Linking same bank account to 2 YNAB accounts?

Hi there, 

I'm moving in with my partner - yay! We're planning to have our personal bank accounts, and one bank account for the household that we use for common spendings (groceries, bills, etc.). 

I've searched the forum and find many people wanting to share a budget. Although it would be nice, what I'm trying to do is simply to share a bank account and link it to each of our YNAB accounts. Is this possible??

I am NOT interested in sharing the same YNAB account, in case you were going to suggest that option... 

I've read the Join Forces article but it's more of couple financial counseling article than a software support article; I scanned through it and didn't find an answer to my question (or did I miss it?).

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  • It sounds like trouble. I don't see any reason the app would stop it, but why would you track the same transactions in two different budgets. 

    Like
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Storm Because we have 2 different YNAB accounts and there is no way in YNAB —that I know of— to "share" a budget

      Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nomade0 I agree, but you'll be dealing with the same transactions twice, trying to categorize them the same, but maybe differently.

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      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Storm Yes I realize that. We'll try it :)

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  • Certainly it's possible, but hardly advisable. You will have to categorize every transaction in that account, including the ones you didn't make -- and for which you did not budget... in both budgets. In other words, a crap ton of reimbursement tracking in both budgets.

    It's far easier to keep a given real-world account solely in one budget. Make one person responsible for the joint expenses and either put that real-world account in their budget or in a dedicated "joint expenses" budget under that person's YNAB account.

    Like
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Great, thank you. 

      It will be the same bank account so no reimbursements necessary. We will simply both fund that account monthly. And both partners categorizing transactions is exactly what I'm looking for. 

      The alternatives you mention seem undesirable for me. Making one person responsible --> I want to avoid precisely that, because we're both going to spend from that account, so we both need to see the budget. Creating a new "joint" budget on the other person's YNAB account seems like the same as making one person responsible for the budget...no?

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    • nomade0 You're missing the part about transactions you didn't make for which you also didn't budget.

      Alternatively, you are trying to duplicate the same budget, but will invariably have differences.

      Let me put it more simply: It will be an utter mess.

      Like
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I must be missing it indeed. Transactions I didn't make should be obvious, as the account is meant to pay regular monthly expenses like bills and groceries, or larger common purchases (e.g. a couch) that we'll have agreed on ahead of time. If they're not obvious, it will mean we need to chat about it, which is what I'd want. 

      I don't really need it put more simply, if anything I'd need more details or an example. Open to the push back, but I still don't get it so far :/

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    • nomade0 You're keeping duplicate records of the transactions (one set in each budget). It's way more than double the effort. You have to enter the transactions -- all of them -- and categorize them appropriately. Even if you import, for a transaction you did not make, you cannot know the Walmart purchase is Groceries or Furniture or whatever. You must get that information from the other person.

      Additionally, the budget interactions that must be replicated as well, which are likely to be even less obvious. There is no audit-record of changes.

      Again, I don't see why you don't save one person the effort and eliminate the second budget. (Again, there's no guarantee it's the same, anyway.)

      I understand that you'd like to know how much is available for purchases the "other" person would make (e.g., Groceries). Asking the budget maintainer is an easy solution. There are also add-on (third-party) mobile apps to show category balances without editable access to the budget.

      I'm assuming privacy is your main concern. If that's not the case, then just share a single subscription and pull up the joint budget anytime you like.

      OTOH, if it is, then for $84 a year, you can ensure complete privacy with a dedicated subscription for the joint budget. It will never be out of sync (as it's the only one), both parties can access it, and no one will ever see either person's private budgets.

      Like
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thanks for the details! Actually privacy is not the main concern (it exists, not going to lie, but it's a minor one). If God forbid we were to separate, one of us would have to open a new YNAB account and start from scratch and lose all the financial history. A huge benefit of YNAB for me is to have all my financial history in one place - even having a separate budget for "us" compartmentalize the data, which I don't like. Let alone having to start from scratch...

      Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui that's what I was trying to say too

      Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nomade0 You could also split costs in a cleaner way. One person pays rent, heat, electric. The other person pays cable, water, trash, all grocery, etc. Then each buys their own clothing and misc. needs. I think you're trying for some 50/50 sharing of all decisions and it just doesn't work, IMHO. There are many options and variations. One person can be responsible and the other very well informed (they should know what's going on and have full access to accounts/budgets). Each person responsible for various areas with no overlap. Each person responsible for personal areas (own car, clothes, habitats) and a joint account for housing. However, someone still has to maintain the joint account and pay bills. Even in the nearest utopia to 'we don't have status among each other or care about money' groups, The Bruderhof, a someone still is in charge of the money, pays the bills, etc. I just learned about that group last night, very interesting. They live in community being charged nothing for food or room, but also work for the community for no pay.

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      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Storm Thanks for the advice. Before we try to adapt our household financial management to the constraints of YNAB features (or lack thereof), we're going to try to hack the tool a bit and see if it can work the way we want it to work. Yes, yes, I know I'm stubborn... :)

      Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nomade0 It's not the tool as much as it's just how people operate. I worked for 2 brothers. They tried to run the company 50/50 for years. They had lots of issues on what to purchase, when to do a sales campaign, etc. Then they agreed it had to be 51/49 for decision making. Each would take a turn for a year or two having the 51% of the vote. The company ran much smoother. 

      Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui 

      dakinemaui said:
      There are also add-on (third-party) mobile apps to show category balances without editable access to the budget.

       There are?  Where? 

       

      I'm trying to figure out how to do a joint budget with my fiance for now, while we are cohabiting but not married yet.  I'm not sure yet what level of involvement he will want in budgeting, so this option may be a good idea for our situation.

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

      PhysicsGal Here's one that won 2nd place in the YNAB API contest (2018). Disclaimer: I haven't used it, but it seems like it covers the bases from the description.

      https://shareforynab.com/

      I'm sure there are others at this point, since the API has been out for ages.

      Like 1
    • PhysicsGal Here's another popular one, for iPhone: Allowance for YNAB.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view
      PhysicsGal said:
      I'm not sure yet what level of involvement he will want in budgeting

      TBH, for a fiance, I'd just use the YNAB app. It works for checking balances, and it's an easy transition to more involvement if it comes to that.

      Like 2
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I'll give it a shot and see if I can get him using it.  I'd love for to get him on board with budgeting with me before we get married.  Hopefully I can sell him on it.

      Like 2
  • nomade0 said:
    we both need to see the budget

     What is your reluctance against using the same YNAB account?

    The only way to keep things absolutely private is to pay for 3 subscriptions.

    Like
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui as far I understand, if we used the same YNAB account we would still need to have 3 budgets. One for me, one of her, one for us. The only advantage I see is that categories would be the same since it's only one budget, so it would be easier to categorize expenses. That's not an issue I'm trying to solve for as I'm not concerned with that. The disadvantage is the risk that since I'm a YNAB power user and she's barely keeping up with it (but learning), I end up being the one taking care of it - which goes against one of our financial goals. So overall, I see little value and more risk. 

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  • Hi nomade0 !

    Currently, there isn't a way to share a budget between multiple accounts. You could create a new budget in each YNAB account (yours and your partners) to connect to the joint account, but there's no way to guarantee they'll stay in sync. For instance, what if you categorize that Friday store run as Groceries, but your partner categorizes it as Home Goods? What if there's a transaction missed? If you have to move money, what if you move it from the Utilities category and your partner moves it from a Maintenance category?

    While setting the account up between two budgets can be done, it would take more effort to make sure the budget stays the exact same in both places.

    Like 1
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness Thanks for confirming!  I'm not concerned with these issues, so we'll give it a go. Live and learn :) FWIW, that's a serious limitation of the tool, is a "shared budget" feature in the backlog? 

      Like
    • nomade0 It sounds tricky, but I hope it proves easier for you in practice! Currently, an option to share a budget isn't listed on our What’s Up Next page - which outlines what our developers are currently working on. You can let our Product Team know you'd like to see this option by submitting a Feature Request. :)

      Like
    • Faness The What's Up Next page describes what the mobile developers are doing, but what about the web developers?

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui The What's Up Next page isn't mobile-exclusive but it's limited to features that are closest to completion. Our web developers are taking on a number of new projects on the heels of the larger ones just released.

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    • Faness Right, so I was hoping for that page to be updated with, you know, what's up next for them! :-) Perhaps you can ping the responsible party?

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    • dakinemaui That page will be updated once we're further into the new projects. Since we're just getting started on a new wave of projects, we aren't sure which are closest to completion just yet.

      Like
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness Thanks! I agree with dakinemaui , the What's Up Next is only marginally useful... we develop an app too, so I'm familiar with software development and managing customers expectations, but a little more transparency framed the right way would be really welcome :) 

      Regarding feature requests, I'd love to see a list of features already requested that we can vote on — I'm pretty sure I'm not the first one to request shared budgets.  But either way, I've submitted a request, thank you

      Like
  • Is it possible? Yes.   Is it recommended? No.

    Like 2
  • nomade0 said:
    I'm a YNAB power user and she's barely keeping up with it (but learning), I end up being the one taking care of it

    The part I bolded is only true if you let it be true.

    Look at the alternative where you both have to maintain separate budgets that are supposed to be identical. I guarantee they will get out of sync, so which budget will you regard as "correct"? (I'd guess you will make fewer mistakes.) And who will then feel like a second class budgeter? Every. Time. It. Happens.

    It's not a risk she'll want to scrap the whole thing -- it's a certainty.

    Like
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui That comment jumped out at me too, only because I know what it's like to be the power user in a couple where the other half is somewhere between reluctant and oblivious.  nomade0 There's a twinge of emotion in that remark, as if putting the whole budget in her lap is gonna get her up to your level by hook or by crook.

      In the beginning I was following this thread under the assumption you were BOTH power users and coming together both wanting to maintain the shared budget in your own accounts.  But now that I realize this is your method of bringing her on board, I agree with everyone else, there is no way this plan is going to have the desired effect you're looking for.  It could get really ugly :(.

      Like 2
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Annieland (cc dakinemaui )  I appreciate the advice, and take it into consideration, thank you. This is not really what I'm trying to solve for here though. I'm not concerned with the "relational" aspect of it at this point, and while you may be right, it's easy to change later —in fact it's easier to start this way and change later than the other way around, I think.

      I could into more details on why I'm not worried, but don't really feel the need to unless you're really worried for my relationship ;)  I'll keep an eye on it!

      Like 1
  • nomade0 said:
    I've read the Join Forces article but it's more of couple financial counseling article than a software support article; I scanned through it and didn't find an answer to my question (or did I miss it?).

    I felt similar, whenever I looked things up on bugetting together. But I am starting to realise I was looking for a fix, for the unequal roles me and my husband play in our finances, in the wrong place...

    Annieland said:
    only because I know what it's like to be the power user in a couple where the other half is somewhere between reluctant and oblivious

    I recognize this. And for my own situation I think it's better to focus on what we both do best en thereby gaining together; I wouldn't mind entering his receipts for example, I like spending time on making the budget make sense. Together we can discuss priorities.

    For us, at the moment the thing is party the restrictive feeling budgetting gives him and some privacy as well I guess.. Working on it. But by seduction :-)

    Like 3
      • nomade0
      • Silver_Door.5
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Pony thanks for the tip :)

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      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Pony Yup, I totally agree.  I don't think I ever even read the Join Forces article heh.  If I did it was forever ago.  There ain't no way we're joining forces, as I discussed in the thread I started about budgeting separately as a couple.  This is my realm of expertise at this point, and as long as he helps with all the household chores I totally neglect, we're cool :).

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