A personal finance coach that's simpler than Mint

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Charley Ma@charleyma · Growth @ Plaid
Huge fan of how simple Penny is to use; my problem with most PFMs is that they take a ton of work to customize, categorize, etc before they actually become useful to me. Penny was one of the few that I tried that was immediately relevant (especially the side by side month comparison spending).
Mitchell LeeMaker@dontmitch · working on
Hey Product Hunt, looking forward to hearing what you think of Penny! Penny started as a way to address some of our own pain points (I’m a six year user of the oh-so-antiquated Mint). We *hope* the result is a friendly, intuitive experience that helps you understand your spending better than you ever have! Our vision is to do for personal finance what Google Now did for day-to-day life: surface personal, actionable insights exactly when you need them. Alex and I are happy to answer any questions you have!
@dontmitch just signed up, and wanted to say I really like the interface. Taking a more conversational approach to mobile banking is really interesting. Curious to know, what specific pain points were you hoping to solve when you set out to build Penny?
Mitchell LeeMaker@dontmitch · working on
@bshums Glad you like it! First, existing solutions (Mint, BillGuard, Level) are really good about presenting your information graphically and really bad about helping you interpret that information. Second, we think traditional budgets are like News Year's resolutions: most people abandon them after about a month. So those are the two big things we're trying to solve. We want to provide meaningful context to your finances and give you actionable advice on how to spend better without having to actually budget. More context for anyone interested: I've used Mint for 6 years and I have been a personal finance enthusiast long before that (h/t my dad). Unfortunately, Mint hasn't changed in about 5 years except for the inclusion of more ads. And it's pretty complex—there are over 100 different ways to categorize a transaction. At some point I stopped and asked myself, "What value am I getting from painstakingly categorizing every one of my transactions?" and realized, I didn't have a good answer. Mint told me that 26% of my spending was on food, but I had no context on whether that was good or bad or why I should care. I've also tried out Level and BillGuard, among others, but found them to be very budget-heavy. In my experience, most budgets are pretty noisy: you'll be under your clothing budget one month and then blow past it another month because that's just the nature of spending. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Kevin HenryHiring@kevinleehenry · Founder, Fidelis Belts & Accountable
This looks fantastic - downloading now - I think that these types of conversational apps are going to be the next evolution in the mobile OS. Are you guys using AI or an actual person to communicate with users?
Mitchell LeeMaker@dontmitch · working on
@kevinleehenry Totally agreed about conversation apps. We think it's an especially good fit in this case because we can present finances, widely considered unfriendly and byzantine, through a lens that anyone can understand (a conversation). And we're using AI, although that's being a bit to kind to the technology. We actually lead users through dynamic conversations, so there's no NLP at work (yet).
Steven Ritchie@staticsteven · Product Strategy @ Versett
Two things: 1) Why no Canada?? :( 2) Why the name Penny? I swear ever PF app in the past 6 months has been named Penny. Seriously, is this the least creative space there is?
Jack SmithHunter@_jacksmith · Serial Entrepreneur & Startup Adviser
@staticsteven got a link to the other ones named Penny? (I'm guessing it could be a play on MoneyPenny from James Bond, but that's a guess)
Alex QuachMaker@imalexquach ·
@staticsteven We're currently integrated with a few top US banks and are rolling out to more soon, but until we get more bank coverage you probably wouldn't find the app very useful. If you don't mind, what bank(s) do you use? We can see if we can support those faster. re Penny: we've seen a few other similarly named apps that were just referring to the currency. I think ours is better because Penny is also a woman's name, so our reference goes two ways :)
Mitchell LeeMaker@dontmitch · working on
@staticsteven 1) Unfortunately there's a non-trivial amount of working to add support for other countries, and we started Penny from scratch just under 3 months ago. Hopefully we'll get to Canada soon though! 2) We settled on Penny because it was a play off of the one cent coin and was a catchy name for a person. We didn't realize there were any other Penny's out there to be honest; Facebook's MoneyPenny article landed after we had already soft launched.
Steven Ritchie@staticsteven · Product Strategy @ Versett
@_jacksmith @dontmitch @imalexquach okay okay i spoke too soon, i apologize. I think I only had the impression that the name Penny was popular - maybe I just saw the Pennies app everywhere on the app store recently and that made me think there were a lot.
Marius Masalar@mostlymarius · Tech Writer, Photographer
@imalexquach I would love to use this up in Canada as well—I think if you cover RBC and TD you're doing great. After that you can add BMO, CIBC, PC Financial, and Scotiabank and you basically account for everyone.