Business Opportunities in Personal Finance

Part of my goal with this blog is to keep better track of ideas I have on businesses I could start down the road.
One of the huge opportunities is personal finance.  Here are some observations:

  • The national savings rate is getting a lot more attention, and I think people are paying more attention to consumer credit debt
  • I meet a lot of people who don’t understand how to make their money work for them and truly appreciate what it’s doing
    • One friend owns a condo and is reluctant to take out a home equity loan to pay for improvements in their kitchen
    • One friend thinks they should pay down their home loan faster
    • Another follows the news in the stock market and feels powerless amidst all the bad news in the press
  • Internationally lots of new people are coming onto the playing field of capitalism with little training from their parents who grew up in a totally different political situation
  • Lots of boomers are going to start cashing out their 401k and pensions
  • It’s hard to see the forest from the trees, a lot of the tools out there today are for paying bills and managing the tactics of finance–not helping me see the big picture
    • Apps like Money and Quicken make it seem like the goal is to get things balanaced and accurately account for everything–that’s basically a giant waste of time!
  • I have to log into Fidelity, Bank of America, Amex, and Chase all separately to make transactions.  Money or Quicken will aggregate data in a one-way approach, but that doesn’t really help me take action
  • Whenever I listen to the radio, there is a deluge of ads for refis.  This has got to be artificial.  There really cannot be that much human value in this.  We’ve started to see a correction in this, and we’ll see more I think.

Some companies I want to explore more: Geezeo, Yodlee, Mint, Voyant, BoulevardR, Quicken, Wesabe.

Another way to think of it: what would it mean to “zillow”-ify the finance space.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, the advertising industry is going to grow hugely.  No one seems to be really cashing in on the notion of pay-per-spend advertising.  It’s all about pay-per-click.  There are clearly privacy issues, but utlimately their is a HUGE goldmine of information in people’s spending habits.

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