Monday, November 16, 2015

I've Written A Children's Book!

In a move inspired by...

  • having read hundreds of bedtime stories to my kids over the years
  • wanting to teach them about the exciting new world of self-publishing
  • because I love hobbies

...I've written a children's book!

This is not, as you'll be able to tell from the title, a serious treatise on anything. But it's been beautifully illustrated by Gaspar Sabater and is exactly the kind of increasingly silly story that my kids love.

Both print and Kindle versions are available on Amazon, just in time for Christmas! So if you have little people in your life and are looking for something different, please check it out. Here are some sample images from inside the book. You can preview the story itself using Amazon's Look Inside feature:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wealth Projector Licensee Wins NSW Adviser of the Year

Congratulations to Wealth Projector licensee Announcer Financial Planning, winner of the Association of Financial Advisers NSW Practice of the Year. Great job guys!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific 2015

We had a great time presenting Wealth Projector at the Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific 2015 in Sydney.

Wealth Projector was selected to be among the top 75 finalists from more than 2,000 entrants. Final judging will be in December.

Our thanks to the judges, Citi, and the FinTech community for hosting such an awesome event!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wealth Projector: Finalist for Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific

Wealth Projector has been selected as a finalist for Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific 2015.

Citi Mobile Challenge is a next-generation accelerator that combines a virtual hackathon with an incubator, a worldwide network of FinTech experts and Citi's unparalleled global sponsors and clients to discover solutions across more than 100 markets.

The inaugural Asia Pacific Challenge has received record-breaking participations with 1,900 registrations from 376 cities. As a finalist, Wealth Projector is among the top submissions out of the hundreds that Citi reviewed.

"We're excited to have been selected as a finalist at this global competition, and humbled to be joining Citi's ecosystem of innovative FinTech developers and leading technology sponsors" said Tim Woodhouse, CEO of Wealth Projector.

Wealth Projector will now join Citi and FinTech thought leaders at the Demo Day event in Sydney on November 10th.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wealth Projector: Focus Group

We recently showed Wealth Projector to a select group of finance enthusiasts, and wanted to share some of the feedback we received:

We asked: what was great?

  • "The nuggets of insight are fantastic! (e.g. based on your weekly rent, that's the equivalent of a $430K mortgage). They seem to straddle the line nicely between personalised information and insight, but without offering recommendations, advice or flogging a product"
  • "Great fun - easy to use"
  • "Fun"
  • "Friendly user interface processing speed of inputs and the depth of information provided was really good"
  • "It is interactive and fun"
  • "Simplicity"
  • "Looks great. Still going through the actual data and information. The family timeline and important dates section is a great idea"
  • "It was intuitive and fun. Plenty of visual feedback"
  • "With a few clicks of a button you get a whole bunch of fairly relevant information in regard to a lot of different areas of your life that you may not generally comprehend or overlook when assessing your financial stability in both short and long-term"
  • "Easy to use, helpful to see if I was on the right track"
  • "Quality and icons"
  • "Really detailed and provides a great consolidated picture of where you're at financially. Pulling in data from ABS, property industry etc is also a great feature"

We asked: what needs improvement?

  • "The UI seemed a little 'mickey mouse' and childish given that you're entering financial data and talking about 'heavy' topics like retirement etc. Nonetheless, this was a nice improvement on swathes of open text form fields"
  • "Couldn't work out how to adjust my retirement income - I won't need as much then as I do now..."
  • "HECs debt with CPI calculator in loan section"
  • "The Excel spreadsheet lacks the polish the rest of it has"
  • "Graphics are great but the animation could be slicker. Some elements seemed a bit stiff, like dropping an item"
  • "A little harder on a mobile but still good"
  • "Transition to start using icons needs to be a little more obvious. Also preview wealth report drops in a little too early"
  • "Some user experience issues. Anytime I slid the indicator across to complete a section, a login box came up. This is a turn off. Ideally you should only force a login at the end. Allowing people to Preview their report before completing everything is a distraction. Once I did, I lost where I was at in the process. When you drag and drop items, you should group them in the centre circle in various categories (eg My Liabilities, etc). You should also label them - eg Parramatta home, City investment property, etc. Currently there's just a lot of icons all over the place"

Thanks to everyone who took part. We're delighted with the answers to 'what was great', and rest assured we'll be working on 'what needs improvement' over the coming weeks!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wealth Projector: Gamified and Holistic

We can sum up Wealth Projector's unique selling point in three words: Wealth Projector is gamified and holistic:

1. Gamified

We've gamified the Fact Find! We've applied many of the core tenets of games and gamification to the traditional financial services process of information gathering. Specifically:

  • Fun: our User Interface (UI) is heavy on cartoons, graphics and colours, and low on text
  • Self-expression: our drag-and-drop UI allows users to layout a picture of their family, arranging aspects of their lives in a way that resonates with them. The visual motif they create is used throughout the game and the Wealth Report to create an emotive connection
  • Nonlinearity: the user is guided, but not forced, into the order they complete the game. They can take their own path, focusing on their own priorities
  • Rewards: the user is prompted only for small, manageable pieces of information at a time, then continually rewarded by unlocking extra pages of their Wealth Report
  • Achievement: the user is encouraged to reach 100% completion, and rewarded with a final PDF of their work and additional bonus spreadsheet of their projections

2. Holistic

We've overturned the traditional separation of financial services calculators! In fact, the user isn't even aware they're using a calculator at all. We take as much or as little information as the user has entered so far (remember, the user gets to preview their growing report at any time) and automatically apply thousands of calculations. Often, these calculations interact in subtle ways that traditional approaches fail at. For example:

  • Combine home equity redraw with mortgage rates: we'll automatically determine the equity in the user's home, allow them to redraw it, and automatically project how that increases their mortgage repayments
  • Combine super projections with TTR: we'll automatically begin Transition to Retirement (TTR) at 55, and project how that impacts the user's superannuation
  • Combine income with negative gearing: we'll automatically apply any negatively-geared tax rebates
  • Combine savings with Age Pension: we'll automatically apply the Age Pension Income and Asset Test, and project the user's Age Pension each year
  • Interleave family ages: we'll automatically consider the difference in the user's age, their partner and their children. We'll project how this affects the different years in which their supers mature, life expectancy, school fees, and more
  • Project the variables: we let the user explore variations involving parental leave, casual jobs in retirement, mortgage rate increases, inheritance, and many more!
Together, Wealth Projector's gamified and holistic approach delivers a unique, game-changing product that makes a real difference to the financial literacy of everyday Australians.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wealth Projector: Death by Assumptions

The financial services industry is big on listing assumptions. Take, for example, a simple Income Tax Calculator. This calculator calculates income tax, given employment income and other taxable income. It explictly ignores several factors, which it lists at the bottom under Assumptions.

There are several good reasons for listing assumptions: it avoids misleading the client; it makes the calculations reproducible; and it disclaims liability. However such refrains miss a very important point. Take, for example, this assumption from the calculator above:

"The calculations do not include rebates and tax offsets that may lower the tax you pay"

This is the typical formulation. A less charitable way of writing the same statement would be:

"If your income includes any rebates or tax offsets, this calculator is not meaningful for you"

For example, if some portion of a person's income comes from a negatively-geared investment property, this calculator is simply no good to them. We tend to treat assumptions as disclaimers, but assumptions are weaknesses: every assumption a calculator makes is effectively saying 'this calculator is not useful for anybody that doesn't fit this assumption'. And given how many assumptions are often listed, this can exclude a lot of people.

As an industry, we should strive to minimise the amount we assume. In doing so, we maximise our usefulness. This requires a holistic approach to financial calculations, considering as many diverse aspects of a person's life as possible, in order to be truly meaningful.