I am — first, and foremost — a Dad and Husband, which means I am toy- and house-mender, Lego builder, and head Fort builder. When my busy schedule of fatherhood lets up I am also a cyclist, photographer, IT guy, business builder and Meetup organiser.
Yes, my life is busy and full on, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! In recent years I realised that I am really not suited to having a 9–5 job and my main passion is really helping others to be successful. I have done this in many ways: previously as a partner in a coworking space, and as former co-founder of an award-winning business accelerator/consultancy business. More recently, I have left those businesses behind to move my family back home to my native Ireland to be closer to my family and in the hopes developing a business here. Thankfully, my Australian wife — like me — loves cold weather!
I mainly use PocketSmith to predict the future and prevent divorce. OK, so that is some creative licence there, but there are plenty of studies out there that finances are one of, if not the biggest cause of tension in marriage, so any tool that can help predict that is a potential marriage saver, or at least an argument preventer (is that even a word?).
As for predicting the future, I make heavy use of the forecasting aspects of the application. This is critical to me, as for the moment I still have a 9–5, and get paid monthly. So, PocketSmith helps manage our spending between pay cycles. As I move to working as a freelance photographer over the next year, PocketSmith will help predict the point where I can cut loose the shackles of my corporate 9–5 and go full time freelancing.
Until I discovered PocketSmith, I made heavy use of Google spreadsheets with complex formulas and processes to predict our cash flow and savings. This meant I was pretty familiar with the actual processes involved in tracking our finances. However, this took up a significant portion of my time to manage; it was difficult for my wife to understand; and to be honest it was not the most accurate system — requiring some manipulation to make the numbers line up. But with the clear graphs in PocketSmith we can see how much money we should have at a particular point in the month, and this helps us make decisions about not just how much but also when we can spend money.
The forecasting aspect is my number 1.
Every few weeks really, but at least monthly.
Make sure you keep importing the data from your bank to ensure the data set is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Generally with all tools like PocketSmith, the way to get the most from it is not just to observe passively what you are spending but also to really analyse what you spend money on.
For example: can you save money on your food bill? And if you do, what might that mean for your savings at the end of the year?
I definitely recommend that you be honest when setting budgets for things, and remember to adjust them as you need to, but be sure you know why you made an adjustment.
Outside of purchasing PocketSmith of course, it was probably the decision to sell all our stuff when leaving Australia rather than ship it all across the globe. We got a fresh start, and now we can live a little more minimalist and not get smothered in stuff for the sake of having stuff.
This interview is part of New Zealand Money Week (NZMW) 2017. NZMW is led by the Commission For Financial Capability, and it involves events all around the country to encourage New Zealanders to talk about money and develop greater financial capability. To further the conversation about money we got in touch with some of our favourite Kiwis to get their perspectives on their finances.