I’ve been working at Strands for half a year already. During this time, I’ve been an active member of the MoneyStrands mobile team, leading the development of the app for the Android platform, adding new functionalities and looking to improve the user experience wherever possible. I’ve been also helping customers to integrate the Strands Personal Financial Management (PFM) product with their own apps.
Personal Finance Background
I have always been totally oblivious to my financial situation and a little too naive with money, I suppose. When I was little, I was taught that there was no easy way of managing your money, that the hardworking ant would always be more rewarded than the lazy grasshopper. A lot of people from my generation started to be afraid of being in debt to anybody once the economic crisis hit.
You’ve probably heard that losing is a learning experience, that failure teaches you to work harder and can be a powerful motivator, but I have no doubt that most people can’t afford to put their life savings in jeopardy and risk their family’s future, just to put it down to ‘a lesson learned’.
I have always been an over-thinker when it came to my financial future, asking myself “What if something bad happens to me and I cannot afford to keep paying my debts?”, “What if I lose everything?”, “What if all the hard work and suffering now accounts for nothing down the line?”. Living with these sorts of constant worries has taught me that life is more about the experiences and discovering new places and people; the now rather than the fear of the unknown and an uncertain future. Experiences are the only things I can truly own, the only thing that can’t be lost or taken away from me. I have adopted a “live for now” approach to life, and enjoy each individual experience for what it is.
Just when you think you have all the answers
I’m a very curious person, so when I embark on a new project, I want to take it apart and understand it fully, and what its purpose is. The same applied to MoneyStrands. Once I discovered it, it introduced me a whole new world of experience.
It is often very difficult when you create a product, to understand intuitively what a first-time user experiences, and what each user’s learning curve may look like, so I try to always follow a user-centered design. Thinking like your target users helps you to discover all the possible user scenarios and question elements that you otherwise wouldn’t think of.
As a first-time user in the case of MoneyStrands, I tested the app out on myself before going any further, attempting to see what value it added to my personal finances. After analysing my expenses and cash flow, the app helped me to find see patterns in my spending, create budgets and saving goals and has taught me to control my expenses. I am more able to detect issues now than before and have discovered that my sleepless nights worrying about money and the future were because I didn’t know how to manage my money properly.
Ignorance is not bliss
Managing personal finances is about a change of behaviour and mentality. I was thinking that not worrying about the future would make the elephant in the room disappear. There are concepts that we are not open to learning because of a fear of the unknown or because of the way we were taught to do things in the past. I would definitely recommend giving it a try as I did – you will see the benefits for yourself.
That’s my personal story. From a MoneyStrands team perspective, we will keep working to improve the user experience, and make this transition being on top of your money as smooth as possible!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raúl Jareño is an iOS and Android Software Developer at Strands, the FinTech partner for banks and makers of MoneyStrands. His professional career has been focused on banking products and solutions, security and identity management for the mobile environment.