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Last post Author Topic: YNAB moving to a subscription model  (Read 9962 times)

Jibz

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YNAB moving to a subscription model
« on: January 01, 2016, 07:05:04 AM »
You Need a Budget has been recommended before on DonationCoder. I noticed they changed their business model from $40 to buy the current version, to a subscription model where you pay $5 a month (or $50 a year).

I think one piece of sound advice if you are trying to get your financial situation under control, is to try to limit the number of monthly recurring subscription fees.

Also, I am not a fan of the move to having all your information in the cloud. I rather prefer to have my financial information on my own computer.

There is a long thread on their forum with people voicing their opinions about the change.

40hz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2016, 09:54:06 AM »
I understand them wanting to establish a regular revenue stream. But from my experience, most users aren't at all pleased with the "software as a service" concept. Especially if they're like me and prefer to own rather than rent whatever they're using.

I think YNAB (which I own and think highly of) is making a bit of a mistake with this move. The program pretty much is what it is. The philosophy and approach it teaches doesn't need updating. If anything it's just a nicely presented rework of some solid and classic financial advice. The program is simple and efficient - so it shouldn't require much if any updating to do its job. So I'm not sure what the additional value moving to a subscription revenue model is providing to their customer. Especially since so many people (myself included) are very uncomfortable having their finances stored anywhere other than on their own drive.

I wish them luck. But I'm afraid that unless they can hook up with some financial guru seminar or similar service, and bundle it in as an add-on service, it isn't going to fly.

The sad thing is that although there's a market for personal finance software, nobody seems to be interested in doing it. Because it's essentially a one-off sale. Most users of these packages aren't interested in new features. And without new features, there's no incentive to ever upgrade.

Intuit is looking for someone to take over Quicken right now. They've assured their customers that Intuit is going to make sure whoever takes over it's ongoing support and development will continue to keep Quicken going as a top notch desktop app.

And nobody with an ounce of brains believes Intuit for a single minute.

I'm sure Quicken will shortly be going the way of Microsoft Money, Andrew Tobias's Managing Your Money, and all those other nifty personal finance programs we used to know.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 12:25:08 PM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2016, 01:19:10 PM »
Someone said my views on the switch well:

Quote
I think it's the cost of a cup of coffee a month but getting water in the cup that is troublesome.

I don't mind having some things in the cloud.  But my financial information?  I want it in as few places as possible.  And with all that they have access to?

I'm not a glass half-full or half-empty kind of guy.  I just think that what they're serving is piss.

Thankfully, I have never gotten into using the mobile app, so as long as Air works on the latest and greatest operating system, I'm fine.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2016, 03:13:22 PM »
I'm starting to get myself in a bit of hot water lately but I don't wish any company "luck" without other things behind it.

I'm getting meta lately so of *any* category of software, for *financial* software devs to get all "I'm bored, we're low on funds, let's go all Saas because the cool kids are doing it" is ... NOT who I want anywhere near my money! It's close to the ONE category you can't do that on and I haven't even checked the six-plus sets of relevant accounting law.

You can play all those games with Gaming, Photo, Music, whatever applications, but when real money shows up beyond "a purchase" the rules change and all the cool kid tricks become illegal.


wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2016, 04:52:46 PM »
Illegal is a bit hyperbolic isn't it?  I don't think there are any legalities that cover this type of software that they might even run afoul of unless I'm misinformed?

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 08:18:35 PM »
I don't mind having some things in the cloud.  But my financial information?  I want it in as few places as possible.  And with all that they have access to?

But doesn't your bank, credit card company etc. already keep your financial information in the cloud anyway? What these cloud-based services seem to do is pull the data and aggregate it in a read-only form (i.e. it should not be possible for a hacker to execute transactions, should 'only' be able to read info in one place which otherwise might not be in one place).

I'm in the market for a PC-based or cloud-based personal financial management solution. One thing in favour of a cloud-based system is that it is accessible from any device (for me this mainly means my work PC or my Chromebook), rather than being tied to my home PC, which is not always on.

How do PC-based apps like Intuit store your data pulled from your bank etc. accounts? Doesn't it pass (and is stored) in their cloud somehow before they aggregate it in your desktop software? I don't know, I'm asking, trying to get my head around this category of software.

I was thinking of aggregating my various bank account and credit card data manually, but it just seems such a waste of time, and if I want to share it with my significant other, then I might put it into a Google Sheet, in which case it's in the cloud again.

It seems to me that the first step is to aggregate all the various account data as quickly and as painlessly as possible, so that the more valuable process of budgeting can begin. So, don't all these software somehow gather the data via clouds one way or another?

I'm also wary of using a Yodlee-based cloud service, on the other hand the service they provide is invaluable, as it would be a nightmare to aggregate all this data manually on a daily or even a monthly basis.

So, what is there to lose and gain one way or another (using a PC-based vs. cloud-based personal finance software)?

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 08:33:03 PM »
Yeah, so to answer one of my questions, I was looking at the free "Money Dashboard" (a Yodlee-based service), and wondering "How does Money Dashboard make money?" and found:

Quote
Money Dashboard may offer suggestions for products and services like credit cards, home loan offers or insurance providers that can save you money. If you select a product based on our suggestion, Money Dashboard may receive a fee from the product provider.

Money Dashboard also provides insight and market research services to help companies better understand trends in consumer behaviour. We identify shifts in consumer preferences using anonymised spending information from groups of Money Dashboard users.

We guarantee that Money Dashboard will never share any personally identifiable data with a third party without our users express permission.

I don't like the sound of that. I'd rather pay a subscription fee, if I can be confident that I'm not being cross-selled and advertised to and my personal data is not being sold on. Maybe I should check out YNAB then?

wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 10:12:14 PM »
But doesn't your bank, credit card company etc. already keep your financial information in the cloud anyway? What these cloud-based services seem to do is pull the data and aggregate it in a read-only form (i.e. it should not be possible for a hacker to execute transactions, should 'only' be able to read info in one place which otherwise might not be in one place).

There are stringent regulations that apply to their systems and their use of the information.  A vendor like this?  Not so much.  That's the difference, see?  The financial systems keep your information on their computers and on their networks.  That's not the same as the "Cloud".  Replace "Cloud" with "Someone else's computers", and see how much you trust them then...

How do PC-based apps like Intuit store your data pulled from your bank etc. accounts? Doesn't it pass (and is stored) in their cloud somehow before they aggregate it in your desktop software? I don't know, I'm asking, trying to get my head around this category of software.

That's simple.  I don't use those services.  Which was one of the reasons that I liked YNAB.  I download the data from the bank- manually- then import it into the software.  I am the middleman, and it's not stored anywhere.

So, what is there to lose and gain one way or another (using a PC-based vs. cloud-based personal finance software)?

Your financial data and security.  Because what you look at as an inconvenience, I look at as a necessary security measure.  And my wife already has access to my records through other means.  I don't need it in the cloud to facilitate that.  And if you think that only having read only access to financial information can't cause chaos... think in a little wider box.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 10:17:28 PM by wraith808 »

superboyac

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 10:25:31 PM »
I understand them wanting to establish a regular revenue stream. But from my experience, most users aren't at all pleased with the "software as a service" concept. Especially if they're like me and prefer to own rather than rent whatever they're using.

I think YNAB (which I own and think highly of) is making a bit of a mistake with this move. The program pretty much is what it is. The philosophy and approach it teaches doesn't need updating. If anything it's just a nicely presented rework of some solid and classic financial advice. The program is simple and efficient - so it shouldn't require much if any updating to do its job. So I'm not sure what the additional value moving to a subscription revenue model is providing to their customer. Especially since so many people (myself included) are very uncomfortable having their finances stored anywhere other than on their own drive.

I wish them luck. But I'm afraid that unless they can hook up with some financial guru seminar or similar service, and bundle it in as an add-on service, it isn't going to fly.

The sad thing is that although there's a market for personal finance software, nobody seems to be interested in doing it. Because it's essentially a one-off sale. Most users of these packages aren't interested in new features. And without new features, there's no incentive to ever upgrade.

Intuit is looking for someone to take over Quicken right now. They've assured their customers that Intuit is going to make sure whoever takes over it's ongoing support and development will continue to keep Quicken going as a top notch desktop app.

And nobody with an ounce of brains believes Intuit for a single minute.

I'm sure Quicken will shortly be going the way of Microsoft Money, Andrew Tobias's Managing Your Money, and all those other nifty personal finance programs we used to know.
this happens so much, where are the pressures coming from?  as a person who dabbles in this sort of business, it feels like if you don't do these kinds of things (saas, bloat, etc) then you won't be able to survive.  the optimist in me wants someone to tell me that that is not the case, and there are other ways.  but i'd like to be convinced of it.

40hz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2016, 10:39:41 PM »
I don't use bank integration features at all. I log onto my bank's secure portal, then generate and pull down a file of any activity I need to import. It's a slight extra bit of effort for a huge amount more security.

But I also tend to manually key in my transactions on a regular basis so I seldom need to import anything.

wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2016, 10:45:58 PM »
this happens so much, where are the pressures coming from?  as a person who dabbles in this sort of business, it feels like if you don't do these kinds of things (saas, bloat, etc) then you won't be able to survive.  the optimist in me wants someone to tell me that that is not the case, and there are other ways.  but i'd like to be convinced of it.

I think that 40 laid out the problem in many industries which push them to it.  Certain types of software are what they are, and you pay for them once, and then don't care about them.  So, the revenue stream dries up.  There has to be some impetus for your user base to purchase continually, or you find that you're pulling your money out of a well that has a very real bottom.  You have a few options at that point. 

One is to provide features and be very responsive to your user base, so that when you release an upgrade, they'll buy.  In all realities, that's a subscription.  But one that doesn't lock the users in, and relies on a lot of work.  Directory Opus is a good example of that.  The price is high... because you're paying for years of use, and there's no real reason to come back- at least for a while.  One of the things that people say about YNAB consistently is the fact that the price is a steal.  It is.  And their reducing revenue is a result of selling it so cheaply.

The second is to provide some sort of add on service - needed, or perceived to be needed.  AV software does this.  It's not the purchase of the AV that's the big expenditure- it's the subscription over years.

The third is to take the software out of the users' hands.  SaaS.  It takes comparatively little to implement.  And you can have a steady revenue stream if your users buy into it.

I think, however, that the implementation is the difference.  Evernote did it... and for better or worse, they changed their whole business when it happened.  They lost customers.  But they continue to add value, to the point where even though I have options like RightNote and MyInfo, I stick with Evernote.

From what people are saying, not only do you have lock-in with mYNAB, it is not fully featured and half-baked in relation to the non-cloud version.  I wish them the best... but I'm not on the boat.  And I think I see an iceberg ahead...

superboyac

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2016, 12:36:15 AM »
this happens so much, where are the pressures coming from?  as a person who dabbles in this sort of business, it feels like if you don't do these kinds of things (saas, bloat, etc) then you won't be able to survive.  the optimist in me wants someone to tell me that that is not the case, and there are other ways.  but i'd like to be convinced of it.

I think that 40 laid out the problem in many industries which push them to it.  Certain types of software are what they are, and you pay for them once, and then don't care about them.  So, the revenue stream dries up.  There has to be some impetus for your user base to purchase continually, or you find that you're pulling your money out of a well that has a very real bottom.  You have a few options at that point. 

One is to provide features and be very responsive to your user base, so that when you release an upgrade, they'll buy.  In all realities, that's a subscription.  But one that doesn't lock the users in, and relies on a lot of work.  Directory Opus is a good example of that.  The price is high... because you're paying for years of use, and there's no real reason to come back- at least for a while.  One of the things that people say about YNAB consistently is the fact that the price is a steal.  It is.  And their reducing revenue is a result of selling it so cheaply.

The second is to provide some sort of add on service - needed, or perceived to be needed.  AV software does this.  It's not the purchase of the AV that's the big expenditure- it's the subscription over years.

The third is to take the software out of the users' hands.  SaaS.  It takes comparatively little to implement.  And you can have a steady revenue stream if your users buy into it.

I think, however, that the implementation is the difference.  Evernote did it... and for better or worse, they changed their whole business when it happened.  They lost customers.  But they continue to add value, to the point where even though I have options like RightNote and MyInfo, I stick with Evernote.

From what people are saying, not only do you have lock-in with mYNAB, it is not fully featured and half-baked in relation to the non-cloud version.  I wish them the best... but I'm not on the boat.  And I think I see an iceberg ahead...
yea, evernote is the great example, isn't it?  well...what do you say?  they have not suffered much, i'd say.

Deozaan

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2016, 02:15:54 AM »
Anyone got a download link for the most recent, working, buy-once, non-cloud-as-a-service YNAB?

I need it for my archives, because I love(d?) YNAB but I'm definitely not "upgrading" to the subscription model.


PhilB66

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2016, 02:30:05 AM »
Anyone got a download link for the most recent, working, buy-once, non-cloud-as-a-service YNAB?

http://www.youneedab...04_4.3.656_Setup.exe

Deozaan

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2016, 02:44:08 AM »
http://www.youneedab...04_4.3.656_Setup.exe

Thanks. I downloaded this and went to put it in my Dropbox and saw that I already had a copy of a newer version in there. While I was at it, I see that there's yet an even newer version of YNAB 4 available, which I now have an archive of.

I'm currently running YNAB 4.3.820, which I see has a new "Migrate to the New YNAB" option in the file menu.

I also have a copy of YNAB 4.3.729, which is the version I was using before this new YNAB-as-a-service business began.


Jibz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2016, 02:47:27 AM »
At the bottom of the front page there is a link that says "older versions", which leads to http://classic.youneedabudget.com/

I hope any future YNAB4 versions will be available there for download.

Deozaan

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2016, 03:07:38 AM »
At the bottom of the front page there is a link that says "older versions"

Thanks! I specifically looked for something like that at the bottom of the page, but I somehow overlooked that link.


dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2016, 07:11:55 AM »
wraith808 & 40hz - thanks for your replies, some good points there, I've decided to go for the off-line versions.

Thanks for the classic YNAB links as well, will check it out. Let's hope it can download data from UK banks and credit cards.

@wraith808 - not sure about the Evernote example though. The reports I've come across recently suggest that the company is in trouble (I can't remember where I saw the article but I think it suggested that they've wrongly focused on adding useless bells and whistles instead of improving the underlying product).

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2016, 08:41:56 AM »
Anyone got a download link for the most recent, working, buy-once, non-cloud-as-a-service YNAB?

http://www.youneedab...04_4.3.656_Setup.exe

Oh, wait... Does this mean I can no longer buy a licence key for this one? It looks like I missed the YNAB 4 boat then  :(

Edit: or is this one still a legit way of buying it?
Purchase Budget Software that Will Change Your Life

wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2016, 10:19:44 AM »
Anyone got a download link for the most recent, working, buy-once, non-cloud-as-a-service YNAB?

http://www.youneedab...04_4.3.656_Setup.exe


820 is actually the latest... but I'm wary to install it.  I heard (don't know for sure) that they'd put upgrade notices in it.

http://classic.youneedabudget.com/

wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2016, 10:22:16 AM »

@wraith808 - not sure about the Evernote example though. The reports I've come across recently suggest that the company is in trouble (I can't remember where I saw the article but I think it suggested that they've wrongly focused on adding useless bells and whistles instead of improving the underlying product).

If you come across where that was stated, I'd be interested in seeing the reasoning.  All indications I've seen are that they're doing well... though they've introduced a middle ground in order to get a whole new class of consumers.

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2016, 12:12:32 PM »
If you come across where that was stated, I'd be interested in seeing the reasoning.

It might have been this one: Evernote is in deep trouble - Business Insider

wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2016, 12:43:36 PM »
If you come across where that was stated, I'd be interested in seeing the reasoning.

It might have been this one: Evernote is in deep trouble - Business Insider

That looks like an indictment of the company practices as a whole.  Not the conversion to a cloud based service.  Especially with this line:

Quote
In 2012, the note-taking app Evernote became one of the first “Unicorn” startups, joining the exclusive club for private tech companies worth $1 billion or more.

That year, Evernote passed 30 million registered users, brought its total funding to $270 million, and seemed like a sure-fire candidate to hit the public market in the coming years.

What I was talking about was the conversion.  They're way past that phase.  Everything now has to do with their business practices and policies.

Quote
It still has a large user base, and as most subscription-based software companies do, it could probably improve its cash flow by cutting back on some of its investments.

Which is what I thought.  I just didn't know about the bad spending and the shotgun approach to getting apps out there.  I'd not even heard of most of them.  And the ones I did hear of- Penultimate and Skitch- I quickly dumped.

tomos

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2016, 03:48:05 PM »
Oh, wait... Does this mean I can no longer buy a licence key for this one? It looks like I missed the YNAB 4 boat then  :(

Edit: or is this one still a legit way of buying it?
Purchase Budget Software that Will Change Your Life

^ any opinions on purchasing there?
Any opinions on where this any good for someone self-employed, or is it more aimed at those with a regular income?
Tom

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2016, 06:05:27 PM »
It looks legit to me.  In fact, if you'd not said anything and I went there, I wouldn't have thought a second about buying it.