Tracking Investment Accounts

Because their dollars aren't included in your categories, it's not necessary to add your investment accounts to your budget. But, if you're looking for a bit more granularity while keeping track of your net worth, they can be a valuable inclusion. You've got two options to track and organize your investments in YNAB – the key is whether or not you add the account in YNAB.

Method 1: Keep it Simple

To grow your investments, all you need to do is make sure you're budgeting for your contributions. You don't need to worry about tracking the account in YNAB, keeping tabs on market fluctuations, or anything like that. Just. Make. The. Contribution.

1
Create a category to budget for your investment contributions.
2
Don't add a 401k, IRA, or other investment account in YNAB. (That was easy!)
3
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the simplicity of having not set up your 401k, IRA, or other investment in YNAB.
4
Budget for your contribution each month by assigning money to that category you created in Step 1, and record the outflow in your spending account register when it happens. That's it!

Method 2: More Data, More Effort

Sometimes, you want to track it all. More power to you! This method requires more effort, but you do get the satisfaction of watching your investment account balances change in your Net Worth Report 📈

Speaking of reports—while Tracking accounts can be included in your Net Worth report, they are not included in the Spending or Income v Expense reports. That's because income/expenses in tracking accounts don't impact your budget, which is why we typically recommend Method 1 here. But if you're committed to the data, read on!

1
Create a category to budget for your investment contribution.
2
Add your 401k, IRA, or other investment account in YNAB as an unlinked account (selecting  Asset as the account type), with the current value of the account as the starting balance.
3
Budget for your contribution each month by assigning money to that category.
4
When it's time to invest, add a transfer transaction from your spending account to the investment account. Categorize it with the category you created step 1. Create a repeating Scheduled Transaction to save yourself time in the future!
5
Update the account balance like this as it changes, or as frequently as you’d like.

Extra Credit

Hannah offers two solutions for funding your tracking accounts, depending on whether you're budgeting for the contribution, or if it is taken out of your paychecks. You'll notice some visual updates in the app since this video was created, but the method remains the same!

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