Review of: PocketSmith
Reviewed by: Eric Rosenberg
Last modified: November 9, 2017
PocketSmith is a personal finance software solution that can let you track all of your accounts, such as checking, credit cards, student loans and investing accounts, and forecast your financial future at a glance. Its calendar function, which is modeled along the lines of Google's, is a particular selling point.
Checking, savings, credit cards, retirement, investments, mortgages, student loans. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many complexities of your personal finances. PocketSmith aims to make things much easier by bringing everything you need under one roof. But this personal finance software isn’t limited to your current situation — it creates projections of your future finances too.
PocketSmith was founded in June 2008 by New Zealanders Jason Leong, James Wigglesworth and Francois Bondiguel. They wanted to create a way to manage and communicate financial information using a calendar-and-event-based approach.
The software’s Google-like calendar is particularly helpful, giving you a glimpse of both your current account balances and future forecasts. The calendar syncs up to your accounts and your budget categories and is a real selling point for the platform.
|Price||$0.00 - $19.95/month|
|Access||Website, iOS App, Android App|
|Credit Score Monitoring|
|Import QFX, QIF Files|
Forecasting — PocketSmith bills itself as “A Time Machine for Your Money.” While some apps focus on budgeting, this software is all about forecasting. Using your existing data and trends, PocketSmith will forecast your finances up to 30 years into the future, including your estimated daily bank balances.
Budget Calendar — PocketSmith finds your recurring costs and helps you track them with a calendar. Don’t rely on just a feed of upcoming bills due; look at a user friendly calendar that shows projected expenses color-coded by category.
Scenario Testing — Enter possible financial scenarios, such as a year abroad, and watch how it impacts your financial forecast. You can plan for the future and make big financial decisions with data, not just a gut instinct.
Budgeting — While forecasting is on the forefront, PocketSmith did not forget about the trusty budget. Create and track your budget and adjust to view spending plans by month, quarter, year or other flexible periods.
Net Worth — Based on your connected accounts, PocketSmith automatically calculates your net worth. Link specific assets to liabilities (like a home to a mortgage loan) to track that asset’s total value.
Income and Expense Statements — Look at your money like a business with PocketSmith’s version of a profit and loss statement, or P&L. The income and expense report is laid out similar to a business financial statement but is categorized with your financial categories.
What Is PocketSmith?
PocketSmith is a personal finance aggregation and analysis app that allows you to view a summary of all your financial accounts, transaction histories and budgets in one place. If this sounds familiar, it is because there are many competing products in the industry that offer similar features.
But PocketSmith is unique from competitors in a few ways. On the negative side, one of the more obvious differences is that — unlike Mint and Personal Capital — unless you want a very basic version with limited capabilities, it’s not free. These competitors are supported by advertising. PocketSmith is ad-free, but you have to pay for most of its useful features.
However, one of the advantages that PocketSmith has over the competition is that it allows you to create a budget at any time, for any amount of time. This flexibility is in contrast to the traditional standard monthly budget that begins on the first of the month. PocketSmith allows you to create daily, weekly or monthly budgets that start on whatever day you want.
In addition to tracking recurring expenses like rent or utilities, you can add one-time expenses or income like quarterly taxes or freelance income. PocketSmith allows you to track all of your spending with standard budget categories, but you can also create your own.
PocketSmith provides clear information on your spending habits, comparing your budgeted versus actual expenses to see where you are off track. In addition, PocketSmith shows itemized spending categories in an easy-to-read pie chart.
How PocketSmith Works
The Signup Process
Creating a PocketSmith account takes only a few seconds (seriously, it took us only about 25 seconds), and there are a total of five steps. There’s no confidential information required upon signup, and you can change your plan, upgrade, downgrade or cancel the service at any time.
After creating your account, you’re offered three choices: Import your information from another service (like Mint.com), manually add your bank information and transactions, or take the tour to see how it all works first.
In my case, I tested out importing information from my Mint.com account. PocketSmith explained some simple instructions in order to do this, which involved logging into my Mint account and exporting the information. Then I simply uploaded the Excel file to PocketSmith’s site.
Once your account is ready, you’ll be taken to the dashboard, where you can view your earning and spending habits. By clicking on the different buttons, you can see your past spending history for up to six months (for the free version). The dashboard also includes a snapshot of your budget and financial forecast. More on those in a moment.
PocketSmith takes an interesting “freemium” approach to its bank feed feature. You can enter transactions manually using the free version, but getting live bank feeds with updates for every transaction requires paying for one of the two premium plans, which start at $9.95 per month. With the paid plans, you can connect to any of 10,000-plus financial institutions and get automatic updates. Every time you log into PocketSmith, you’ll see the freshest data from all of your accounts.
Transaction Tracking and Organization
Look through your transactions and assign categories and labels using your own favorite transaction management method. PocketSmith doesn’t force you into “one size fits all” categories. You can also add notes for transactions. Users can search transactions by amount, category, tag or notation text.
After taking a look at your overall spending information, the next step is to create a budget. This will help you spot any problem areas where you’re over- or under-spending.
Importing From Mint
Many people use Mint.com as their first financial tool online but realize that its customer service isn’t great or that important accounts in their lives are not supported. PocketSmith has a unique import tool — Express Migration — that will transfer all of your information from Mint in just a few minutes.
Plans and Pricing
PocketSmith offers three pricing plans:
Free — The free plan allows adding up to two accounts and requires you to manually import bank details. Unless you want to manually track your finances and export from every bank and import into PocketSmith, you should avoid this plan, which includes up to 12 budgets and six months of projections.
Premium — The $9.95 per month (or $89 per year) plan includes a heck of a lot more. This tier unlocks automatic bank feed updates, automatic transaction importing and automatic transaction categorization. Get unlimited budgets, up to 10 accounts and 10 years of projections. Make sure to note the 10-account limit in this tier.
Super — This all-access plan runs $19.95 per month or $169 per year. It includes everything you’ll get with the Premium plan with no account limit. It also unlocks a 30-year forecast feature.
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Pros and Cons
- Flexibility — Create a budget at any time for any amount of time: daily, weekly or monthly.
- Track One-Time Events — PocketSmith allows you to track one-time events such as quarterly taxes or freelance income.
- Create Your Own Categories — PocketSmith lets you create your own budgeting categories, in addition to standard categories.
- Google-Like Calendar System — You can set up a calendar to see your current account balances alongside future forecasts. This syncs up with your accounts and budget categories and is a real selling point for the app.
- Compatible With Mint.com — You can use PocketSmith to enhance your Mint.com experience.
- Smooth Signup Process — It's easy and quick to sign up and get started (honestly, it took us seconds).
- You Won't Master It in a Day — We found that it takes a while to learn how to use all of the app's functions.
- Free Version Is Limited — If you're serious about using PocketSmith's functions, you're going to have to purchase a subscription.
PocketSmith is a 5-star product with one-star pricing. If you couldn’t get most of what Pocketsmith does for free elsewhere, it would stand out as an amazing and powerful financial tool. However, its pricing makes Pocketsmith less desirable than most competitors.
If you don’t mind the cost, PocketSmith is one of the best featured financial aggregators out there.
The crown jewel of PocketSmith is the calendar function, which is used to track all of your accounts, such as checking, credit cards, student loans, etc. The free version of the app offers two calendars, which could be used to track a checking account and a credit card account, but that’s it.
Most people have many accounts they are looking to track and see projected forecasts for. In this case, upgrading to a Premium or Super account is necessary.
For $9.95 a month, the Premium account is considered their “best value subscription.” If you are looking for high-level, detailed information on your accounts and future financial forecasts, PocketSmith might be worth the investment. However, if your current free system is working, I recommend saving your money for something else.