Since 2009, I’ve been writing about marriage and money, and in these past 8 years I’ve seen an explosion in FinTech with apps designed to help people manage their finances.
While there are several fantastic money apps out there, the ones I’ve seen so far are designed with individuals in mind. That completely makes sense, but it still leaves a huge hole for couples who have some or all of their accounts shared.
The Challenge of Managing Money Together
Many couples listening to the podcast and on my site have a mix of joint accounts along with individual accounts like IRAs, 401(k)s, ‘fun’ accounts, and credit cards.
Based on the emails and comments I get, there’s a whole spectrum of how couples work their systems.
For FinTech companies and entrepreneurs, the challenge can be daunting. You’d need to design an app that is flexible enough to deal with the myriads of combinations of account juggling most couples deal with on a daily basis.
It’s enough to scare most people away.
And then I heard about Honeyfi.
Designing an App for Couples by Couples
Last year in San Diego during the FinCon conference, I met Sam Shultz and Joe Stanish about an idea they were working on – an app designed to help couples manage and communicate better about their money.
Sam and Joe shared a bit of how they handled their finances – Sam and his wife Lily went all in with their money. Joe and his girlfriend kept things financially separated, but still wanted to be on the same page.
Along with Ramy Serageldin, these three co-founded and publicly released Honeyfi last month – a new money app designed specifically for couples.
That got my attention.
Meeting Those Technology and Relationship Challenges
Trying out Honeyfi, I noticed a few small, but key details that I felt nailed that funny balance couples seek when merging their lives and finances.
Tagging transactions as yours, mine, and ours
It may seem small, but how many times have you tried to figure which bills count as personal and which are households?
Let’s take pets. For us, when we got married, my cat came along. In the beginning, I felt like responsible for his bills.
Over the years, “my cat” slowly became “our cat”. And so did those vet bills.
The way we did our monthly reviews then, there were some transitions that didn’t go so smoothly. A tool like Honeyfi – where you can tag expenses with notes – could get the ball rolling with those kinds of conversations.
With any long-term relationship, especially marriage, transitions are ironically a constant part of it.
Choosing what you share
Some couples are ready to jump into joint accounts, but others may want to take their time before merging finances.
Many working professionals also have individual IRAs and 401(k)s. In addition, with millennials exploring side hustles as income streams or experimenting with entrepreneurship, having a flexible way to organize and track accounts is crucial of many couples.
I personally have a business account, and although my husband is interested in how my business is doing, he doesn’t want to see it at a detailed level. So when I connected that account to Honeyfi, I could easily select settings to have my husband can see the balance but not transactions.
Honeyfi’s share system is a handy way to keep each other in the loop without information overload.
Every couple can discuss and decide which method works best for their finances, communication, and relationship.
Commenting on transactions
We live in a text, tweet, rapid comment world. I thought Honeyfi pulled it together nicely in the app with their transaction comments.
How many times have you wanted to ask your spouse or partner something about a bill, but forgot? Things can get hectic.
We have two littles ones, so I know how easy it is to forget or push off conversations. Going on money dates has been incredibly helpful, but they’re monthly for us. Having a quick conversation in real-time is smart way to stay on top of money and your relationship.
Designing Around Relationships and Money
With FinTech there is a fantastic opportunity to offer value beyond just the finances. Serving users also means looking at it holistically. I think Honeyfi is on to something that can benefit many couples trying to work together.
Elle Martinez hosts the podcast CoupleMoney with the goal of helping couples rid themselves of debt. Check out her show and her blog for wonderful personal financial managment tips.