Canadian Alexis Uses PocketSmith To Establish Good Financial Habits

We asked some of our wonderful users to share how they use PocketSmith to be productive with their money and plan for the future. Their stories are filled with ideas, suggestions and inspiration on how you can start crafting a meaningful relationship with your finances.

Read how Alexis is using PocketSmith to track where his money goes so he can manage his net worth in a responsible way.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a 36-year-old husband, father of two, software programmer, and aspiring music producer. I live in a suburban city near Montreal, Canada. I don’t really care about hockey, though.

How would you describe your role in your household?

I’m the breadwinner. My wife is a writer, but since we decided to start a family a few years ago, she became a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time writer. Also, she has no interest in money whatsoever, so even if we feel like we are a modern-day couple, somehow, we’re a lot like a couple from the 1950s.

What drew you to PocketSmith?

I’ve been keeping track of my finances for roughly a decade now in a very geeky way: I have an Excel file with a bunch of different spreadsheets in it, and I inconsistently take snapshots of my net worth over time as well as other important financial data. I think I am somewhat of a perfectionist, and I just love customization.

At some point, I read an article about a guy in his thirties saying that he had finally reached a one-million-dollar net worth and he recommended using an app — I don’t remember which one it was — so then I tried using that app, but it was only available in the United States. I tried to find similar apps in “best financial apps” lists, and somehow, I stumbled upon PocketSmith.

It just instantly knocked my socks off, mostly from a software programmer’s perspective. Full disclosure: I’m writing this article because I reached out to PocketSmith for a job, but they are not currently hiring, so they suggested that I write this instead so that I might get a discount. Still pretty cool if you ask me.

How long have you been with us?

I joined PocketSmith about a month ago, but it was love at first sight. It really feels like a video game to me.

What do you primarily use PocketSmith for?

In my twenties, I inherited a ridiculous amount of money. A few years after that, I inherited double that amount. To say it’s been a life-changing experience is, well… it’s correct. Financially speaking, I quickly became obsessed with the concept of “net worth” even though it had never crossed my mind in the past. I’m using PocketSmith in combination with my own custom solution (i.e. my dorky Excel file) to try to establish good financial habits for myself. When you artificially acquire a lot of wealth at such a young age, it’s really easy to do stupid things!

How has PocketSmith changed the way you do money?

PocketSmith has forced me to look at where my money goes. At times I’ll avoid thinking about my spending, but then with all the categories and the dashboards, I’ll suddenly notice something like, “Wow, vehicles really cost a lot of money, and you simply can’t view them as investments.” It’s like the best financial slap in the face you can get.

What are your favorite features?

Because of my tech backgound, I just marvel at the overall quality of the product. When you’re a software developer with a focus on quality assurance, you learn to appreciate simple, elegant, and effective software.

More concretely though, the features that I really like are the dashboards, the net worth calculator/visualizer/forecast, and the automatic bank feeds. The bank feeds are a bit tricky in Canada, but luckily for me, my main financial institution is fully supported, while my less important ones don’t sync.

Got any tips?

Regarding transactions, I would recommend being really precise with categories. Try to customize stuff as much as possible. Using an “okay” label as a stamp of approval has greatly improved my experience (it can get confusing when you deal with manual categorizations vs. automatic ones). This trick makes me 100% sure that I have verified and approved the categorization of every single transaction.

What’s the best money decision you made in the past 12 months?

I can’t think of anything money-related right now, but on the psychological side of things, giving up coffee feels great. I didn’t think it was humanly possible!

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