TFSA accounts (Canada)

Hi everyone!  Quick background, I have just started using YNAB last month and I am still on the trial period. 

I am having trouble understanding what is happening within in my budget.  I have two reoccurring transactions, one for a TFSA account and one for an RRSP investment account.  Both of these are set up at the bank to automatically move $50 from my chequing  account twice monthly after my paycheck comes in.  I have also set these up in YNAB as reoccurring transactions.  These transactions have occurred and show up in my account register.  In my budget I show the activity in the RRSP but not in the TFSA.  Currently the TFSA shows up as a Budget account and the RRSP is set up as a Tracking account.  Both of these are set up with monthly goals of $100 each.  Screen shots included.

Anyone have any ideas whats happening?


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  • Transfers between 2 on-budget accounts have no impact on the budget page because all money that is budgeted on the budgeted page comes from the total balances of all on-budget accounts. When you move money between on-budget accounts, no money is entering or leaving the budget so there is no activity to record on the budget page.

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  • I recommend making your TFSA an off-budget tracking account.  You can't spend from a TFSA directly. Even if you are saving in the TFSA with a short-term horizon, you still have to go through the steps of having funds withdrawn and transferred back to a transactional account. (Edited to add: this also ensure you don't move funds around in your budget to cover an overspend and use funds from that registered account, since you really cannot spend them that easily.)

    I have a few registered accounts, all off budget, 1 LIRA, 2 RRSP, 2 TFSA, and 1 non-registered trading account.  All are off-budget tracking accounts.  I use a category in my budget named retirement investing to budget all the funds that will be transferred to those account regardless of the destination account.

  • Thanks for the responses.  HappyDance, I'll give your solution a shot and see how that works.

      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Lars Langtved 


  • I'm a little late to these posts, but I have a conflicting point of view that I need feedback on.

    I currently have a TSFA Tracking account, but having a lump sum dollar amount is meaningless to me -- the insight is the whole purpose to YNAB.
    For instance, I may have $5,000 in my TSFA. But what if I'm using it to save for multiple future expenses like a mortgage, a sexy new car, and a wedding ring.
    The Tracking account doesn't help me track my progress on any of these individual categories, it's only showing me a total balance.

    Should I convert my TFSA Tracking account to a Savings account based on my desired usage, or should I be using it differently?

    • Devon Fazekas I think it's fine to keep a TFSA as a Budget account, as long as you know what you're getting into.

      Specifically, that means:

      • If your TFSA is a regular savings account (with no fluctuating principal balance) that just happens to be tax-free, you don't have to do anything special. Just treat it like any savings account and budget the money.
      • If your TFSA is invested and can lose value due to market fluctuations, you need to have a category in your budget to soak up those fluctuations. (I think it's best not to use that category for anything else.) When you reconcile your TFSA and add an adjustment due to a change in principal value, you can categorize the balance adjustment directly to your "soak up" category.

      Does that sound like it'll work?

      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Devon Fazekas I moved ALL my accounts to budget accounts after a while for exactly the reason you bring up. By having them on budget you can break down the jobs for that money. The other reason to do it is by having them as budget accounts when you move money between the TFSA and non TFSA accounts, you don’t need to categorize. By having the TFSA as a tracking account you need to record a category expense when you move money TO the TFSA and then again when you move it back. Makes sense (maybe)  for a retirement account Or if you are using the TFSA for a single large savings goal like a down payment but I even moved the RESP accounts on budget so I would have finer level of detail of how that money would be used by semester which allowed better planning. All of that to say I am 100% in favour of (almost) ALL accounts being on budget.  

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