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17 Jun 2015

Why We Don’t Forecast

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by Jesse Mecham

YNAB is not an accounting system. It is not a forecasting system. YNAB is an allocation system. We are incredibly intentional about that. And it drives every facet of our software development. (Stay with me, this isn’t as boring as that intro would lead you to believe!) Here’s what I mean:

Accounting is compliance. While YNAB has some accounting function (reconciling your accounts, etc.), that is not its sole purpose.

Forecasting is conjecture. A lot of YNABers want to forecast (in fact, this post was inspired by a popular thread on the YNAB Forum about forecasting), and while forecasting is not bad, it allows you to forecast away your concerns. Forecasting removes scarcity, because you can solve everything with future money. Except it is all speculation. That future money may or may not come about the way you imagined or it may not come at all that is how a lot of people get in trouble.

Allocation is confidence. With an allocation system, like YNAB, you have clarity around the purpose of a finite amount of money. It brings peace of mind. An allocation system is how you can truly change the way you think about and manage your money. Confidence.


If you can’t wait until next week for more whiteboard wisdom, you can view the entire library here. If you have a question or an idea you’d like us to address in a future Whiteboard Wednesday episode – we’d love to hear from you! Email us at [email protected]

Until next time…

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)


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