For Christmas, many years ago, my in-laws gave me a GPS. I am not sure of the exact reason why. It might be that they think I get lost a lot, or they think I need someone to tell me when I am going the wrong way. I guess they forgot I already had my wife to do that.
I didn’t have a lot of chances to use the GPS, as I mostly have been going to places which I had already been to before. However, I eventually did try it out just to see how the device actually works and how it deals with various issues, like when I decide to take different routes.
While I enjoy having this technological marvel, but it got me thinking: I wish there was something like this for financial decisions and spending follies, sort of a Financial GPS.
Just think of how great it would be to have something that would announce to you, “Because you went out to dinner and spent $135.67 you will now only be able to retire in 37 years 3 months and 2 days” or even better, “You have just spent $400 more than your budgeted amount for discretionary spending this month, and there are still 17 days left in this month“.
Wouldn’t that just be astoundingly cool?
In some ways Quicken is kind of like that, but it doesn’t have the instantaneous feedback that this kind of tool would need.
What Does it Need ?
My guess is that if you had a stern voice in this contraption (my GPS has a Female English accent, so it sounds a lot like my Mother), might it stop folks from impulse buying? Might it stop them from squandering money if they were afraid of how the device would react to it? Maybe, but just think how embarrassed they might be standing in line at a store and have a voice boom out, “You do not have enough money to buy that, put it back on the shelf!“?
If anyone does invent such a device, I have put in a patent claim on it already, so you will owe me royalties, or simply pay me a lump sum and you can use the idea :-).
I wrote this about ten years ago, but unfortunately the GPS technology fad ended. Apps like Waze and Google Maps have replaced them, and the GPS now fades into the technology sunset. A good idea, that is now part of our day to day lives.