“No one uses PFMs”; I’ve heard that a few times. PFM (Personal Financial Management) tools like Quicken, Check, Mint, Moneydesktop, Mvelopes, YNAB, etc. have been around for quite a few years, and banks have found less than 10% of their customers willing to use them. A recent Spendbot survey confirms this, and found that the vast majority of people who make a budget (and less than half do) still use paper or a spreadsheet to make their budget.
But I have two observations to make here:
1. “No one uses PFMs” is not even close to true, and,
2. Spendbot is not a PFM.
First, if surveys indicating that approximately 7% of the population of the US uses a PFM, then that translates to… TWENTY MILLION people. And these 20 Million are people who use them with some consistency, as surveys show that about half of people who try PFM like them. Yodlee, which provides SaaS to allow PFM companies and banks to offer account aggregation services (where you can see all your account information in one place) has over 38M subscribers, so half would be about 20M.
While 20M does not equal zero, it’s a lot closer to zero than 320M- the population of the US, or 7B, the population of the world. Which means there are a whole lot of people who don’t use a PFM. And yet, 96% of respondents in a recent Spendbot survey said that “spending control is a problem for America”. And, the average person knows 7.6 people who need help controlling their spending.
So what do people who say “no one uses PFM” really mean? They mean that there is a lot of room for improvement. It also means that a better solution- Personal Financial Execution- is required. PFM tells you where your money went. PFE makes sure it goes to where you want it to go. Don’t want to pay bounce fees and late charges? PFE. Don’t want to waste money on going out to eat that you’d rather spend on tuition? PFE. Want to make sure you’re saving for that down payment? PFE.
Spendbot is a PFE solution. To start out, it looks kinda like a PFM. You create a Spend Plan (which is better than a budget, more on that later) and see your projected cash flow. But then, you get help executing it. This help comes in the form of benchmarking and savings tutorials, notifications, and some secret stuff we’re working on that will make Spendbot the best way in the world to make sure you, and your loved ones, spend your money how you want to spend it.
And, more importantly, that you live better.
So, create your Spend Plan today, and feel free to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org any thoughts, including what you’d like to see in your PFE solution.