Create Budgets

:point_right: Describe the problem

This is what Financial Freedom is all about. Initially, this feature request is just notes, but will expand into a whole bunch of todos, ideas, etc. I’d really love feedback on these.

Budgeting with FF should be focused around simplicity, quality data, flexibility. Budgeting takes discipline and planning and if it’s too hard, users won’t do it. Budgeting also takes a ton of knowledge, foresight, and flexibility. We should educate and simplify this for any level of user.

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel is a perfect example of how people think they should think about money and how they actually think about money. We need to be a guide to the user to make them better at managing their assets.

:busts_in_silhouette: Problem evidence & reach

All users of the app.

:smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Describe the “impact” on users?

If users find budgeting easy to do and useful, they will gain financial freedom and enjoy a much more thorough life. This should guide any user at any income level.

:trophy: How to solve this problem

We need to implement budgets. This is a huge undertaking, but is essentially the entire application.
Right now, Financial Freedom is designed around “pillars” which are:

  • Users
  • Accounts
  • Transactions

The next wave of these pillars will be Budgets. Budgets will use the existing pillars of the app to build upon. That’s why we started with accounts and transactions. They are the surface level.

Initial Thoughts:

Budgets Shouldn’t Overwhelm

  • They should show simply what you have accounted for each month and how much income you expect each month.

Your liquid accounts are like pools (checking, savings, etc.)

  • You need to be able to allocate these accounts. You should not have an account per pool (ie an entire account dedicated to gifts). You should be able to allocate $X in your checking account each month for gifts. These are essentially psuedo accounts.
  • These allocations should show you what you have set aside, you should be able to set goals for an allocation in an account, you should be shown how much “leftover” you have after each month in your account.

Send Periodic Snapshots

  • Users should receive snapshots of all of their accounts, goals, how much money they have left to spend, etc. on the period they define.
  • We need to keep the user heavily informed on how they are doing.

Budgets Should Have Timeframes

  • They could be a monthly budget, yearly budget, bi-weekly, etc.

Budgets should be flexible

  • You should be able to set budgets based on categories, but use tags for a further, in-depth analysis. For example, say you bought snacks. This is “groceries”, but also tagged “snacks” since it’s not as important and should be monitored if you choose.
  • You can be over/under on budget and we should alert the user on both occasions.

Users should be able to securely share budgets

  • We need to allow for permissions to invite users to FF to share budget and transaction data. This obviously needs to be done as securely as possible.
  • Spouses and Financial Advisors should be able to be invited and logged in to share data and guide on the financial process.

Allow for Calendars

  • Having a calendar show when a bill is due would help tremendously for budgeting and finding recurring expenses.

We need to have a Budgeting Todo list

  • When new transactions come in through an automatic service such as Plaid, we need to have an “inbox” of todos for the user. These transactions need to be tagged, categorized and applied to budgets.

Money Workflows

  • In order to automate transactions to the right budget, we should allow the user to set up money workflows. (I.E → Money spent at Kroger goes to the grocery category and applied to the grocery budget for that month).
  • This should work for categories or tags.
  • We should guide the user that this is “default” behavior and encourage them to dive in more in depth on splitting transactions if needed.

:100: How do we validate the problem is solved?

Users can easily manage their budgets and accounts in a way that benefits them and their future.