We've Been Waiting Six Months To Write This Post

We won’t drag it out any further…. Full Migration! It’s here! Full Migration is here!

We know some of you have been waiting a long time. And any way you slice it, the waiting was our fault.

You see, we’ve been waiting six months to tell you that migrating your budget from YNAB 4 is quick, easy, and available to everyone. We just had to make sure, before we wrote this, that statement was actually, you know, true.

Today Is The Day

If you have a budget in YNAB 4 that just works for you, you can bring it with you. If you have years of history in YNAB 4 that you’re desperate to bring with you to the new YNAB, now you can. The rest of this post may only be interesting to YNAB die-hards, but for what it is worth, here is a short history of the how and why of Full Migration and how we got to today:


When we launched the new YNAB, we were determined that the ability to migrate your budget from YNAB 4 would be a part of it. Determination is a pretty positive quality. In this case, though, it may have clouded our judgment.

We launched migration and—in technical terms—it was a disaster. It took much too long to perform the full re-calculation of each budget that was being migrated. For everyone else using YNAB, and we mean everyone, that meant a slower YNAB, and a slow YNAB is not a good experience. For many of you, when it was working at all, the migration process itself took way too long, or stalled halfway. For a much smaller number of you who (miraculously!) did manage to migrate your budgets, we didn’t provide support that was helpful in understanding the changes to your budget.

So we made the difficult decision to shut it down. Just days after launch.

We apologized, but that wasn’t good enough. And we were determined to get it right.

Making it Work

And that’s been the bulk of the last six months: Making it work, explaining it much more clearly when it does, and taking the time to thoroughly test both.

The process of migration itself was actually pretty solid all along. The problem was that it took so long to perform the full calculations necessary that our entire system would grind to a halt. So we went to work on speed.

The details aren’t super important, and if you’re not really into math, well, you’ll glaze over. Let’s just say we settled on a new sequence for performing calculations and much better ways to hold the temporary data needed as a part of that process.

(Ever try to hold two numbers in your head while you open up a calculator app? It’s taxing, right? But it’s only the end-result you’re interested in.)

So YNAB got a whole lot faster. About 2,677% faster for fully calculating a well-established budget. Not a typo—2,677% faster.

Making Sense Of It All

Getting your YNAB 4 budget into the new YNAB was one thing. Having it make sense when you opened it was another.

You see, YNAB now handles a few things differently than YNAB 4 did. Overspending is treated differently—it can’t be ignored indefinitely, and cash and credit overspending get different treatment. Future-dated transactions no longer impact your budget. Credit cards are completely different—we actually treat them as debt now! All changes we made to make YNAB simpler and better align the software and method.

And all changes that can make a migrated budget look very different than it looked in YNAB 4.

So now, when you migrate a budget, we’ll highlight these differences for you. We’ve got side-by-side videos of YNAB 4 and web-based YNAB that show simple examples.

In the end, everything you did in YNAB 4 (transactions and budgeting) will be exactly the same, and your money will all be there. If it isn’t where you expected it to be, well, we’ve got a handy feature for moving money around.

Test & Verify

Before our January launch, we tested the migration feature. It worked. But the test group was too small, and our infrastructure hadn’t really been put to the test. Once it hit the prime time of thousands of signups a day, migration fell flat.

This time around we tested and tested and tested more deeply. We watched some individual YNAB users go through the process, and learned from their confusion. We load-tested full calculations in other ways, and it was faster – and the new speeds really held up.

And then, when we were ready to release, we let it go wild. To ten people. When that went well, we added seventeen more. We watched those budgets. We asked those users for feedback. We checked the load on the servers again. And again. And another time.

And then we repeated that process over the last two weeks until all YNAB users had access.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been testing and beta testing for years. But this has been new, different—and better.

For The Future

All this to say—you’ve had to wait and we are sorry about that—but we’re pretty happy about the silver lining. Full Migration is much better. And we’ve also got a much better process to ensure all our new features roll out more effectively. And we’ve got some rolling out to do.

So, if you want to bring your old budget to the new YNAB, fire up YNAB 4. Head for the File menu and you’ll be off and running—you can even create a new YNAB account right from there. If you’ve already been budgeting in the new YNAB, that works too, we’ll bring your new budget in as a separate budget—no merging here. Use it, keep it for history, consider a fresh start, it’s up to you. Just keep budgeting.