Getting my finances organised has always been one of my key priorities in life. This is so that I do not need to fret about money.
I have always admired financial bloggers 15HWW and BULLy the BEAR. They are able to track their financial expenses down to the very last cent. And they do it religiously every day, every month, every year. Come rain or shine, hail or high water.
I tried to do it for a year. I used an app called Wally.
I keyed in all my expenses diligently, even when I paid $1.20 for a cup of milk tea at the kopitiam.
It required too much effort on a daily basis. It was so tedious that I gave up after a year. It was just not sustainable.
I remembered thinking how good life would have been if these functions can be automated.
My prayers were answered recently. DBS has just launched a digital personal finance advisor in their digibank app.
Like many others, I have been a POSB client since I was in Primary School. I am also a regular user of the digibank app. In fact, I noticed the function even before DBS announced it publicly and I have been exploring the features for a while already.
Overview of the Financial GPS
This digital personal finance advisor is called “Financial GPS”.
Financial GPS is not merely an expense tracker. It is an all-in-one app that helps users keep track and manage all aspects of their personal finances. The catchy mnemonics SAIL – Savings, Assurance, Investment and Life goals, sums up everything nicely.
Financial GPS summarises the status of your SAIL. This is done by taking the banking data you have with DBS and consolidating them into a snapshot of your financial health. At a glance, it shows you the aspects in which you have done well and where you would need to pay more attention on.
For my case, I have sufficient emergency savings amounting to 6 months worth of my expenses. I have the majority of my wealth in investments. I only have 4 out of 5 coverage under Assurance.
Lastly, many of our Life Goals or aspirations require a fair bit of money to achieve and a great many years to plan for. For example, I could set a goal to save up to renovate my house in about a year’s time. If I need a $50,000 budget and have set aside $30,000, the app will tell me I need to save $1,026 a month to reach the financial goal.
This overview is to make sure your financial plan is well rounded. Below is a screenshot of my SAIL status.
Savings: My favourite automated expense tracker
I believe many users will find this the most useful because we spend money every day! Given the frequent transactions, the automation is a time saver.
Like a proud kid with his new toy, I would like to showcase some of the features to you.
#1 – Auto-catergorisation of expenses. I use DBS credit cards (Altitude and Woman’s World. Yes, I’m in the miles camp) and hence the bank already knows what I am spending my money on.
With the merchant codes, they would be able to auto-categorise my expenses. I can see the default categories in my app – Health & Fitness (medical fees), Transfer (bank transfers), Cash (ATM withdrawals), Insurance (premium payments), Transportations (Grab/ComfortDelGro cabs and EZ-link top-ups), Bills, Utilities & Taxes, Dining, Shopping and Personal Care (bought diapers at Venus Beauty).
#2 – Manual customisation. What if you have other expenses beyond what was signed to your DBS/POSB credit cards? What if you would like to track how you are spending your cash? Or you may want to exclude certain expenses because you were just transferring cash from one account to another?
With Financial GPS, these are all possible. The app allows you to add or delete expenses and re-categorise as you wish.
I think DBS has been very generous with these manual features. Rather than choosing to isolate users from other banks, they have chosen to make this app inclusive, practical and useful for everyone.
#3 – Setting budgets. This is another useful feature in Financial GPS. It allows the user to set a monthly budget for each category of expenses.
At one glance, I will be able to know close am I running to my allocated budget for each expense category. Should a category show a deficit, it is a timely reminder to review the spendings in more detail.
Getting Help with Assurance, Investment and Life Goals
I have covered the Savings portion of Financial GPS. Most people will be able to navigate this aspect successfully on their own. As for Assurance, Investment and Life Goals, it might actually be good to get some help.
Insurance is complex. I know of many people who are under-insured. Many of them are actually over paying for their policies and not achieving the required coverage.
Investment is just as complex. Many are not willing to devote time and effort to acquire the knowledge and to manage their own portfolio.
DBS has launched the NAV Hub where you can set an appointment with a qualified NAV crew to discuss about your financial plan.
The thought sounds intimidating for many. Why would I want to set myself up for people to push products and make me part with my money?
The good thing is, NO SALES are allowed at the NAV Hub. DBS has structured it to be a pure consultancy with the aim of providing a service and helping individuals or families to get a better grasp on their finances.
The NAV Crew would meet you privately and it would be good to share your current financial status and where some of your life or financial goals you would like to achieve. Thereafter, the Crew would be able to recommend actionable steps you can take to bring you closer to your goals.
You would have an objective financial plan as the NAV Crew would not recommend any specific products. You can set up an appointment with the NAV crew and best of all, the service is free! Now, what’s your risk?
With Financial GPS and the NAV Hub, you will be able to manage and track all aspects of your finances painlessly. You can give the Financial GPS a try in your digibank app and also find out more at the DBS NAV website.
This article is sponsored by DBS and the views expressed are solely of the author.