I first conceived of myPersonalCFO in the late 1990s. The original idea was to provide a single webpage where individuals could see an overview of their entire financial life. Unfortunately, there was no secure way to automate that process at the time and other than buying the domain name, I shelved the idea. I’m glad I held onto it all those years because the technology has finally caught up.
Today, aggregation services such as Yodlee and ByAllAccounts allow individuals to see a raw overview of their assets in a secure environment. Investment advisers and other financial service providers use these systems and other software to provide clients with an overview of all their assets, even those not managed by the adviser. This allows an individual and their adviser to monitor and manage their complete asset allocation.
You’ll notice that liabilities are not mentioned in that previous paragraph. Or any non-financial assets. Most investment advisers won’t or can’t gather information on anything other than financial assets. And that probably makes sense from their viewpoint. They get paid for managing your assets not your liabilities. They don’t care about your credit score or your credit card reward program balance or your airline miles. They might sometimes mention your mortgage and the possibility of refinancing but it is usually an afterthought. Or they might refer you to other professionals for services they don’t provide. But they aren’t going to spend a lot of time on things for which they aren’t paid.
People need a more complete view of their financial life. They need to be able to easily build and manage a personal balance sheet and income statement. They need to construct a budget and know if their income and spending will allow them to do the things that are important to them. They need to take care of the small things that their adviser doesn’t have the time or incentive to do. Should I buy or lease a car? How much life insurance do I need? What kind of life insurance? How much do I need in savings? What is my credit score and how and why does it change? Am I paying too much for auto insurance? Homeowner’s insurance? When do my airline miles expire? What else can I do with them if I don’t have time to take a trip? Should I refinance my mortgage? There are a million little things like this that get lost in the shuffle of everyday life but they matter. And it is the goal of myPersonalCFO to help you manage both the big picture and the minutiae of your finances.
Part of managing your finances is staying on top of what is important, what will impact your savings, investments and liabilities – your financial life. In the internet age that is harder than it sounds. There is a lot of information out there and it is often hard to determine what is important, what is a sales pitch and what is just downright injurious to your financial health. myPersonalCFO is written, edited and curated by a group of seasoned financial professionals with a healthy skepticism about most economic and investment commentary. You won’t find anything here that would feel at home on a doomsday prepper site. No conspiracy theories. No political bias. No crystal ball gazing. We are your personal financial content editor, filtering out the items that waste your time and money.
We are working with a software company to develop an app to realize the vision I’ve laid out above. We have a beta version of the myPersonalCFO app now and expect to have the first edition available to the public by the first quarter of 2019. We will also have a suite of financial tools and calculators available on the site in the next few months. And there are a plethora of articles on just about any financial topic you can imagine, as well as time sensitive articles and commentary, already on the site.
Our goal is to build a community for practical people who just want to manage their finances wisely, without all the sensationalism that permeates the financial web. The architects of the social media landscape believed that editors were no longer necessary, that the free, unfiltered exchange of information would unleash an age of cooperation. The divisiveness of today proves how wrong they were. Cooperative communities still need editors – leaders – and we hope to fill that role at myPersonalCFO.