Yellow traffic light (signal)

What does a yellow traffic light or signal mean? 

There is a serious post, although some may doubt that. I'd like to hear from the community on their answers to the question before tossing in my two cents. 

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  • Caution.  Basically a warning that the light is about to turn red, and you need to be prepared.  Some take it as a sign to speed up and beat the red light.  Some take it as a sign to slow down and be ready to stop before the light turns red.

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

      Bruce can you explain more on what you mean by 'Caution'?

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  • It is a warning that the light is going to change to something that requires you to yield or stop. So you need to make a decision whether you can safely stop in time, or pay additional attention to the potential for cars entering the intersection so that you can safely proceed.

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    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 7 mths ago
    • Reported - view
    nolesrule said:
    you need to make a decision w

     That's what I'm thinking, you decide. I'd say the same is true for yellow categories. That's not the same as slow down, you might speed up. 

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      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ben Khaki Storm a yellow traffic light always means the light is about to turn red. Yellow categories could mean different things--underfunded  goals, overspending on a credit card, or goals that were funded but spent from or a decision was already made to WAM from them.

      Reply Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 7 mths ago
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      Ben Khaki Storm Depends on the reason it's yellow. Some of them are the result of missing a goal which might not matter (especially with the limited goal types), while others will lead to red or credit card debt.

      Reply Like 1
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 7 mths ago
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      Ben Khaki Storm yellow categories are more like a yellow traffic light that sometimes will turn red and sometimes will turn green. You can't make a decision until you know which it is.

      Reply Like 2
    •  In the YNAB toolkit you can make your "didn't fulfill my goal yet" category light blue. I like that. I fund my goals in the second half of the month, but that's the plan, so the blue makes it feel less aggressive. Then the orange/yellow is reserved for "warning! Overspending!"

      Reply Like 3
  • Warning, caution, be alert, prepare to change plans, it could be worded in various ways. How I act in response depends on my circumstances--how far am I from the intersection, what's my safe stopping distance with the current road conditions, other traffic. It requires a judgement call & different people will make different calls (though some are clearly wrong)

    Reply Like 1
  • Where does YNAB have a yellow light?

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

      Cadet Blue Nomad The budget categories with goals are red, yellow, and green.

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
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      Ben Khaki Storm Colours can be subjective but most of us refer to it as orange.

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

      monkeyhanger I'll agree it's not banana yellow, but it's not tangerine orange either. How about calling it yellow-orange?

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

      Ben Khaki Storm 

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
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      Ben Khaki Storm You are entitled to call it what you like. I’ll stick to orange. Not only is it what my eyes see, it’s what the YNAB support docs say so much less confusion that way. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Cadet Blue Nomad monkeyhanger Ben Khaki Storm

      The color of your Available amount signals when action or attention is needed to keep you on track—or just to remind you that you're doing great! Officially, we refer to it as orange. We have an article in our  HelpDocs that goes over the different colors and Icons in your Budget!

      Fun fact: In our color palette, it is referred to as Jaffa. 😉

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

      Nicole at YNAB monkeyhanger my idea behind the post was hit on well by nolesrule It doesn't mean stop, it all depends on your situation and the importance of the goal. Also good comments from adriana01 and many others. It was just you have a conversation to get people in the community thinking. 

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    • Ben Khaki Storm Right, I've had that disabled since day 0 because I do not require a technicolor extravaganza to distract me from what I'm tying to do.  Fewer colors help me concentrate on what I'm doing and I'm not always "doing" my budget category goals, that's just once a month.

      Reply Like 2
  • I have an issue with this color also--basically that the color for credit overspending and goal shortfall are the same. Look at the clip below and tell me which category is overspent. I hate that looking at my budget, I cannot quickly see where I need to make an adjustment! (yes, I know, the little pop-up when I make a transaction tells me so, but usually I don't move money around until the next morning.) 

    My request would be to change the color for Goals to blue or purple. Goals are aspirational and a color associated with caution doesn't really fit (as well as the overlap mentioned above). I don't mind the orange/gold/yellow for credit overspending as much as that it doesn't stand out to me as being in need of attention. (and no, I don't want to use a browser extension to make this happen.)

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

      MacGsMom yes, that's annoying, I agree. 

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
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      MacGsMom Well, the - sign tells you which are overspent. However, I do agree with you.  Which is why, I use the Toolkit which allows you to colour goals that are not met blue and leave credit overspending orange.

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

      MacGsMom I'm looking into the toolkit's (I know you didn't want to use it):

      Goal Indicator Warning Color

      Change the orange goal underfunded warning to blue, to better differentiate it from credit card overspending.

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      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      MacGsMom they added the icons at some point, but I have a hard time distinguishing between some of them. I use the Toolkit for this, but I also would rather see it be the native behavior because the Toolkit doesn't modify the app.

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    • Hi MacGsMom !

      The exclamation point over the credit card icon is meant to indicate credit card overspending, so it's the transportation category that's overspent. We added the icons to make that clearer because we wanted to keep one color for "Needs Attention" in the Available column. The calendar icon means there's not enough money Available to cover an upcoming transaction and the pie chart is meant to show progress on a category balance by date goal. :)

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      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness the icons are not distinct enough, and the sort of attention each needs is different (credit card overspending must be dealt with immediately, Underfunded upcoming transactions should be dealt with before the transaction happens, but the goals don't need immediate attention and I may already have made the decision not to fund it for that month.

      Reply Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      adriana01 totally agree,  maybe a different shape altogether would help. 

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    • adriana01 Thank you for the feedback! The thought process there is "budgeting more funds" is the attention needed, but I understand how that can be seen differently depending on the situation. Thank you for adding in! :)

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    • Faness I would like to voice the opinion to not complicated the messaging that something requires attention. 

      I consider these dashboard idiot lights and not vehicle diagnostics output. The exercise required to answer why a light it on keeps me more in tune with my budget.  I think that's one of the goals here, to avoid mindless autopilot operations.

      Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Cadet Blue Nomad The problem is there's just too many reasons, so having loads of categories saying they need some attention and requiring further research when they really don't eventually causes someone to just tune it out. Asking yourself why a category is yellow for the 5th time in a month is mind-numbing, and the natural reaction is going to be to ignore it eventually.

      If you are budgeting paycheck to paycheck and using monthly funding goals, you could have almost all yellow categories for a good chunk of the month. It's just not helpful.

      Different colors for different causes would be more helpful, so that way the user will pay attention to tones important to their personal situation and ignore the ones that are noise.

      Reply Like 3
      • Jeff Reetz
      • Electrical Engineer
      • jefflilj
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      norules is exactly right. 

      I have goals setup for things like groceries, eating out, household supplies, etc. basically things that don’t have a scheduled transaction and are random throughout the month. My goal is what my budget can handle from last months paychevks (I also put the amount in the name of category, like groceries $800).  

      However, if I am tracking to be under this, but going over budget on something else, I WAM moving money around. Problem is now my grocery budget is yellow/orange as it doesn’t meet the goal, but I don’t need the full $800 that month. And every time I look at the budget I have to keep checking to see why it is orange. But efficient. 

      So I started lowering my goal amounts to a low number so at the beginning of a month I see all orange and then fully fund each category to the amount I have in the category name. That way when I need to WAM, it doesn’t turn orange. 

      I shouldn’t have to do something like this. Different colors would be way more intuitive and efficient. 

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      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      All orange leads to decision fatigue.

      These orange categories are more like the check engine light that was always on in my sister's car. She brought into the shop multiple times thinking something was drastically wrong before they figured out it was a fault in the light, not something in the engine that caused the light. Therefore for as long as she had that car, she could never tell if the light was on for a reason or because of the faulty wiring.

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

      Jeff Reetz This is where @patzer 's  template goal would come in useful. I tend to just not use goals for these circumstances. I also put the amount in the category name, budget that at the beginning of the month and then forget about it. It does help that I am able to budget a whole month at once.

      Reply Like 2
      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      adriana01 The faulty engine light is an excellent analogy. I've been ignoring those icons from day 2.

      Reply Like 1
    • nolesrule I suppose but that's not the case for me.

      I'm old fashioned and budget next month.  I just hope it doesn't turn into a kaleidoscope of noisy color distractions.  Idiot lights are there for a reason and they would be wise to keep them on the subtler side because people can tune out a page of 12 colors just as easily.

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

      Cadet Blue Nomad Humans are very good at selectively tuning out when there is something obvious they can key off. A quick glance at color would be an obvious selection. The icons are too subtle when in combination with a single color.

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    • JoeDid great point.

      But we create our own lights.

       

      If they are faulty, doesn't that just say it's being misused?

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