Data obsessive

On my recent holiday, I’d go for a jog in the morning. It was an easy enough run to the local surf club, exactly 1.5 km away, so a 3km run in total. Even though I knew the exact distance, I would always turn on Strava when I began each run to record my data (my 15 year old son hammered my times, making me feel very old!). I can tell you now the times of all my runs (I won’t bore you).

Apple and other smart watches record an incredible amount of data on ourselves. We are able to see how many steps we took in a given day, what our heart rate is, how long we slept. It has turned people into obsessives with their own data.

People don’t carry the same level of obsession is data collection when it comes to their finances. When I do a Building Wealth assessment with clients with Data Points, the lowest score is always on Planning and Monitoring. In The Millionaire Next Door, they found that those prodigious accumulators of wealth (PAWs) spend considerable more time on their finances than under accumulators of wealth (UAWs).

Is there an app for that?

The Millionaire Next Door was written in 1996, before apps were a thing and there was no way of collecting data other than manually. People simply spent some time studying their plan and ensuring it was on track.

There is no app in Ireland that will collect and collate your financial data, the market is simply too small. But even if there was, would it be beneficial? How long do people with smart watches spend studying their health data and use it to improve their fitness and lifestyle? I would guess very few. People would probably spend more time studying how much they spent on cups of coffee in a year rather than focusing on the big ticket items that actually make a difference.

Taking time out to actually look at how much money you have saved, how much money is going into investments, what large expenditures are coming up will be a lot more beneficial than having some app record things for you. Doing it manually means you are conscious of your habits and you can make changes to reach your goals, whether they are short term or long term goals.

Spend time on making sure you are doing the right thing and on course to achieve your goals and make the adjustments as they arise.

Steven Barrett

4 September 2023