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Joined Balancion board

I have joined the board of directors of Balancion (www.balancion.com), a company on a mission to help you save money and organize your personal finances.. Actually I joined the board a while back, blogging about it now because it will soon be grand opening time for Balancion's service.

Probably the most famous startup in this space is Mint (www.mint.com), that has been very successful in attracting customers (they had 1.2 million users in June, according to their CEO as interviewed by PaidContent.org), Mint is focusing on the US markets. There are other players in this field as well, to name a few: www.wesabe.com, www.rudder.com, www.geezo.com, www.xero.com, and Expensr.. All of which are almost solely US-focused.

Balancion is not only bringing the same concept to the Finnish, Scandinavian and EU markets, but also looking to enhance it quite a bit in the process. Currently the company is looking for beta-testers into the Finnish test market launch (go sign up at www.balancion.com), which will be around October this year. Balancion also has a Facebook page with some additional info in there; http://www.facebook.com/balancion

Antti Akonniemi has some (finnish only, sorry) thoughts on Balancion in their "Binesmiehet" site, here.

ArcticStartup just recently wrote an article on Balancion.

Balancion is CEO'd by Mr. Jussi Muurikainen and implemented with the help of the good folks from Idean. The company is financed and BoD-governed by owners & executives from the footwear company Jalas.

The central idea is to offer a service that will automatically keep track of your finances and offer you plenty of help and guidance in how to sort it all out, save some money, and quite probably end up in a situation that is much more financially well off. Naturally its also about more intelligent spending; saving money and using it for the kinds of things that you really want/need; like a good holiday every once and while. "Automatically" in this context means that the service has the capability to read in your credit card, bank account etc statements automatically and build the analysis on those. The targeted use-case here is that after some initial info and registering the user needs only to spend money and the service will be able to sort it all out. Balancion is certainly well on its way in implementation towards this.

Ever heard some rich people say that it's not really in how much you earn, but rather in how little you spend? There's real wisdom in that thought and the evidence of it actually working is quite overwhelming.

The truth is that the personal finances of most people are out of control today. Somehow people have confused being in debt with actually owning something. Many who claim to own their own homes, businesses, cars etc, are in fact up to their ears in debt and the bank is never very far from de facto owning their possessions. People are brought up with this idea that credit and debt equals money from almost since birth. They enter the working life and society with all kinds of funny notions on this topic, and the results of that we see everywhere; bloated housing prices, everyone and their dog up their arses in debt, and you still wonder where the financial crisis did come from? It would do a world of good if people actually bothered to find out how money mechanics work, or even arse themselves to as little as googling what is a "Fiat Currency"....

People desperately need to start loaning less, saving more and living a financially sustainable life.

This would also be a better deal for the banks: financially stable people taking educated risks and well positioned to pay back everything they loan. And they still should loan; where it makes sense, and where they can pay it back, in a sustainable way.

How much debt I have? About a 1000 euros, and its all in my credit card. Why do I even have credit cards? Because I travel and they give you better exchange rates on foreign currencies than the rip-off bereau de change. Plus they have insurances and stuff..

OK enough for the rant there ;-)

Solutions like Balancion are in high demand, and I hope services like these would have some impact on society and people would start to think about financial sustainability, savings, debt, etc in a more educated and successful manner.

It's been a pleasure to be involved with developing another well-backed startup full of enthusiasm and great ideas. Consider joining the beta and checking it out - it's not like you wouldn't need to be more financially successful, right? ;)

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Comments

On savings & money automation

The key to saving is automation - setting up systems that automatically pay bills due, automatically save X amount of salary to savings account, automatically pay down credit card debt. It makes you feel free and you don't have to worry.

Ramit has some good practical tips on personal finance automation in his blog&book: http://iwillteachyoutoberich.com

Also Mr. Tim Ferris is a big fan of personal finance automation.

I know Jussi from the past, and I hope you guys do well here. Obviously there's a lot of competition in this space but as you pointed out it's mostly U.S. based. Good luck.

Oh, and on fiat money

Fiat money & central banking is basically responsible for nearly all asset bubble crises in the last few centuries.

For a good introduction on what is (fiat) money, I suggest watching Paul Grignon's excellent animation "Money as debt": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8

Thanks for the video tip

Thanks for the video link there, good stuff. Will probably link that around a few times.

Automation and debt

If you hate debt you should really read some of Dave Ramsey's books.

I made a short review (in Finnish) about one of his books, The Total Money Makeover, on my blog a couple of weeks ago: http://tarkkamarkka.com/blogi/2009/07/kesalukemista-oman-talouden-hallin...

I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone struggling with debt.

And yes, as a frugality / personal finance blogger I can't wait for Balancion to launch.

The Future of Money

There is an excellent book called "The Future of Money" by Bernard Lietaer covering the history of the formation of the current system and why it needs a restart:

http://www.amazon.com/Future-Money-Creating-Wealth-Wiser/dp/0712699910

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