Last year Keith Alexander Ashe launched a unique consumer finance consultancy: Spendology. “Spendology uses psychology and analytics to advance financial and ecological intelligence. We develop content, products, and services that give Decision Power to the People,” explains Ashe. “We recently introduced the Finio brand and divisions. Finio Media produces the Spendology Blog and mobile apps (coming soon). Finio Tools are online financial calculators including the Instant Budget web tool that creates a smart, local, and personal budget in less than 10 minutes. Finio Green produces the Z Hook – Quick-drying Bath Towel Hook. The Z Hook dries towels in a fraction of the time, it’s green & sustainable, it prevents the growth of mold & mildew and it is Made in America.”
According to Ashe, Spendology will help consumers make better spending decisions. “Consumers are still facing pressures from a slow-growth recovery after the financial crises. Core costs like food, housing, and education are increasing while salaries have been stagnant. This makes budgeting more difficult,” he says. “According to annual surveys by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the number of people without a budget grew from 56 percent in 2012 to 61 percent in 2014. This statistic means that Spendology has a lot of work to do. We’ve had over 1500-plus customers create a budget using Spendology Instant Budget. However, we will be creating mobile apps for Android to help ensure that consumers can quickly get an accurate estimate of their personal monthly expenses.”
Although he is building Spendology, Ashe is a biomedical engineer for a biomedical research organization. And at times it is a challenge to juggle a demanding job as well as develop a new brand. “It is a challenge of time management, stress management, and the continuous search for balance,” he says.
But Ashe is focused on the purpose behind Spendology. “I want to use data, smart algorithms, and behavioral economics to improve decision outcomes for people. There is a lot of talk about ‘Big Data´—I am seeking to use the right data to empower people to make better decisions,” he explains. “Ultimately, Spendology will start to adopt a mobile strategy, developing apps that fill gaps in the financial planning and decision-making process from budgeting to trip-planning and expense tracking. We also want to team up with some financial services companies to provide their customers with some of our smart online financial calculators. We are also working to redesign the Z Hook to meet the design requirements for a major hotel chain.”
And hopefully with Spendology, consumers can avoid mistakes. Says Ashe, “One big mistake is allowing emotions to drive spending decisions. Cognitive bias also hinders making optimal decisions. Rather than assuming we know-it-all, it is better to accept that we are predictably irrational. Do some research, crunch numbers and evaluate alternatives before making quick spending decisions – big or small.”