great. And from what I've read, they're working toward that. I currently keep mine unlinked and update the balance once at the end of each month. If DI would do that, fantastic! I'm all for it. In fact, let's all put in that feature request.

      Feature Requests

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I did my part. My request is in. The more that follow suit, the better.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone These features don't fit in with their target demographic for feature improvements per another thread.

      Like 1
    • nolesrule Can you link to that thread? I'm curious where the discussion went. I'm wondering if the issue was going down the path of what Quicken does (or did, I haven't used it for years) where it tracks every stock sale, dividend, interest calculation, etc.). The sentiment here is that a simple update to the balance is all that is wanted. It doesn't seem like it could be so hard to do. 

      BTW, I approve of your username. 

      Like
      • Megan
      • megan
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I submitted my feature request!

      Like 1
  • I agree with everyone here. I was confused why my linked tracking accounts didn't update. AFAIK they are using Plaid for the connection. Plaid's API does allow you to get the balance (hence why they're able to pull the initial balance). Their developers just need to write an async nightly job to refresh the balance for all users. It's not that hard...just add each account to a Redis queue and have workers pull the account from the queue and run a refresh job. Classic producer/consumer design pattern.

     

    Or if your developers don't know how to do this, you can hire me and I will be happy to. I've done it multiple times before at many FinTech startups.

    Like 2
  • I'm having the same problem, but with generic checking accounts that I have linked and are simply tracking accounts. There's no reason these shouldn't update, IMHO.

    Candidly I'm fine with brokerage accounts and the like not being auto-updated - that's moving into planning, rather than budgeting territory, and YNAB is very up-front about being YNAB, not YNAP (or YNAF? Forecasting?). But we have a couple of checking accounts that make much more sense to be tracking accounts, and one of them hasn't updated in months - despite claiming to have checked every day.

    This is particularly important for another family member I'm coaching through using YNAB - she's rocking developing good YNAB habits, but is also financially responsible for another family member, whose accounts she keeps an eye on and frequently makes transfers between her own accounts and theirs - but they are not part of her budget. If those accounts don't pull in the transactions, the balances will be wrong and she'll begin to mistrust the whole budget process. Bad for her, and bad for YNAB 🙁.

    I'll echo the sentiment that this YNAB is causing self-inflicted damage here. If the tracking account can't stay abreast of account balances because of the nature of brokerage accounts, that's fine - but then don't let me link it. If it's linked, that creates an expectation - which YNAB repeatedly emphasizes (and has invested substantially in with Plaid, by all account).

    Like
    • Jan Nedelka Checking accounts should update via Direct Import, whether they're set up as Tracking or Budget accounts. If they're not, please fill out this form and our Direct Import team will help you get things back up and running.

      I will check in on this, but I believe with Plaid, there's no way for us to decide which institutions are enabled or disabled on our side, so we're not able to prevent you from linking an investment or loan account that isn't currently able to import. I know that can be misleading, and I'm going to see whether we can clarify things there.

      Like
    • Matthew Thanks very much - after making the post, I did chat with support, and they're investigating the checking account that's not updating.

      While I'm sympathetic to being held hostage to a vendor's capacities, at the end of the day, it's YNAB's brand and functionality that customers are paying for. So any inconsistency or appearance of bugs falls on YNAB, not Plaid 😕.

      A middling solution might be to replace the checkmark icon with a different icon maybe a 🚫or a sparkline or something. Since this discussion implies that YNAB can tell if an account type can be properly updated or not, then there could be a visual designation for 'linked but transactions will not be imported/value us not accurate', and a tooltip could explain that if the icon was hovered over.

      Like
  • Jan Nedelka said:
    Candidly I'm fine with brokerage accounts and the like not being auto-updated - that's moving into planning, rather than budgeting territory, and YNAB is very up-front about being YNAB, not YNAP (or YNAF? Forecasting?).

    It's not planning or forecasting. It's YNANW. Net Worth. Why allow one to have investment, tracking accounts and allow you to link them if it doesn't work?

    Like
    • Superbone Fair point, I hadn't considered it through the net worth lens. And it is really nice to be able to track that over time. In the end, I think we're in agreement that linking implies a benefit that isn't there - so better not to create false expectations.

      I've found Mint to be the best shot at a net worth snapshot - it's not great at much, but it's a solid aggregator for a price that's hard to beat. Mint's only mediocre at tracking it over the long term, it seems to vomit and break something every couple of years. For forecasting I just use a homebrew spreadsheet, which I also pop the debt/net worth numbers into monthly to track them over the long term. But I totally get it that that's more fooling around or an awkwardly fragmented system than others might want.

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jan Nedelka Yes, to me, net worth is the number 1 scorecard when it comes to one's finances. And I love being able to see it month to month over time going way back. YNAB allows me to have this but with a little bit of work. (FYI, the toolkit net worth report is even better!)

      I have tried Mint and Personal Capital but like you said, it only tracks the current value and not over time. Plus, I still have to request codes for 2FA so I might as well visit each tracked account once a month where I can review more info about my account as well as get the current balance.

      Like
  • Jan Nedelka said:
    she's rocking developing good YNAB habits

    Since you mention good habits, most people who have tried it feel YNAB is most effective when you enter transactions manually. Import will never be as up to date. In fact, Import has always been intended as an aid to clearing and reconciliation, and not the primary entry method.

    FWIW, you might switch to File Based Import if the Direct isn't working.

    Like
  • New subscriber here.  Very disappointing to learn of this - add me to the list of users who would like to have this feature added (automatic tracking of linked account balances). 

    Like
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