Measuring my financial wellbeing lead me to create my own Mac App that gave me the skills to start iOS development which led to me starting Touchtech and running a business. Now it’s time to create v2.
I’ve been interested in Financial Independence since I was 21 and in the early days, I used MS Money to track what I was earning, spending, my investments and ultimately, my financial position. It worked great and every month I’d diligently upload QIF files from my bank accounts and categorize spending and study what changes I needed to make to get out of debt and start investing for the long term.
In 2004 I made the decision to switch from Windows to Apple and I spent a small fortune to buy myself a Power Mac G5. I was able to migrate all my software from Windows to its Mac equivalent. All except MS Money. No decent personal finance tool existed in the Mac eco-system that provided the same features as MS Money. So, being a software developer I did the only thing that seemed reasonable – build an imitation of MS Money for OS X entirely from scratch. I called it MoneyLounge and it took many very late nights in the year of 2009 to finish. I’ve been using it ever since and it’s been working great. It lets me:
- Important bank transactions as a QIF file;
- Categorize spending automatically (i.e. it knows “Starbucks” is “Food:Dining Out”) or manually when it doesn’t recognize a payee;
- Update share prices automatically from yahoo finance;
- Record investment transactions such as BUY and SELL and DIVIDEND or REINVEST DIVIDEND;
- Graph your Net Worth, Income vs Expenses, Investment Performance (all these are required insights to track Financial Independence );
Using MoneyLounge I’m able to completely update and measure my financial position with 15 minutes work each month and I’ve been able to tailor it to my own personal needs. It’s undoubtedly been the most worthwhile piece of software that I’ve ever worked on.
However, it was written in Objective-C and Apple has released Swift. The code base has become deprecated and needs some love. It’s time to build MoneyLounge v2.
I’ve decided to redesign it as something more than a personal finance tool. I want Moneylounge to take advantage of automated bank feeds and live investment information to provide a super simple view of a personal financial position to Aussies and Kiwis. Most people don’t have a handle of their incoming income versus outgoing expense, their net worth and how they are tracking towards a secure retirement. I believe that there is an opportunity for a simple App that provides these insights without complex configuration and financial jargon. Something that presents differently than a glorified spreadsheet or a bunch of graphs.
Right now I have no idea what shape this App will take but I do know it’ll need to be a complete rewrite of MoneyLounge. I’ll need to learn Swift. I’ll need to think hard about the User Experience problem of making personal finance more engaging for the average Joe. I also want this to be truly personal and not a Cloud based service. I’m becoming very concerned about the current trend towards random Cloud businesses owning people’s data and I don’t want MoneyLounge to follow this worrying trend. Users financial data will be stored on your device (laptop or smartphone) and not on a Cloud database.
I’m starting this project as of today and I’ll keep regular updates coming through this blog. Suggestions would be much appreciated.