I update our Google Sheet regularly for changes in bank account balances, shareholdings, dividend & interest income received etc. As much as I like designing the templates, graphs and charts on the different spreadsheets (which is important in understanding your personal finance situation), I always think to myself whether it is possible to have a single window on all of our holdings.
After all, we have multiple bank, brokerage and retirement accounts and it’s time-consuming having to login separately many times to access the information I need to update the Google Sheet. Plus the requirement to enter OTPs from devices and phone SMS after logging in is driving me up the wall. We have about 10 of these devices and even finding a place to store them is troublesome.
FinTech in Singapore
This is where I would like to introduce you to my hope for FinTech. It’s relatively new in Singapore but it’s starting to gain traction here. I have been reading articles on FinTech in Singapore and exploring the websites of some of the start-ups. This concept of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) as critical to innovation is really interesting.
APIs is defined as sets of requirements that specify how one application interacts with another. This will enable financial institutions to integrate their systems internally and allow for interaction with third parties such as start-ups or service providers for the development of better products.
Doesn’t this sound like it’s headed in the direction of a possible future in Singapore where I can access a third party website to view all of my bank, brokerage and retirement accounts holdings? I understand there will be issues around information security and data governance but I’m sure there are ways to address this.
Benefits for personal finance
This is already happening in other parts of the world like US and it should be an eventuality in Singapore as well. Imagine, real-time updates of all of our holdings with a single login. This is just one of the many applications of FinTech and you can already see how it will benefit many people.
With all these information, it is possible for data manipulation to come up with graphs and charts that can better present your assets, liabilities, income and expenses over time (past, current and projected). This will allow for a greater understanding of your personal finances to come up with changes to asset allocations, budgets etc to meet your future financial goals.
In any case, I reckon Google Sheet still has a role to play in the monitoring of our personal finances. After all, third party access to the relevant data might be limited or phased in and it might be a while before we can realise these benefits. Besides, it is possible to tailor Google Sheet to your own specifications and needs, which can at times give a better snapshot of your personal finance picture.
Ultimately, I hope FinTech continues to grow in Singapore and bring along benefits to all the consumers here. This could result in an evolution of personal finance management and that’s an exciting possibility to ponder.