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.
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! :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
I just subscribed and really like YNAB, except for this issue (and yes it is an issue)! Tracking account balances should update at least daily. As mentioned, the detailed transactions are needed or wanted, just a simple daily sync.
This feature would take a good developer a couple of days to write. There is absolutely no reason YNAB should not have this feature except for arrogance, ignorance, or both.
In this regard, Mint > YNAB. Please fix it!
I honestly feel like I was sort of tricked here. After using YNAB for the 34 day trial, I just paid the $84 yearly fee (which I was already not thrilled about, because I thought using a referral link gave me an extra month before I would have to do that? but whatever on that for now). Anyway I'm in to the second month of budgeting and now that I have two time periods to start comparing I notice that the "tracking" category is not tracking anything?
As a few people have pointed out, nobody is asking for a full ledger for these accounts, just an up-to-date balance. But YNAB support seems oddly cagey about answering honestly. Is there a rate limit on the API that would be costly to raise the cap on? Just say that! Some kind of added regulatory or privacy hoops you're not willing to jump through? Just say that! Literally anything except for the vague non-answers to people asking about it.
I connected to these accounts through Plaid, the initial balance was imported, the tracking section is in the same section and visually identical to the dynamic auto-importing budget section. And there's a little check next to each tracking account saying it was just checked. What are people supposed to assume with all that?
I just have to assume this "feature" is included in order to make people who are comparing budget apps think that tracking is more robust than it actually is. Mint (which does these tracking account updates perfectly) and YNAB frequently appear on "best budget app" lists together and I guess YNAB "tracking" is a little nudge for people who are on the fence. Once they're ready to actually use the data (for example, to see a net worth report) it becomes apparent that it's just extra work for the user in order to be functional.
Maybe in the short term there could be a callout in the sidebar under the transactions account list that says "Your tracking accounts were last updated on mm/dd/yy - update now?"; or maybe a similar link for each account that appears after x days? Or even just a little calendar icon that appears next to each one after x days with a hover tooltip reminding you to update? Or literally any other indication that the word tracking doesn't mean tracking in the way that 99% of people would assume it would?
I hate to be a downer and rant in a forum with so many cheery exclamation points and good support, but this is something that really irks me.
Silver Stallion said:
I'm not sure what the point of the tracking accounts is if they're not going to... track the balance.
The point for me is Net Worth and to see all my finances in one place. They didn't say who is tracking your balance. In this case it's you. 😉I personally enjoy updating my tracking balances at the end of each month and seeing how it impacted my net worth that month. (At least most months I enjoy it. The down months are few and far between.)
The definition of "Net Worth" is Assets minus Liabilities. If my assets in YNAB don't reflect a correct (read: CURRENT) value, any report labeled, "Net Worth" in YNAB is inaccurate.
Yes, there are ways to update the balance manually. However, if you can update the balance automatically when added, the same routine should be able to pick up the current balance automatically each refresh. This is important for investment accounts that fluctuate (like brokerage, 401(k), etc.), home values (from Zillow - pull the Zestimate!), and the like.
Conversely, don't allow tracking accounts to participate in Linked Accounts.
This is not a limitation of direct import; it is a bug. This has been here for 2 years and routinely gets feedback that the inaccurate loan and investment balances are both confusing and frustrating to your users.
But you have done nothing about it. Why don't you care that you are providing a misleading account balance with direct import enabled and therefore an inaccurate net worth report?
Why aren't you addressing your bugs?
Do you care about the user experience or not?
YNAB is completely dependent on the Plaid API, since there's no way self-reported transactions are going to sustain a costly budgeting product in 2021. The pricing for using this API as a "Scale" account is based on things like number of requests, "add ons" like access to transactions/refresh endpoint, number of users and products, etc.
If you look at the Plaid docs there's restrictions like rate limits on API calls and other other things that can be bypassed by contacting sales and paying more. This is what's preventing these accounts from refreshing – this is a financial decision made by YNAB, not a technical limitation. And it's DEFINITELY NOT because up-to-date account balances aren't useful in a financial app (as some people in this thread - including YNAB support - have suggested lol).
So this isn't getting resolved until they figure out how to absorb the cost of a more expensive Plaid contract with more features and higher limits, or they raise their prices to achieve the same thing. I just wish they would say something to that effect instead of suggesting that everyone submit the idea to the product team for the 100th time :/
nolesrule Impractical is owning a software that supports automatically adding something but not maintaining it - especially when this thread has repeatedly pointed out a quick update could be made to the API call to refresh the balance on a daily basis--even if transactions are not imported.
A simple change that would make the entire software much more effective.
Coral Mixer said:
I mean remove the "Tracking" section that doesn't "track" in the way any reasonable person would assume a web app (with a direct connection to the financial institution) would "track" that account.
No, do not remove the Tracking section. I'm okay with a rename though. In the old days of previous YNAB versions they were called Off-Budget. Although to anyone who knows that linking accounts is optional, they would understand that "tracking" doesn't mean "automatic". Then again, there are so many people who confuse the terms "tracking" and "linking", so maybe it's not quite that obvious.
I do agree that they shouldn't bother linking account types that don't actually ever update, but that may be harder to handle programmatically.