5 Year Forecast

I have been creating a 5 year budget and forecast using Excel for many years and am looking to use YNAB to do this now. Is there an option to forecast and budget for more than a month at a time - more like years at a time?

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  • YNAB is to budget the money you currently hold right now. So if you have 5 years worth of money you can budget it in each month over the next 5 years if you feel like it (note it's probably not a good use of your time). If you don't have the money right now in your accounts to cover the next 5 years, then you can't budget for 5 years in YNAB.

    Now, why do I think it is a waste of your time to do a 5 years budget: there is no way it will ever happen as you have planned. It could be because of Murphy visiting you but more simply, your priorities will change. Maybe you'll want more tech. or maybe less. Or maybe you'll also want to change how much you spend on eating out etc. 

    I have done some long-term forecasting: we bought a new house and we wanted to know whether we could keep the old one or not. And whether it would be financially better. So we looked at the numbers over 15-20 years but we only looked at mortgage and rent forecasts, not the whole detailed budget.

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  • Hi Alovelyb !

    YNAB is designed around the YNAB Method. Budgeting only with the dollars you have on hand is at the core, which is why you won't see forecasting functionality in YNAB.

    Forecasting has its place, but we have found that it can interfere with the benefit you get from budgeting, because it takes the focus away from making the best decisions with the dollars you have right now. We talk more about this in our Think Long, Act Now Guide and this Why We Don't Forecast Whiteboard Wednesday.

    We do recognize that looking forward is important, though. Upcoming Transactions and Goals will help you plan ahead while keeping you focused on the here and now.  When you have a moment, read our How To Create a Budget Template blog post or take a look at the Create a Budget Template Workshop. 

    If you still want to experiment with the numbers in your budget, you can create a separate 'Test' budget to see where you stand and take a look at scenarios you want to create.

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