How much does your financial app tell you about your future? Probably not enough, says Mitch Hedditch.
“Most financial systems available today focus primarily on reviewing the past and creating general categories for future budgets,” Hedditch said. “You may be saving for a vacation, and putting a few hundred dollars away each month. What you might not see with traditional budgeting [apps] is how that few hundred dollars coming out each month might affect you when two large bills are scheduled to be withdrawn back to back, five months from now.”
Hedditch is at the helm of Certaincents, a financial-planning app geared toward first-time budgeters, such as recent college graduates and people new to the workforce. Founded in response to Hedditch’s own struggles with responsible spending after college, Certaincents seeks to offer a simpler and more future-oriented alternative to its mainstream counterparts.
The app operates on two forms of data: a user’s financial accounts (checking or savings, loans, mortgage, and/or credit cards) and her repeating transactions, such as rent or a monthly insurance payment. Its algorithms, which update any time a user updates her information, use this consistent data to set spending thresholds unique to the user. Once the thresholds have been determined, the app predicts potential threats to account balances and generates itemized numerical projections in such areas as assets and debt.
What’s most distinctive about the app, Hedditch said, is the time span of its predictions; Certaincents forecasts a user’s financial condition up to a year in advance. A longer-term projection, he maintains, is crucial to keeping a user aware of her spending habits and allowing her to make preemptive decisions.
“One of the things I have found over the years dealing with personal finance is that it should be simple, but require people to be involved in their finances just enough to be aware of their situation,” he said.
A solo operation for Hedditch, Certaincents entered private beta testing in 2014 and officially launched last month. Hedditch said he’s planning to implement a “long list” of features for the app, which is currently free.
Ultimately, he said, he’s looking to prevent financial planning from turning into a burden for people who don’t have the resources to learn how to budget or hire someone to do it for them.
“I want to let people use basic financial principles without having to spend years learning them all,” Hedditch said. “I hope to allow others to experience the feeling of financial freedom and get rid of the stress that money issues can cause.”
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