We are each trying to push the ball forward further down field for our personal finances while battling past countless distractions getting in our way with a variety of tools available but still not getting the job done efficiently. Not only would we want our generation to make steady and measurable progress, but we desire to start the next generation further down field than we did. But why does it have to involve so much wasted time and effort? We spend time slicing away to techniques and tools that require more housekeeping than decision making and more correcting than #progress. I for one dream often of a better way as I'm up late many nights examining my family's financial recent past in hopes of steering us towards our ideal future state all while I'd rather be spending time with my family in our present.
Barriers to Success with Current Tools & Techniques
Am I the only one that notices at least 10 points of frustration with the current way of managing personal finances?
"Build a budget… but figure it out on your own" Countless sources of financial advice impress upon the reader to set up a #budget but usually give little if any guidance as to how to effectively build one
"Here's some good advice…(I wish I knew this 6 months ago)" When there is guidance it comes at a time for most people when it may be #toolate in the year to bring up a recommended budget item in the month you are currently in
"There are way too many 'apps for that'" There are so many personal finance applications you don't know where to begin or whether they will fit your financial situation and #personalpreferences, only after you find out too much time and energy was invested the app you hoped would be the silver bullet
"You want my User ID & Password…but the transactions are loaded wrong" Once you decide on trying an application, you go through the agony of deciding to allow an application (that your friend raves about) access to all of your account user IDs and passwords, but after all that the app won't consistently #sync your transactions, and if it does you have to spend a lot of time correcting them
"Where do I find the time to work through the app?" Once you feel comfortable you've set everything up and the systems are talking to one another, #life gets in the way and you have a hard time fitting this new habit into your daily routine
"Wait! I can't go back and revise a previous month's budget?" After you've built the habit by consistently working with the chosen app for 30 days you find that the budgeted values you entered for prior months were actually #notaccurate but the app won't let you change them so you have to live with the variance
"So budgeting seems to work, but my weekly investments don't count towards my goals?" If you have savings #goals it won't easily track the transactions you've set up as progress towards the goal
"I can't seem to find the right way to talk about our financial situation" Collaborating with my roommate, significant other, business partner, or spouse isn't easy with the application and if we do take the time to #talk about it we struggle to make the conversation productive
"I've spent all this time in the app, but I still don't know what to do next" And the time I spend in the app isn't insightful or #productive keeping me away from attending to areas that I need to focus, unclear methods to take action, and an unclear path to a more successful financial future
"Now I have 'app buyer's remorse' this app isn't right for my situation" The app you chose may be a good app but you've found that it doesn't quite fit your personal situation which brings you back to the #app store to start the process all over and spend more money potentially
The 10 Qualities I'd Want in My Ideal Personal Finance Application
What if there was a technique or an application that will make it easy to manage my personal finances while adding the following benefits or features?
"I'd like an application that gets me 90% of my budget built not just a shallow suggestion to make a budget" There are so many surprises that crop up each year and I know others have traveled this personal finance path before me, I should see these laid out for me to fill in as I am building my budget
"It would be nice to have access to personal finance insights while I'm evaluating my money in the app" There are so many magazines, blog posts, rules of thumb, and benchmarks I am trying to reference, it would be great to see them directly within the app I'm using
"Is there a way to narrow the field to the right app for my situation" So many apps… so little time to figure out which one is right for me, it would be nice to have an app navigator or at least ways to help me make better use of an app that isn't an ideal fit. NOTE: If you want to learn more about the budget building app we are developing and are interested in joining the Beta User Founding Group check out our Project, FLOWT App.
"I want robust transaction tracking without linking to my bank accounts" This day and age there should be a way to track my expenses without requiring access to my private information while allowing me the ability to back up to my own hard drive or cloud service as our lives are much more routine than we realize
"Can an app do some of the work for me" My life is more routine than I give credit to, is there a way to automate information without having to link my accounts. NOTE: I'm working on a concept for this too, stay tuned...
"Every moment of my time with an app should make me better off" Each moment invested into working on my finances should make me better off not just time catching up the app up to make it more accurate
"Some expenses are a little more variable" But they aren't impossible to build into a finance app. For example variable utility costs with similar charges in the same month of the year (i.e. high electricity bills every July and high gas bills every January).
"I want to sock away savings to a particular goal incrementally each week or in a specific savings account when I have a small windfall of cash, while not having to assign every dollar a job" I like the idea of targeted savings accounts there should be a way for me to manage saving into them and the disbursement of funds out of them, and leave a little cushion in my budget unassigned
"It would be nice to have a way to organize financial information for me and my spouse/roommate" Knowing who's responsible for what in the household and what the other is doing or needs information on as well as coordinating all the information regarding vendor contact information, tasks outstanding and most importantly conversation starters to help us define our financial goals and progress towards them are all important aspects of a great personal finance app. NOTE: Stay tuned for updates on what we are cooking up for this...
"Can I use an app to help me map how my money flows and optimize or automate it?" How my money moves in and out of my accounts can be hard understand let alone make better. NOTE: I'm working on a solution to this so stay tuned on this as well...
Perhaps you can relate to the same feelings and observations I have had. I hope these initial posts have helped bring thoughts of your own personal financial situation out on the table. In the posts that follow and the site as a whole is intended to help you gain access to curated financial foundation information, find your personal finance current state, learn where you have opportunities to make it better, optimize your money to see results, and watch for adverse changes or future opportunities to keep yourself on track.
Have you noted challenges you've experienced or a wishlist item you have for a personal finance organizing tool? Consider sharing your thoughts in on of our forums.
Thank you for reading,