Tag Archives: budget

22seven vs moneysmart. Smarter..? Smartest..?

So there’s been a bit of an explosion on the social media lately as everyone applauds or laments this new money management platform: 22seven. Its awesomely funded launch has seen a huge buzz rise up from all the who’s who of the South African social media world.

It offers a great platform: Manage your money with budgets and tracking devices that helps you see what is going where and how and why. All the finicky things about finance that we don’t want to think about. I say YAY. Someone else can worry about numbers and stats, and tell us a personal summary so we can keep  lounging around eating sushi/bon-bons/cupcakes or vetkoek (in our underwear… depending on who you are).

But what’s the catch?

The obvious controversy is that 22seven has to link to your bank and all of your account details in order to track every time you swipe a card or make a payment. The banks have all been pretty clear that you violate their terms of insurance and protection if you give your details to a platform like 22seven and will therefore you will be covered nothing… NADA if you get phished online. You become liable.  Unlike our grandpas who wanted fish on their lines in the sea. The 2012 web is not the sea. It’s a place where the phish bite back. Im not saying that 22seven is a scam, or that they will even try to hack your details. But now all the hackers and darkest parts of Nigeria’s lottery-email spam factories have caught wind of this information. Do you really want to jeapordise your security? I panic the second I get tweeted a link…in case it’s a hack or spam attempt. Am I really going to put all my banking details onto a site that can access everything? I don’t even allow apps access to my Facebook info… No.

Seems like the universal answer is: no. (Unless the bank allowed it in their security policy)

Another Option:

Now that we are all interested and keen on the idea of an online money management platform. But hesitant about the implications, how about I remind you about a service that I blogged about a couple months ago: moneysmart.

Moneysmart is more established. And has all of the security of an FBI special agent. I know this because I was in their offices before they launched. Now I can’t speak for 22seven, and I’m sure they have good ideas and intentions too. I’m not going to be one of those fake bloggers who pretends to be completely objective. I will never advocate something I don’t believe in. So all i know is that when I saw all this buzz on 22seven I thought to myself… moneysmart IS secure. They DON’T ask for your secret details. So i wanted to tell you. moneysmart opted NOT to go for the “give us all your banking details and pin numbers” approach. Why? Because they didn’t WANT the client to be forced to jeopardise their security agreements with the bank. Yes the banks are all being sticky with 22seven… AND with moneysmart, and they could honestly make some adaptions and make life easier for these external platforms to help us better. But until they suck it up – the fact remains: moneysmart is the only financial platform in dialogue with SA’s top 5 financial institutes. read more here.

The implications are that moneysmart is slightly less user friendly in terms of ‘bells whistles and flash-plugins’ and you have to manually upload your bank CSV forms yourself (a rather tedious process initially, but it’s better than giving your pin and info over to the internet gods. In my opinion.) Here’s a column I wrote about HOW to upload your CSV. This way you have complete financial control of the information on this site. Which is what they aim at “Shift control” is their slogan. They don’t appear to have as big a marketing budget so the hype about them is less evident. But all I’m saying is: if you’re considering the responsible money approach. Know your options.

Control your decisions.

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Money: Stupid to Smart.

Now like most freelancers, I take a pretty big ‘Ostrich’ stance to my money. No, that doesn’t mean I wear feather boas and run about kicking people. I’m referring to that myth (that actually doesn’t ever happen) of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand to hide from bad things. Now since Scientists would have us believe that it’s NOT true, ostriches are mistakenly branded cowards when they are actually just putting their heads near to the ground in order to better purvey the horizon – thus being PRO-active. PRO-tective. SMART.

Perhaps we should adopt the TRUE ostrich style about our money, and put our heads down – survey the horizon and try to predict the trouble. Be money smart.

Yes, easier said than done. Money. Numbers…Gah. My head hurts already. Can we talk about nail-polish yet? All I know about money is that it apparently can’t buy you happiness. But it CAN pay for my internet connection, which is pretty much the same thing. And it buys me shoes. Shoes make me happy. So in conclusion: all I know about money, is wrong.

Good thing it doesn’t need to be up to me. There are some very smart, very generous people out there. People who have called me on-board to try out their new money-management website called *drumroll* ….. moneysmart.co.za 

It’s basically a website that’s FREE and there to act as our own personal Private Banker. (Yes, I see your eyes glazing over – they kind of lost me there too. But bear with me.) It’s Money for Dummies. It’s also Money for Smart people. It’s an online community of accessible money talk.

Nutshell:

You sign up, with a very simple ‘enter email’ interface. And then you have the option of linking your info via Facebook, Linkedin or Manually. It links to your bank account and helps you manage your budgets and goals with nifty little graphs and tricks like keeping tabs on all your transactions.

How safe is it? It’s apparently VERY secure. They threw big words like ‘FBI certificates’ and ‘most secure platform possible’ at me when I asked. Apparently it’s more secure than most banks online. But then again, they told me that Facebook is more secure than most online banks these days too. So while I’m feeling more secure about this whole moneysmart thing, I’m feeling more like taking all my money and hiding it under my bed for safe keeping. Like a fictional Ostrich might.

The Challenge: I have signed up to this website thingy. It launched this week in SA. It is for South Africans, to try and help us all be more responsible and to LIVE with our money, rather than just ‘survive’. I know nothing about my money. I am going to do what this website tells me, making budgets, trying to plan and map out things like goals, dreams and realities with spending. 

The Process: I will be writing a weekly column on their website as the ‘Lifestyle’ section. You know in movies when they say ‘we need to try this out on the biggest idiot we can find, and if they can master it – then anyone can.’? I am feeling largely like their idiot guinea pig. (Hey, at least I’m not an Ostrich!)

The Outcome: According to the smart people behind the money of Money Smart. I will certainly come out with a better grasp of my finances.  They have forums for asking questions. Smart technology that monitors your spending patterns and guides you with suggestions of how to use your budgets better. Weekly column updates from REAL money experts giving advice on Investments and other money terms that I don’t know yet. And we all know, knowledge is power. I like power.

Challenge accepted! 

This is not a shameless plug. I get nothing if you guys go and sign up. I am just hoping that I LEARN something by signing up myself. It all sounds very responsible and grown up and I think it’s high time people start taking control of their money – so I’d recommend this to everyone to do. We really have nothing to lose. It’s free. (To be honest, I’m not really sure WHAT they are gaining from us… and when I asked WHY they are making this website he started glowing and getting all philosophical about spreading wealth and paying it forward. A hippy genius, generous, financial guru? If i hadn’t seen it with my own eyes – I wouldn’t have believed it either.) *high five*

I’m all about spreading high-fives of awesome, and when I heard about this site. I genuinely got excited. It’s a recession, we are all struggling. We need this. The Economy needs this. America’s economy is even so bad that Angelina Jolie is gonna start adopting American kids now.

Let’s do this thing.

*Money filled hands High Five*

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