Happy New Year! The house is quiet, and the cats are asleep next to me after being up and about all night. One of them has begun to quietly snore.
As I scritch a fluffy ear and contemplate what it means to be on Day One of our new year, I reflect on the importance of being inspired to take action.
To wit: why bother?
It’s a phrase that implies that something’s not worth the trouble, but it’s also one that points out something crucial: that understanding your ‘why’ is the key to being inspired to make change.
The team and I were reminded of this over the past few months, and I’ll explain how. It is my hope that our experience encourages you to re-examine your ‘why’s for 2022, and consequently, ignite a renewed purpose for managing your money.
Last year was a challenging one. A recurring theme for our 2021 was that ‘we can’t see the wood for the trees’, and by this, we meant that we’d been so caught up in the detail of our work that we’d put our big picture on hold.
Much of this was related to Data Connections, the upgrade to the system that connects us to over 14,000 banks and providers worldwide. It’s the core piece of technology that lets us easily keep our financial information organized in one place.
James’ post about Data Connections is a great read about this topic, so I’ll take the liberty of rolling with a plumbing analogy for the next minute or so.
Last year, we upgraded our decade-old pipes, pumps and water tanks so that our tenants would get better water pressure and access to a plethora of providers.
This was also an opportunity to renovate the kitchens as well, and upon completion, we helped our tenants re-orient themselves to the new layout, and test that their taps were all working.
After closing out the year having spent months with our tenants in their kitchens, we wondered if plumbing was all we would be doing from here on in. We were also — if you would pardon the pun — drained. Sure, we’re good at plumbing and it is an important job to do, but we’d lost a bit of our mojo and wanted to get it back.
It may sound odd, but it’s true. We’re tremendously proud of the product we’ve built for you, but what we have today isn’t what we envisioned at the start. We began with the seed of an idea, paid attention to your needs, and grew PocketSmith from there.
It’s evidently been a very good thing, because we were also learning about the real-world problems we needed to solve.
Today we have a brilliant product that excels at all the minutiae it needs to do, but it’s not why we embarked on this venture.
James, consummate problem-solver that he is, wanted to make something unique, and to solve unique problems.
Me, the philosopher and empath, I wanted to make something that would improve lives, and in doing so, earn us the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world.
We founded PocketSmith because we believed that together, we could make a difference. Finance happened to be the subject matter that presented both interesting problems and opportunities, and we were up for the challenge.
We started with a spark of inspiration on how to give people clarity and control over their money, and our journey continues.
Nearly 14 years later, this is the category assigned to our product by the financial industry.
‘PFM’ is an obscure acronym that is rarely recognised, even by users of products like ours. ‘Personal finance’ also doesn’t necessarily reflect a reality in which household finances have multiple stakeholders — couples, families, advisors, and so on.
But still, when we talk about PocketSmith, we habitually refer to its features as a PFM, more so than why we do what we do. We’ve been executing for so long, we often forget to focus on what’s actually meaningful to us and to the team we’ve built along the way.
There’s nothing wrong with that of course. We work hard on our craft, celebrate our customers, and are immensely grateful for the success our work has brought us.
But we ought to speak more to our truth, convictions, and ambitions because what we do is a by-product — tangible proof — of why we do it.
As we go into the new year and have a reasonably clean slate ahead for our product, we’re looking to our ‘why’ again as a starting point.
So why are we here?
We believe that you are unique. We believe that prescriptive solutions for your money can limit your potential. We don’t judge how you manage your finances. We know that you’re here to forge your own path, and we’re here to help you.
Our ‘why’ is to help you fulfil your ‘why’.
Every time we help you find a fact in your finances, focus on an important detail, impress a friend or foe, and save you time while doing it — we’re fulfilling our ‘why’. We know this to be true simply because it feels right when it happens.
Our ‘why’ helps us make better decisions and gives us clarity on our priorities. It guides how we help you succeed. It identifies the people we want to align with, and helps us create authentic experiences that we can be proud of. In short, it gives us a clear sense of purpose and direction.
As you contemplate the year ahead, think about what inspires and excites you, rather than what you have to do.
What’s your ‘why’, and what are you going to do this year to acknowledge it?
Maybe you’ll plan to visit family abroad; buy an instrument for a new hobby or skill; start that side hustle you’ve been thinking of; work less to volunteer somewhere; add a new piece of furniture to your life; sell your furniture to remove clutter from your life; buy a home; or renovate an existing one.
Money management is fundamental to ensuring that you have the right information at hand so you can make the best decisions. Like our plumbing, it’s a necessary task, but one that is much better appreciated when we have sight of why we’re doing it.
Take a moment to think about what you would need to achieve your ‘why’s this year, and in the years to come.
Then remember that we’re here to help you get there. If you like, please talk to us about your ‘why’ so that we can be of better service to you. We’re rooting for you!
Happy 2022 from us, our families, and our fur babies to yours.
Jason is the CEO and co-founder here at PocketSmith. He is fascinated by our unique relationships with our money, and is passionate about making peoples’ lives better through the technologies we craft. He’s been a sneakerhead since the 80’s, and loves gardening on sunny days while listening to Planet Money.