This post is was originally published on The College Investor

This seems like an amazing piece of technology, but the steep price tag gave me some pause. This review explains how PocketSmith works, and whether you might be a good candidate for the free or upgraded version of the software.

PocketSmith Overview

PocketSmith is a financial management app with a specific focus on getting you to modify your behavior. Unlike most apps, PocketSmith uses basic forecasting to help you see how the actions you take today will translate into debt or savings six months to thirty years down the line.

PocketSmith isn’t just another financial tracking app. They offer a budgeting section, and give helpful insights into how you’re tracking relative to your budget. Even more importantly, they give insights into how your spending compares to your income.

Here are just a few of the cool graphs from the app.

Spending Compared to Budget

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Bank Account Balances

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Spending v. Saving Comparison

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Analysis of spending

Forecasting And Categorizing Can Change Your Behavior

PocketSmith gives an incredible level of insight into your finances, but I think the two best features of the app are the forecasting and categorization features. Even if you don’t pay for an upgrade, PocketSmith will forecast your net worth up to six months in advance. Don’t like the forecast you see? Change your behavior.

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Another powerful feature is the robust categorization system in PocketSmith. You can add comments, pictures, tags, and more to make categorization easy. Unfortunately, if you don’t pay to upgrade, you’ll have to manually import every single transaction into PocketSmith which can make this an overwhelming task rather than a helpful tool.

In the past, I’ve tried to use manual tools for updating my budget. One of the most notable was You Need A Budget YNAB before it upgraded to an optional import.

Unfortunately, I never turned this into a great habit, so my tracking suffered. If you can maintain the habit of manual tracking, PocketSmith is a great tool. If you have to pay, you may be disappointed by the pricing ($9.95 per month or $7.49 per month when paid annually).

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Categorizing at Transaction

Is It Too Complicated? Or Not Complicated Enough?

Although PocketSmith has much more information than the average financial app, I initially worried that it was too complicated. It does have sections with difficult to understand tables, and I admit that the app has a learning curve. Specifically, figuring out how to import transactions, and how to set budgets was somewhat complicated for me. However, once I got those things figured out, I liked it a lot.

The only trouble that I ran into was trying to figure out how the forecasts were created. It seemed that they were based on my budget rather than my actual spending which was problematic to me. Shouldn’t the forecast reflect my reality rather than my best case scenario? Since I didn’t upgrade to the higher levels, I’m not sure how the 10 or 30 year forecasts played out.

Should You Use PocketSmith?

Anyone willing to use the manual entry system for PocketSmith will find a robust tool with a free price tag. Most people who are willing to do that kind of work, will love the “handles” that PocketSmith gives to you. It’s the most visually compelling financial app that I’ve seen recently.

On the other hand, if you’re not going to bother with the manual entry, I think the price point for PocketSmith is too high for most people. Comparable (though simpler) tools seem to hover in the $5-7 per month range, and you can also download free tools like Personal Capital.

Some people may really love the benefit they see from the visualizations, and for them the $7.49 monthly price tag may prove worthwhile.

What do you think of Pocketsmith? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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