Do you connect all your student loans?

I'm wondering if anyone with student loans connects all of them into YNAB, or if you just do a few at a time and work on them? I've put all my student loans in, and it feels a little overwhelming to see all those negative red numbers down the side. 

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  • I didn't used to. I used to just have a category that I'd put the money I budgeted toward them in, but now I've put them all in as a way to hold myself accountable. I tend to forget about things, including my outstanding debts, if I can't see them. Out of sight, out of mind, y'know.

    It's definitely overwhelming to see all that red. It makes me want to be an ostrich again, to put my head in the sand and forget about the debts that no one's calling me out on. But now I get excited at the prospect of making the red disappear. I do a little happy dance every time I make a payment that makes those red numbers a little bit smaller. You'll get there too, eventually, I hope. :D

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    • Ben
    • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
    • furiousfalcon
    • 1 yr ago
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    At least in my case, I've generally kept them out of YNAB while the loans are huge, to prevent that "overwhelmed" feeling. Once they got down to a more reasonable amount where I feel like I'm getting closer to paying them off (for me, about 10k or so), I've added them to the budget.

    It's definitely a balancing act, because once you get over the overwhelmed feeling, confronting reality and looking honestly at your debt may also be motivating, and you may find that seeing those red numbers consistently helps you pay them off faster.

    You'll just have to figure out what works best for you.

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  • I put them in, along with all my other non-mortgage debt. Its a lot. Like I just got under 100K - a lot.  I get a kick out of the total debt number shrinking. 

    I'm using that debt total to track my progress over the year.  I've paid a fair amount off and I wasn't tracking it, so all that progress seems a bit lost. 

    One caveat, and I'm not sure if I'm doing anything wrong - but I end up manually reconciling the student loan amounts on a monthly basis.  The payments have a small portion of interest that doesn't impact the amount left on the student loan.  Overall, I recommend the tracking.  

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  • I have every single account, debt/investment/bank/credit/HSA added.  Sometimes I have to manually adjust them in the tracking accounts, but I want to know to the penny what I'm worth.  Watching that net worth climb steadily these past 2 years has motivated me to keep attacking and not slack off.  May of this year I hit a positive net worth for the first time in my adult life and January 2018 I should hit a positive net worth that doesn't factor in retirement investments, just pure cash accounts/bank accounts.  Progress is being made!!  But it was terrible the first year+ to be so deep in the red, but I did it anyways to keep myself accountable.

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  • Nope. I have a plan for paying off my loan and I execute that plan through its category. YNAB requires more input that I want to give it to have an accurate net worth number, so I don't track my full net worth in YNAB. 

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  • someone on here, who is long time Ynaber, suggested removing your student loans at first, because it keeps you discouraged.   i thought about this for awhile, and i just removed mine.  it has lifted a mental load, and now i am to better focus on my savings and consumer debt.  i still have my loan payments coming out of my scheduled transactions, but i don't have it in the off-budget or budget categories.  when i pay my consumer debt almost to zero, i will then add the loans back on.

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  • I think the two main advantages of tracking student loans in YNAB are to have an accurate picture of your net worth or to see what's happening if paying down those loans are your priority. For me neither of those apply, so I don't track them in YNAB. When I need to know the amount I still owe I check it through the lender websites.

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  • MendingPockets said:
    Sometimes I have to manually adjust them in the tracking accounts, but I want to know to the penny what I'm worth.

     So how do you do this?  I synced up my Student Loans but it doesn't pull in any transactions.  Do you just add a transaction for the payment or do you just adjust the starting balance every time they update it?

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    • VoltaicShock that’s a great question! I go online the day I make a payment and see how much interest accrued since my last payment. I add that amount as an expense transaction to the loan. Then I’ll make an “income” type green transaction for the amount I’m paying that day. Student loans apply your payments to outstanding interest accrued first and then to principle. Adding the accrued interest to my YNAB loan account shows an accurate reflection of how much my payment actually decreased the loan. Mine isn’t pulling in the transactions automatically either, but doing the work manually helps me slow down and consider the full weight of compounding interest. Putting in the time manually causes me to often scrape together just a little more than I thought I could, give up one more little pleasure, etc. for the satisfaction of tracking in YNAB that remaining balance as it diminishes. 😊

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    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    I don't have student loans anymore, but I disconnected all my debts except my mortgage because it just annoyed me.  I enjoy seeing my principal payment tick up each week on the mortgage though, so I kept that one.

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  • eloquentz said:
    I don't have student loans anymore, but I disconnected all my debts except my mortgage because it just annoyed me. 

     I am tempted to do the same or just remove and add it every month so it goes down so I can tell my net-worth.  Thought not sure how I like them saying my retirement is part of my net-worth.  It is and isn't as I am not old enough to take it out without getting penalized or it.

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    • VoltaicShock did you know that in report view you can select which accounts it shows as part of your net worth? Sometimes I select all accounts and sometimes I only choose the “cash” (non-investment) accounts. 

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    • MendingPockets 

      Yeah I just haven't messed around a lot with the reports.  I could keep it and just not include them in the reports.

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    • VoltaicShock yes, exactly. You’ll keep a complete and searchable history of the accounts, but don’t need to see certain numbers in your net worth unless you want to!

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