Tracking debt not associated with an account?

TL;DR, is there a way for me to track money I will owe as it accumulates when it's not associated with an account I can reconcile?

So I'm going to have to go on unpaid leave from my job in the near future, which is going to mean work will put me in arrears for not paying my contribution to the benefits. Historically, I might could have paid for those benefits as they accrued, or periodically, by sending in a check, but there's a pandemic and no one is in the office to deal with a check, so taking the money out of my paycheck when I come back is the way this is going to work out.

I'd like to track how much I'll owe work (and thus how much will be taken out of my paychecks). I know (or can calculate) how much I'll owe per paycheck. But I don't know starting when or for how long. And as far as I can tell, there won't be somewhere I can log in and see how much work thinks I owe them. 

How can I do this in YNAB?

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  • This night be an instance where I'd get a separate savings account (or sub account, depending on your institution). 

    You then have two choices: 

    1) Keep it on budget, and sync your arrears category to it 

    2) Make it a tracking account.

    I'm sure others will disagree with me, but I'd rather have the scheduled transactions keeping me on track and account register showing me the record. 

    If it were just a category that's not synced with any account, the only way I'd have guidance or a record of contributions would be through goals (which I don't trust unequivocally) and the money moves view, which resets after 30 days.

    So, I'd recommend a separate register. 

    • Move Light Sound Life If I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying to create a (real life) separate account and move money to it according to how much I owe?  That would make sense.

      But. I don't actually have that money available, and with the lack of pay during my leave, I definitely won't. (Well, technically I do, but it's sitting in investments, and my understanding is it's better to keep it there than move it to a savings account, even a HY one.) As WordTenor guessed, actually budgeting for it would make my unpaid leave finances too tight, without dipping into the investments.

      What I'm looking to do is track the accumulating debt, without having a pay back plan right now. If that makes sense conceptually?

    • Fuzzball Meows Actually, given how much my husband saved for funeral/death expenses, I suspect the money will actually come from that, but he's adamant that we keep that much set aside for funeral/death expenses. So I can't reassign it until after he's dead and I've dealt with the body and death certificates and whatever else.

      So still looking to track the accumulating debt without a repayment plan 🤷‍♀️

  • Can you just budget for it, or will that make your unpaid leave finances too tight? Each month you're on unpaid leave, as you're making your budget, part of the budget is "money I will pay back work." Then when you go back, you supplement the drop in pay by drawing from that category. 

    But you also can just create a tracking account and have a scheduled transaction fire once a month putting you more and more into the negative, and then have a scheduled transaction fire once per month when you return to work to bring it back to zero. 

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    • Move Light Sound Life Fuzzball Meows I second (third?) this method! I think this will be the easiest way to track the balance owed ticking up without complicating the budget too much 😊

    • Fuzzball Meows I also really like the tracking account method for any complex reimbursement situation. It allows for adjusting if parts of the loan are forgiven (or worked off in non-monetary ways).

      Then, you'll still have that funeral/death expense money, if needed, as income replacement to reassign on the budget side of things. 

  • That... makes sense. I think I'd do it biweekly, though, since that's how often the paychecks come out and that way if anything changes I can adjust more easily.

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  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    Historically, I might could have paid for those benefits as they accrued, or periodically, by sending in a check,

     If you were doing this, you'd need real money, but you're not! 🙂

    Hugs on the situation. You're doing great.

    • Move Light Sound Life True, but that could come out of the PFMLA or "whoops, I didn't realize I wouldn't spend my normal amount on x this month." Or, you know, accrue arrears when I don't have the money. 😄

      I feel like I'm flailing and not doing well, so it's great to know that from the outside it looks like I'm doing great. 😂

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  • Brains are weird. I've totally heard about the reimbursement account method, and somehow that didn't even occur to me for this situation. Whoops.

    Marisa said:
    Then, you'll still have that funeral/death expense money, if needed, as income replacement to reassign on the budget side of things. 

     I mean, unless he's right about how much I'll need! Maybe there are some expenses I am not thinking about that will be much higher than expected. (Considering that I've looked into it and didn't just pick an arbitrary number, I doubt it, but to be fair, I haven't actually had to deal with anyone dying before.)

    But yeah, that's the plan - whatever is left over in that category goes into the income replacement category.

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