Do you combine YNAB with other money management tools?
I am just getting started in YNAB -- coming to the end of my trial month and am really liking it so much. (I wish I had discovered the methods about 25 years earlier. I'm learning effective budgeting shockingly late in my early 50s and with no savings -- although with a house and a steady though tight income.)
I am really just working on getting into the black right now and am not investing in any way except for a tiny IRA that just does its own thing for the most part. I don't know if at any point I'll ever get to the point of having money to invest. But in case I do, I'm just wondering what tools folks here use to manage all the parts of the financial picture outside of just budgeting?
I've read a lot of references to Personal Capital and Mint (both free). I'm wondering if at a certain point it will make sense to use both YNAB and one of those tools?
I use YNAB for my overall picture by putting my remaining assets and retirement accounts in as tracking accounts. I like watching my net worth grow over time. I don't think Mint can do much for you but Personal Capital is pretty good for showing you an overview of all your accounts. You can see a little more detail into your investments there. I also keep a spreadsheet to track all my investment accounts so I can watch over my overall stock/bond allocation and keep it in line.
Don't feel bad about discovering YNAB late. It can still make a big difference for you. I didn't discover it until my mid 40s during a divorce also with no savings outside my retirement accounts but it has made a huge difference for me in the ensuing years. Better late than never!
I only use YNAB. One reason for this is because I want to keep it simple and only do everything once. (I do however keep a very basic excel sheet of my investments & net worth that I check on quarterly).
My dad has used excel for budgeting for many many years. He has started to use YNAB recently so that mom can actually see what’s going on with the budget. His budget was so complicated nobody but him really knew what it said. Well, he’s stubborn and won’t move over to 100% YNAB. That is caused this big confusing mess of a budget that mom has to sort through to see how much she can spend at Hobby Lobby.
My advice is just commit 100% to YNAB.
I used first Mint, and now Personal Capital to track my investments because I've decided that manually updating investment accounts balances in YNAB, even once or twice a year, is not worth my time given that the money is for a long time from now. So I do not track anything in YNAB at all that I can't immediately use. I have only two tracking accounts: my HSA, and the travel funds I am given each year for my job. I similarly don't track my mortgage or other installment loans beyond having a category for their payments in my budget.
That being said, when you have more money in more places, you might find that an additional aggregator is useful. Tools like Personal Capital can show you things like your asset allocation or can automatically update things like remaining mortgage principal. But if right now the money is fairly simple, as you describe, I would suggest keeping the management of it simple as well and just putting all the accounts in YNAB. As you grow your investments, you can later decide if you'd like something else in addition.
I used to keep up with a Personal Capital account, but I don't think I've logged in for the last 6-12 months. Like everyone is said, it's a handy way to have more insight into investments and such. I've just decided that I have my retirement accounts set up how I want them, and I wouldn't change anything based on anything I would find there, so I just haven't looked at it, which means that it hasn't updated anything either. That means that the value of logging in is diminished, cause it'll be a sudden jump and I wonder be able to see any trends.
Another tool that's pretty popular around here is undebt.it and another similar one where you can stimulate and track different debt payoff strategies.
Personally I keep a couple of spreadsheets to track some financial goals. One had a disease sheet for each of the goals I'm tracking and let's me see a percentage over time.
The second is a debt pay down chart per year with a few graphs that are pretty to look at.
Well, I definitely combine. I've used YNAB for 10 years and Quicken/Banktivity for nearly 25. I've started using Personal Capital in just the past few months, in a limited capacity. It's fun. Mint is garbage last I checked, many years ago. I'm just kinda oldschool in that I like to keep all my historical financial records on my hard drive going back to the 1990's, and that was only possible with local financial software. To track investments I use Banktivity (like Quicken, but for Macs), I use some brokerage websites (Schwab, Fidelity) for their various tools, and Pers. Cap.
My advice is not to get too ahead of yourself right now. Definitely get several months of YNAB under your belt. Once you start to get into a habit of putting money aside for true expenses, seeing your debt whittle away, and gaining more clarity on your cash flow situation, then you can start thinking about retirement planning. It should definitely be a goal. Personal Capital is handy in its quickie Retirement planner checkup, but there's lots of similar calculators at bankrate.com, and most brokerages.
Good luck and keep at it!
YNAB and undebt.it for me. Mint doesn't really do anything YNAB doesn't. I used it before I found YNAB and have basically ignored it ever since. Undebt.it gives me pretty graphs and projections for paying off debts (currently just my car), as well as credit utilization and such which are handy to look at now and then.
Spreadsheets, where I can calculate anything I want. Mostly for investments and doing advanced calculations for monthly averages, variance and overages of some categories.
I used personal capital at one point, but canceled for 2 reasons.
1) They had trouble characterizing a 401k investment and never got it right, which left my asset allocation data useless.
2) They were always trying to sell me on their management services, and it was too annoying.
I had been using MS Money for years, but after I started with YNAB and was doing double entry for awhile, I just stopped without realizing it, and without missing it (except on occasion).