It’s not about your budget #my22seven

There are few things that arouse emotion as much as money does. What in theory should be logical and abstract – a means of exchange, a unit of accounting – is actually fraught with greed, elation, fear, hope, envy and a dozen other intense feelings.

These powerful emotions often distort our relationship with money. We’ve all spent money for entirely irrational reasons – I’ve had a bad day, I want to look cool, I need to be loved – only to bitterly regret it later.

So how do we stop ourselves from irrationally spending? It’s all about self discipline, right? If we just knuckle down and concentrate we’ll stop doing it. Because that’s worked SO well in the past.

Or we could ask for help. The world is teeming with financial advisors and self help books about money. Except that as soon as we’re away from said advisor or book, the spending begins again. But thanks to smartphones there is a way to carry those good habits with you wherever you go.

22seven, created by a team of South African entrepreneurs and technologists, is all about good habits. It’s not a “budget app” – it’s a system that helps you to see your money differently, to think about it differently and to make different decisions as a result. As one of its founders, Christo Davel, says “It’s about helping people not to make kak decisions about money.”

I’ve used 22seven since just about day one in January 2012. I’m a veteran of “budget apps” and I was skeptical that 22seven would really do anything different. But over time it has slowly and subtly helped me to change my behaviour. Part of the reason the service works is that it isn’t preachy or prescriptive – it gently encourages you to reach the financial goals you set for yourself.

But the team at 22seven are still unsatisfied with what they’ve achieved. Though the app has been through dozens of iterations, 22seven has still not achieved the bigger dream – to set us free from money worries and fundamentally change our relationship with money.

Part of this will come from continually testing and improving their product. Davel talks about getting down to a “segment of one” – a service that speaks directly to each user about their exact habits, and how they can be changed.

These kinds of consistent nudges make a big difference over time, but 22seven is not content to simply nudge. They have much bigger and bolder plans about putting people in direct control of their financial well being. Naturally they are still cagey about details. When pushed for details Davel just grins and tells me to “wait and see”.

(22seven is free – as in 100% free. Try it today. You won’t regret it)

FULL DISCLOSURE: I work for Publicis Machine, 22seven’s advertising agency. That said, I was using and writing about 22seven long before I moved here.

One Response to “It’s not about your budget #my22seven

  • I love the concept of 22seven, was also one of the early BETA testers and still tune in from time to time. In fact, the whole PFM space fascinates me.

    But. I haven’t had as much joy with the service. I think I may have figured it out… If you have a steady single source of income – then it probably works like a bomb. But multiple sources of income, lots of different investment accounts with cash moving in and out fairly regularly (like prep for provisional tax payments for instance) just makes it too complex. Too much money IN and money OUT that isn’t always IN or OUT – if you know what I mean!

    I keep dipping back in though. It’s just too much work at the moment. All support for when Christo gets to those segments of one 🙂