Transferring from one account to another, real life delay not able to reflect in YNAB?
I've made an ACH transfer from one of my checking accounts to another. This process takes 3-5 days in real life. Meanwhile, the money has left account #1 and isn't yet in account #2. However, in YNAB, I can't make it leave account #1 without it looking like its immediately available in account #2. If I try to change the arrival date in account #2, it automatically changes the leaving date in account #1.
How the heck do I get this to reflect appropriately?
You're right - a transfer in YNAB doesn't have a limbo like in real life. If you really want to, and you have a lot of these, and you're relying heavily on accurate running balances for cash-flow decisions, you could create your own limbo account.
It would look like this:
Checking A: transfer (-$500) to Limbo on 5/30
Limbo: transfer (+$500) from Checking A on 5/30
Limbo: transfer (-$500) to Checking B on 6/2
Checking B: transfer (+$500) from Limbo on 6/2
You would only have to enter two transactions (one to Limbo from A/one from Limbo to B), but I detailed what each side would look like above.
But... When I do this, I just pick the account where I care more about cash flow and choose the date it will be real in that account.
Up to you how simple or complicated you want to be. 🙂
As has already been mentioned, (and like they said, perhaps your situation requires 2 accounts, I don't know) But once you get used to the fact that categories, and not accounts, determine what the money is for you can combine your accounts, and transferring between them won't be needed any more.
But also as has been mentioned, waiting to clear the transaction until it actually hits the account will tell you what is currently available in that account, just by looking at cleared balance. So if combining accounts isn't an option, at least you can see what your balance is until it clears.
Move Light Sound Life said:
and you're relying heavily on accurate running balances for cash-flow decisions
Since this thread keeps coming up, I think the operative reason for being interested in a work-around is what I quoted above.
It's the running balance, not the cleared balance, that would warrant the extra work.
For me, any discrepancies in running balances and cash-flow projections due to timing happen on the account side where it doesn't matter, so the cleared balance is as accurate as it needs to be.
Now, whether or not the transfers are necessary or account structure will eventually be simplified is up to the OP and their situation. It's always a little exciting when the time comes to streamline efficiency. However, I completely understand the need to simply grasp reality and hold on with both hands until catching on to the rhythm.
Cleared transactions are the transactions which matter. Uncleared transactions allow you to keep track of committed monies.
That is not a YNAB thing, that's a banking thing. If you're using a bank, do the banking thing. You make a transfer transaction and they are committed but unsettled. When they settle, clear them. Stop making it more complicated than it is.
Correct. I was imagining a scenario where a large sum of money was coming into a main checking account from a joint account, and the OP was trying to ensure the running balance wouldn't go negative while waiting for the inflow to actually hit.
For any other situation, I'd increase the account cushion and/or choose the date of the transfer when it would hit the checking account. Joint finances add a layer of complexity, though that may or may not be the concern here.
transaction cannot be recorded in YNAB until it is cleared.
You surprise me.
You take the most conservative number, which means recording outflows as soon as they happen and inflows when they clear.
Is that not the intention of the OP?
Surely the few extra clicks of the limbo account is at least on par with mentally calculating possible future balances and managing a To-Do of transfers to support financial obligations. Maybe your brain is more well-organized than mine. 🙂
Of course, the limbo account is a scaffold to the ideal higher efficiency of a simplified account structure, which is why it's important to give it context. I tend to assume that another, rational adult will search out good practices and continue to improve their situation as they are ready for the next step, whether that's abstractly in YNAB or in their concrete financial life. Joint finances already put things in a kind of limbo anyways - why not represent reality in YNAB instead of pretending they're more simplified than they are?
I think our habitual educational approaches differ from one another. Since that's appropriate, we may have to agree to disagree. Or we could talk pedagogy. 🙃
Move Light Sound Life said:
I could, *perhaps* see removing the money from the budget, like Ceeses said if your finances are only partially joined.
I don't see this. The OP says it is important for them to track the flow of money diligently as they don't have a cushion. So if the money doesn't disappear from the budget during the time the transfer is approved, when they use their categories for spending decisions, the budget will say they can spend the money but they won't be able to find an account that will allow the spending.
I know you could say in that case, you just have to delay the spending. But I don't like breaking the agreement between amount of money in accounts (real accounts) and amount of money in the budget. That's the core of YNAB after all. The fact that the situation lasts only a few days has been discussed before, and the OP said it was important for them to have an accurate view of their money during that short time frame.
Whether one has 2 accounts or 20, that’s irrelevant. The goal is to progress in your budget and improve your financial life, and that’s doable regardless of the number of accounts you have.
Heehee. Actually, I was trying to think of the topics that I would accept the stubborn YNAB forum line on, and this was at the top of my list.
While succeeding with 20 accounts is certainly *doable* with YNAB, you'll get a whole lot more of an impact by simplifying.
The question is - and you don't need to answer here, but do read through that link *edit: I see you did* - why do you have so many accounts?
You'll have leaps and bounds more financial growth if you and your partner have the paradigm shift that occurs from separating categories and accounts.
The limbo you wish for is, as you say, a temporary solution to representing where you are now. If you do allow yourself to grow the YNAB way, you'll soon find it unnecessary.
Move Light Sound Life said:
I mean, I know you're far from going negative, but surely you can imagine the scenario where Account A has $5000, then some near future payments of $6000, and an incoming transfer of another $7000, which means Account B will be lower by $7000, with only $2000 in outflows, but there's no need to transfer more from savings because the dates will all work out.
Give or take some zeros, it doesn't matter. Transfers like these happen in the planning stage, and are usually happening to make sure the cleared balance is ready for that future spending.
You totally lost me in that first paragraph. If you have any transfers into a payment account, you have to take into account the transfer time when making a payment out of the account. I rarely need to do this but when I do, I always allow the transfer time plus a small buffer.
Move Light Sound Life said:
Finally, I'd posit that using a limbo account in YNAB does match reality. They're my dollars, but they're quite literally in limbo between banks. Would I choose to represent that in YNAB? No. I don't want the extra work, and I don't need the precision.
We’ll have to agree to disagree. I find the notion absurd.
All I can tell you is that in my 10+ years of YNABing, transfer times have never been an issue because I don’t let them be. And please don’t ever let me prevent you from going to sleep. ☺️
I won't get into the merits of this request, not something I need but to each their own. The practical problem with this is the link between money in accounts, to be budgeted and $ budgeted. Let's say you have a simple budget:
account A: $1000
account B: $1000
To be budgeted is 0(per the method)
category A: $500
category B: $750
category C: $750
You know transfer $500 from A to B.
under this approach:
Account A is now $500
Account B is $1000 until transfer clears.
Suddenly TBB is ($500) and you can't rely on your category balances or you have to temporarily adjust categories while money is in transit.
The interconnectedness of the accounts, categories and TBB make this a pretty unmanageable feature to implement. Use cleared vs uncleared and running balance to make sure you don't overdraft during the transition period and if you are moving money between a tracking account and a budget account, use two separate transactions instead of a transfer so you can use a different date.