Nova Money Planner - Q&A

I was just about to say the same. A lot of this may come across as criticism, but as people who have an interest in this sector our thoughts/comments should not be dismissed offhand.

(not the bit about the real job, I disagree with that point, sorry Revels!)

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Hi Ordog,

Good question. Let’s take a simple example and say that you want:
A) To save for a house deposit: £40k for Nov 2023
B) Go on holiday: £2k for Jan 2022
C) Buy the latest iPhone: whenever you can afford

How much do you need to save per month? Can you afford all of that? How realistic would be it to make an extra effort?

The AI of Nova answers all of that with a simple plan. Under the hood, the AI tries to understand your living expense, what are your incompressible costs, see what’s realistic for you, and when you could afford your goals.

But there’s more.

You may actually better off reprioritising your goals in this order to complete all in time:

A) Go on holiday: £2k for Jan 2022
B) Buy the latest iPhone: in Sept 2022
C) To save for a house deposit: £40k for Nov 2023

Why? Because it’s quite often possible to complete smaller savings goals while keeping the same date (or near date) for your longer-term goal.

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That’s a fair point. As mentioned, we just released the goal planning feature and our websites needs an update!

Hey Sam :wave: Thanks for the speedy reply :slight_smile:

It sounds good but from the video it looks like I have to do all this manually?

I set the amount to save, I set the target date, I set the priority. The app didn’t seem to calculate anything in a “smart way” unless I’m still massively misunderstanding?

The only thing I can see is that it calculates how much you have left each month by aggregating all your spending across all of your accounts. This is what Monzo Trends does and I can set budgets and savings goals in Monzo too.

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I’m well aware of what type of products these are. At no point on the website does is mention premium accounts or what those benefits are.

Until we actually questioned this on the forum you’d made no effort to actually mention this at all.

Really need to work on your website to ensure this is included and the way you go about Comms, that way there’s no confusion.

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@Revels you think I don’t know what it means to be financially oppressed?

I grew-up under the poverty threshold with EUR 300/month in a kind of place you don’t want your kids to be. We got screwed by the banking system whenever we needed some money to repair that bloody 25 yo car that keeps breaking. The more it breaks, the less we could save for a decent car.

It’s expensive to be poor.

So I’m 100% fine with any constructive criticism. I just don’t accept disrespect.

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Point taken, thanks :ok_hand:

But if you want to know the full story, there is a reason we didn’t include in our website: most people didn’t read it. But maybe it’s time to reconsider!

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Yeah I’d reconsider that to be fair, not having it up front along with pricing etc, just makes it sound like there’s something to hide.

If I’m downloading an app to use, along with handing over my financial data, I at least want to know all about the app, it’s services, and in app purchases, what they unlock :grinning:

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Someone who understands computers might be able to tell me – why is everything an AI these days? You can have AI in your lawnmower, coffee machine, hell, soon even toilet paper will have built-in AI

But what makes an AI intelligent? At what point does it become more than a vast collection of if functions? Because this seems like a lot of marketing talk to me, especially if all it does is take a fixed sum and divides it over x number of months

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Hey Ordog, you’re right the video shows a simple example with 1 goal. We wanted to keep it short (but it’s already 2mn long :sweat_smile: ).

When setting multiple goals, you can easily prioritise them with drag n drop. Then their status will be immediately updated: On track / Challenging / Unrealistic.

Now that you’re mentioning it, maybe we should showcase that in a video :thinking:

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Ok I see. Thanks Dave, we’ll add a section pricing for users who like to have all the information at hands before downloading an app.

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There is definitely an inflation of the words “smart” and “AI” lately.

But financial planning is more complicated than calculating the required monthly saving (Goal amount / number of months). It also requires to assess the monthly saving capacity - which is a non-trivial problem. I’ll just give you some examples:

  • irregular income
  • irregular expense patterns
  • being in the middle of the month where the user has spent more than usual

That’s where it requires more sophisticated techniques than just deterministic rules.

That’s understandable but I think what was said about mocking a key user group, it’s not that smart.

BTW, I tried to use your web-app and nothing loads. I get a black screen with the robot guy at the top and “I have an account” below but nothing else.

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@Revels I’m sorry if I inadvertently offended a group of user. Who do you think I mocked? (It’s a 100% genuine question).

Arg the web app is bugged, I have the same problem :fearful:

Ok, going back to dev!

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I downloaded the app earlier and gave it a try - it gives some interesting insights.

The main paint point with getting started was having to recategorise transactions so that the app’s insights were meaningful. I guess you might be learning from user’s category changes for each merchant so this will go away over time.

Also, if you have a reasonable amount of savings, the line graph in the Accounts tab is hard to read because a fairly large change in your savings is relatively small overall so it doesn’t really show up.

I do like the yearly stats for income, expenses and savings in particular.

But I’d like to be able to customise my budget each month in the track tab without necessarily setting a savings goal. My income’s variable so the amount that I could save each month might change but my budget’s fixed.

I’d also like to be able to set a set a goal in the goal tab without setting a deadline for it and see a forecast of when I’d reach that goal, based on my previous month’s savings.

I haven’t spotted anything that’d make me want to subscribe so far but I didn’t have any particular expectations when I downloaded the app either, I just liked the look of the chart in the Track tab.

By the way, if you read the other comments from some of the users in this thread then you’ll see a consistent pattern - in terms of constructive / unconstructive discussion - so I’d take their comments with a large pinch of salt.

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TL;DR it isn’t.

AI grabs headlines and gets people interested. It sounds better if your product is empowered by AI. AI is too often used as a broad brush to cover a whole host machines and/or scripts that either give the impression of some level of autonomy or intelligence, or both.

In most cases, particularly with apps like this, what you’re actually getting, what you’re paying for, is autonomy. A suite of programming scripts that automate otherwise mundane actions. Why? They’re easier than machine learning and can do most of the work without it whilst creating the appearance of doing something intelligent.

There’s obviously much more depth to this though, but that’s for another discussion I’m sure! (Why don’t we have an actual topic dedicated to artificial intelligence?)

In the meantime, and in line with the topic of this discussion in the context of AI, I have a question for @Sam.Abrika! How much of Nova is automation and how much is machine learning? I also read above about something related to a personality. I presume this is similar to Siri, in that Nova has some sort of scripted attitude. Is that the case?
I like the quirky attitude in elements of your FAQ, is this what you mean by personality? Or you meaning functionality?

Speaking of the FAQ, I’d probably reword the question RE anonymity. I think you’re misconstruing what anonymous actually means here, and what you really mean to say is private.

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When you said this it reminded me of Cleo.

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That’s the one I was thinking of! Just can never remember the name! Carrot apps are others that come to mind as well.

To rephrase my question better! Is Nova like Cleo in respect of having personality?

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Hi Alex :wave:

You’re absolutely right, Nova needs to have good data to give relevant recommendation.

If you have managed to connect all your accounts, then you’re in the best case scenario. Nova automatically recognise your internal transfers across your accounts, credit card repayments… So reviewing the bills is usually enough.

Most of the problems come from when a bank account is not supported. Most old street banks don’t support their ISA and mortgage through Open Banking. Sometimes they don’t even support their savings account :roll_eyes:

When some accounts are missing, then users need to categorise their transfers to/from savings account as "Personal tranfer. Or use Monzo pots :laughing:

As you guessed, Nova will learn from your recategorisation - we tried to make it as convenient as possible for users.

But you know, categorising transactions isn’t just for the AI. It also helps to have a 360 view on all your finances in order to understand your monthly cash flows, monitor the bills, and analyse your spending trends.

Also, if you have a reasonable amount of savings, the line graph in the Accounts tab is hard to read because a fairly large change in your savings is relatively small overall so it doesn’t really show up.

In the Accounts tab, can you try to tap on the top right icon (Manage Accounts) to toggle off the savings accounts with a large balance? Let me know if it solves the problem.

I’d also like to be able to set a set a goal in the goal tab without setting a deadline for it and see a forecast of when I’d reach that goal, based on my previous month’s savings.
I take note that you want custom budget, it will be in our roadmap :ok_hand:

To set goals without a deadline, you can chose the option “Tell me when I can afford it” and Nova will recommend you a date.

Speaking of the FAQ, I’d probably reword the question RE anonymity. I think you’re misconstruing what anonymous actually means here, and what you really mean to say is private.

Ok this FAQ really needs an update :laughing:. But I actually meant anonymous. We don’t ask people’s real name and don’t require to verify their identity.

Thank you very much for your feedback and support - I appreciate :+1:

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Replying to this specifically.

It’s like having a paid version of an app vs an unpaid, AIs are opinionated pieces of software created by a programer.

You could do something like this:

  • Free version

Decision trees trained over a small dataset

And then for paid, you could do:

  • Paid version

Deep neural network trained over a much larger dataset

There are many ways to mix & match AIs, and you can have multiple different AIs which aim to solve the same problem but perform differently (see AlphaGo - The Movie | Full award-winning documentary - YouTube for AlphaGo, Deepmind has multiple “models” all trained to be amazing at Go but each performs differently and is different from the other) :slight_smile:

The easiest way to achieve an “upgrade for £2 to get better AI” is similar to upgrading the specs on your PC, you could just use more data :slight_smile:

Why would you want to make one model paid?

AI costs money to run and build, some AI models cost more than others to execute depending on a myriad of factors.

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