It’s not often the idea for a business is sparked by reading a newspaper article. However, this was the case for David Rankin, founder of award-winning personal budgeting service, Sort My Money. In July 2012, while managing a large Westpac branch, he came across an interview with the founder of a well-known personal budgeting company which claimed they had created a new category in personal finance and that no one else was doing what they could do.
It was during this time David realised that financial institutions and financial planners were addressing people’s ‘macro’ financial needs in terms of the big decisions in their lives by selling them the relevant products such as loans, superannuation, investments and insurance.
However, he noticed that the ‘micro’ aspect wasn’t being addressed and that no one was being taught the ‘how-to’ of day-to-day finances in terms of money mastery.
The light bulb went on
In that moment, intrigued by the claim in the article, David’s business idea was born. With several years of professional financial experience as a bank manager and small business specialist, David knew he could create and offer an effective and sustainable personal budgeting service. He decided that Sort My Money would break new ground by charging the lowest fees – including no establishment fee or lock-in period – of any personal budgeting company in Australia and by having a user-friendly, week-by-week agreement with its customers, right from day one.
Since launching the company in 2013, Sort My Money has brought financial peace of mind to people all over Australia, by changing their belief system about day-to-day finances, showing them that they are able to control their money and that they can experience a sense of financial empowerment once they’ve started successfully managing their finances.
Sort My Money shows its clients an accurate five-year cash flow forecast which empowers and encourages them. Many clients are surprised by their own financial potential, which – in turn – reinforces their motivation to make it happen.
“Once someone has this very powerful ‘financial crystal ball’ at their fingertips, they start to see, ahead of time, what their goals and aspirations look like in reality,” says David.
“These achievements could include starting a family, buying a home or investment property, becoming your own boss or travelling overseas (or, better still, travelling overseas as your own boss!). These are the sorts of milestones which make life worth living and I believe nothing beats seizing your destiny with both hands by simulating them in advance.”
How exactly does Sort My Money work?
During Sort My Money’s initial 90-minute consultation, David discusses with the client what is important to them, their aspirations as well as their income and outgoings such as rent or mortgage, utilities and grocery shopping. Due dates on bills are just as important as dollar amounts as this information is used to build a comprehensive budget for that individual’s needs as well as a cash flow forecast.
Once the client agrees with the budget and cash flow forecast, Sort My Money’s team of financial coaches then draw up and manage the optimised personal budget for the client on a daily basis. The client’s personal consultant creates a dedicated 24/7 internet bank account and manages all incoming and outgoing transactions. The account also contains a provision for living expenses. Additionally, the service provides a ‘one-click’ report which details a statement, ahead of time, of every item and account balance for the next 14 days and the projected balance over the next five years.
Sort My Money also offers cash flow consultancy services to small businesses. David puts together a comprehensive picture of an enterprise’s cash flow and generates a detailed forecast of the next five years of its business account balance. This service is a first for small business owners in Australia as it gives them the information all entrepreneurs would love to know: how much money their business will have in the bank at any given time in the future.
“My vision is for Australians to become the CEOs of their own financial lives. Similar to how we expect any good business leader to know exactly where their company is heading in the next few years, I want it to be completely normal for Australians to experience that same 20/20 financial vision and harmony for themselves,” says David.
“In the past few years, we have become empowered in nearly every area of our lives. However, the understanding people have of their day-to-day finances has remained the same and it is my mission to show them there is another way and that, once they start living it, they will never want to go back to the old way of doing things.”
What has Sort My Money been up to lately?
We caught up with David to tell us more about his company. Below is what he had to share in a brief interview with Anthill.
In many ways, our main competitors are credit providers, including banks. Because, rather than refinance or borrow your way out of a problem, it’s often possible to avoid the burden of interest repayments by following a plan of action, in the form of a well-planned and well-managed budget. We espouse healthy financial habits, and we’re here to show Australians that there is an alternative to the cycle of lifestyle debt which many people fall into. There’s nothing more liberating than taking control of your own financial destiny, instead of being at the mercy of loans and credit cards. It’s about walking your financial dog, rather than it walking you!
Uniquely in Australia, our system allows us to see, with a high degree of accuracy, what a person’s (or business’s) bank account balance will be every day for the next five years. We believe that ‘cash in the bank’ is where it’s at, because it’s your bank balance which has such an influence on what you can achieve. And once you have this information ahead of time, you can overlay your goals and aspirations – such as expanding your business, purchasing property or paying down debt – and know how, and by when, you will be able to turn them into reality.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a business and how did you overcome it?
Proving to people that planning ahead and living by a budget really do give you control of your money and deliver amazing financial results. In a way, our customers have helped us to overcome this hurdle by giving us such great online feedback – as a result of which we have received awards for the work we do every year for the past three years from Word of Mouth, Australia’s number one business-review site.
How is Sort My Money doing so far?
Sort My Money’s excellent reputation is causing a lot of interest in its budgeting services – from business owners and employees alike. I regularly present to people throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and find that people are very receptive to our message of financial empowerment.
I’m also in discussions with several organisations about giving their staff the know-how and tools to achieve financial peace of mind. Forward-thinking employers – such as St John of God’s Hospital in Victoria, to which we are a registered supplier of budgeting services – are starting to realise that such programs are central to the duty of care they have to ensure their staff’s health and wellbeing.