When the initial idea of My Financial Snapshot came to me, it went through many different variations. One of the first iterations of the product was charging someone $500 and completing the personal financial statement myself. Before you think that is an outrageous price, wealthy individuals will pay CPAs and Lawyers $200 an hour to fill out personal financial statements for them.
During my initial research of looking for a personal financial statement software, the results were underwhelming. In all honesty, I was looking for software that I could copy off of and improve upon. There were little to no options available. There seemed to be 1,000 free options, and all of those options were stuck back in Window 2000 mode. You also get what you pay for, or rather don’t pay for in this case.
It was amazing that not only was the entire web missing the mark, but every single financial institution was also missing the mark. For months, I kept repeating to myself, “Surely someone has a good system for personal financial statements?” They don’t! From local community banks to the largest banks in the world, there is a need for a better process.
I would imagine that more than 90% of financial services owners would say they could improve on efficiencies inside of their businesses, especially with their clients. The other 10% are just liars. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. If personal financial statements are a literal nightmare, what else needs to be fixed?
Personal financial statements have the following use cases:
- Loan Applications (Home, Auto, Business, etc.)
- Rental Property Owners (Banking Requirements)
- General personal finance
Another thing I have found out since building My Financial Snapshot is that personal financial statements are rarely used in people’s personal finances. Making my use case for general personal finances and marriages a tough market to crack, but a market that is still in need of knowing how to fill out a personal financial statement for more than just loan applications.
If a bank uses a personal financial statement to justify and verify that you are a credit-worthy risk to purchase a 30-year mortgage, it is probably a good document to know how to fill out beforehand. It is also a document that you should update at a minimum one time a year.
So, after a lengthy introduction, I ask the question, how do we build a better personal financial world?
The mission of My Financial Snapshot is to bridge the gap between financial education and financial utility. How can we take things that the majority of people have to deal with concerning personal finances and make them easy to apply in their lives?
- Start small, and build according to need
- Make it simple and keep it simple.
- Improve existing personal financial relationships.
We started with personal financial statements because if you ever have ever filled one out, you understand the headache. We failed a lot along the way, but if we were to sum up our discovery over 2021, it is that people need a personal financial statement and they didn’t know it!
The next step is building a budgeting tool to help you see your income and expenses in a stress-free, streamlined way. Most Americans keep some sort of budget, we want to make that process easier, faster, and less time-consuming. The 1-2 punch of a personal financial statement and a budgeting tool gives a foundation to build upon shifting from only being a personal financial statement provider, to a personal finance utility to aid you in making your own key financial decisions.
Make it simple and keep it simple.
When messing with personal finances, things can get complicated quickly! We never want that to be the case at My Financial Snapshot. With our current product offering, you can fill out a personal financial statement regardless of your financial IQ. Our product, which was formerly only used for the bankers’ benefit and use, is now used by people of all financial IQ’s. CPAs, loan officers, and individuals with no financial background use our product. Simplicity is the key!
Improve existing personal financial relationships.
There are numerous personal financial relationships. Bankers, accountants, lawyers, financial planners, financial advisors, life insurance providers, business partners, your spouse, your kids, and the list can go on.
These relationships can be improved by financial education, but also financial utility.
An example using a personal financial statement is knowing what documentation will be needed when you are applying for a loan. A home loan will require various documents before a loan can be processed and approved. W-2’s, pay stubs, tax returns, a personal financial statement, and other documents are needed. If you show up with nothing to your banker and you want to buy a home. They will talk to you about what is needed. They will mention the above documents, and then you have prolonged the already lengthy loan application process. What if you showed up with 90% of those documents at the time of a meeting? You have accelerated the process of the loan, and you have made that banker’s day by saving his/her time. The banker can then proceed to move to the next phase of getting your loan processed and hopefully headed for approval. Not only that, your banker will remember you. When you are prepared, well documented, and display a modicum of understanding with your financial services providers you get a better service from them.
The last relationship I will touch on is your financial relationship with your spouse. Building a better personal financial world will improve marriages. Yes, we said that! One of the top reasons for divorce in the United States is trouble with finances. This is not often based on lack of money or excess of money. It is often based in a lack of understanding, communication, and agreement. All differences can be solved with a little bit of education and a little bit of utility.
To conclude, My Financial Snapshot is committed to building a better personal financial world. These are a few observations that we believe will yield exponential results in the future.