Spending: Turn that frown upside down!


Warren_Quote_balancing money

There’s nothing as fulfilling as being able to do something that truly makes you happy.  Whether it’s buying the latest must have gadget or dining out at the newest trendy restaurant, we all have an indulgence that is guaranteed to put a big smile on our face.

But that smile can quickly become a frown when we get carried away.  Have you ever had to spend the rest of the month subsisting on Ramen and turning down invitations to social events because of an ill-timed indulgence or a purchase that just went a little too far?

It’s never a great feeling when we realize that our indulgence may have come at too high a cost.  Suddenly what should have been a blissful experience is now overwhelmed by guilt and regret.

Fortunately, many of us learn this painful lesson early on in our money experiences and devise ways to restrain ourselves.  Some of us hold off until the end of the month when all the important stuff has been paid off, while others give themselves a mental limit (no more than 5 song downloads a week!) to keep everything in check.

But all that may be in jeopardy now that ApplePay is on the horizon.

In fact, we at Moven believe that there will soon be a virtual pandemic of guilt-filled purchases.  When buying something becomes as easy as walking into a store, tapping your phone and walking out, it will be vastly easier for all of us to lose context and indulge too often.

It’s like when you first signed up for iTunes or Amazon one click and got that sticker shock when you saw your first month’s statement.  “I downloaded how many songs last month!!?  I bought how many items off my wish list?!!!”

Now don’t get us wrong.  We believe that everyday indulgences are what make life worth living and we certainly don’t advocate swearing off those things that truly make you happy.  But an indulgence can’t be fully enjoyed if it’s followed with guilt and regret.

That’s why we believe that the happiest people are those who indulge responsibly. We created our Spending Meter and Instant Receipt for just this reason.  By simply looking at your Moven app, you can easily figure out how much you can spend on what makes you happy.  And with the Instant Receipt you get with every purchase, you always know how much you’ve spent on Dining Out or Shopping or whatever it is that makes you smile.

Let us know your thoughts on whether ApplePay will make it easier or harder to indulge responsibly.  Send us a tweet @getMoven.  Or if you happen to know someone who would benefit from just a tiny bit of restraint, share this short video we put together.


Moven Completes A Round


Today while presenting at Wired Money in the UK, I proudly announced the closing of Moven’s Series A Investment round.

Led by SBT Venture Capital, this $8m raise included Route 66 Ventures, Standard Bank, and a few new angels. We are excited to welcome each of them to the Moven family and thank them for their investment in our mission to reinvent banking.

We would also like to thank Anthemis Group, our Seed round lead who also chose to participate in this raise. Their appetite for continued funding is a strong vote of confidence that all of us at Moven deeply appreciate.

Finally, we would like to recognize the Santerre Group, Kevin Plank from Under Armour, our NY Angel investors, and Jim Pallotta from Raptor Group for their stellar support throughout our Seed round and initial product development. We certainly would not have made it this far without them.

As many of you know, Moven has been in launch phase for less than a year, only recently exiting our Beta invite process in March of 2014 and opening up our service to the public. In that brief time Moven has become one of the most watched new brands in the global banking sector. Our work has been cited by Wired, AT Kearney, American Banker, Accenture, Forrester, EFMA and many others as a potential model for the future of banking.

While many “neo-banking” competitors’ initial product launches required $10m to $300m to execute, we are proud to say that the Moven team was able to launch what Techcrunch described as a, “feature set (that) is notable, and in some cases even tops that of…other more modern mobile banking/payments apps” with only $4.5m in spend. With $8m more in capital to invest, we believe that we will continue to generate significant progress with effective, strategic use of that investment.

For now Moven’s objectives are clear. First is to invest in the product and create the defining benchmark for the ‘downloadable smart bank account’ category in the US. With this new funding Moven can now fully capitalize on the hundreds of thousands of prospects and emails built over the last few months. And we can continue to invest in ground-breaking features and tools that will redefine the banking experience for every one of our users.

Second, is to exclusively align with strategic partners in other parts of the world to integrate the Moven app with their basic banking experiences. We have always envisioned the disruptive change occurring in retail banking as a global phenomenon. We will now be moving forward with a number of international partnership agreements that will give us presence on three continents while creating new revenue opportunities. You’ll be hearing a lot more from us about these partnerships and launches in the coming months.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been only 18 months since our initial funding, but if our accomplishments to date have been any indication then the journey has only just begun. We believe that in short order millions of customers will be using our app each day to help them spend, save and live smarter.

Thank you for your incredible support thus far and remember to keep on Moven!

– Brett King


America’s Urban Jungle Breeds Diverse Real Estate Climates


A well-known real estate truism is that housing prices in America’s biggest cities are much higher than the national average. New Yorkers, for example, often complain that thousands of dollars a month in rent only gets them a tiny one-bedroom apartment, especially in Manhattan, and one might assume that’s the case for every major metropolitan area across the country.

According to recent census data, it does hold true that it’s expensive to buy or rent a home in the city – but there isn’t one monolithic real estate climate across the country, and each city has a separate economy and demography, so there are some surprising differences in how much it costs to live from city to city. SmartAsset takes a deeper look at the rent-to-income ratio price-to-rent index to show the different housing markets in four of the biggest US cities… Read more at SmartAsset

This article is part of series based on Moven’s infographic on housing spend.  Join the conversation on Twitter @getMoven.

RentHop Cost of Living Article

Looking at the Hidden Costs of Living in New York


When you’re comparing places to live, it’s important to remember that your total cost of living can vary widely between two places even though the rent or mortgage you’d pay would be the same in both places.

RentHop digs into spending data in New York City for three key drivers of household expenses – food, transportation and entertainment – to illustrate how even adjacent neighborhoods can have strikingly different costs of living.   Read more at RentHop!

This article is part of series based on Moven’s infographic on housing spend.  Join the conversation on Twitter @getMoven.

Moven Analyzes Housing Spend

Moven Info-graphic: How Much Should You Spend on Housing?


When it comes to renting or buying, having the right insights can make a huge difference to your financial health.  At Moven, we’ve come up with a number of rules of thumb and key insights to help you make smarter financial decisions.

1. First, your monthly housing cost – rent/mortgage, utilities, maintenance – should be less than 1/3 of your income.   Simply divide your annual income by 40 and use that amount as your maximum.

2. Second, consider buying a home only if you plan on keeping for at least 7 to 10 years.  That’s about the a typical economic cycle; anything less and you risk losing your money to broker and bank fees.

3. Next, look for a property where it’s price to rent ratio is comparable to the neighborhood average.  To find the price to rent ratio, simply divide the purchase price by the annual cost to rent the same property (or one like it).

4. If you live in a pricey city, try to keep your housing spend in line with your peers.  Spending less than a third of your income on housing may be harder in bigger cities, but don’t let yourself become house rich and cash poor!

5. When buying a home, be conservative with your expectations of its future value.  Think of your home as a way to protect rather than grow wealth.  Remember that home prices don’t typically increase that much more than the rate of inflation.

6. Take advantage of the current low rates, but do so responsibly by putting 20% down and having 10% set aside.  Buying a home often has many unforeseen expenses, so be sure to have a buffer.

Check out the info-graphic below for more details and be sure to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

Moaven Analyzes Housing Spend
Moven Analyzes Housing Spend



Finding Gratitude Everyday



When I talk about financial gratitude with people, they often look back at me with a blank stare since I find it’s not a concept that’s talked about often.

To me, financial gratitude is when you’re grateful for the resources that you already do have, instead of always focusing on what you don’t have.  If you’re always focused on what you don’t have, you’re focusing on the negative instead of being appreciative of what you already do have. Keep reading

Jill Kathan

Our Live Rich, Spend Smart Winner



Moven is proud to announce the winner of our “Live Rich, Spend Smart” 2014 contest: Jill Kathan.

During the month of January Moven received submissions that resulted in thousands of shares and reached over 3 million people all over the U.S. about how they make smarter spending decisions to live rich each and every day.  Many of the stories were inspiring, but one stood out the most.


Detroit is a city under siege.  The recent financial crisis has had a devastating impact as auto manufacturers shuttered factories, banks foreclosed on homes, and the city even filed for bankruptcy.

Despite all this, it is still a city full of hope. There are many who still call it home and remain steadfast in their belief that Detroit will rise again.  Among these is our winner, Jill Kathan.

A graduate of Michigan State, she served her city for seven years as an elementary school teacher.  After marrying her sweetheart and having their first child, she chose to stay home with her daughter, Kelsey Anne.  But that hasn’t kept her from volunteering at her daughter’s school whenever she can and keeping a strong network of friends and family around her.

Being a stay-at-home mom was part of Jill’s live rich and spend smart mentality.  Switching from a dual to a single income household meant a tighter budget, but more time together as a family.

Jill and her husband met the challenge to live rich and spend smart in three ways.


Honoring the Future

Jill and her husband are always thinking about their future selves.  Whether buying their first home, saving up for a dream car, or planning for retirement, every dollar was given a purpose.  Together they have a clear set of long term goals that helps define how they spend day to day.

“When you plan, it’s easier to save,” she says. “We have a family budget and know what we’re going to spend and not spend. We have even started planning ahead for Christmas!”


Managing Money Hand in Hand

For any of their plans to succeed, Jill and her husband practice another spend smart, live rich principle: managing their money hand in hand.  The two of them are in constant communication about their spending choices.  With a clear vision of their shared future together, they almost never fight and find that working so closely together keeps their marriage strong.

“I am very communicative with my husband about money.  Both of us always know what is going on with our money since we’re both equal partners in this,” Jill states.


Choosing Gratitude over Debt

The final piece of Jill’s approach to living rich and spending smart is to always choose gratitude over debt.  Any budget, no matter how rich, always has its limits.  And it’s always tempting to choose debt over making difficult choices.  Jill and her husband have found that practicing gratitude for what they have, rather than obsessing over what they can’t afford has helped them maintain their financial health.   They almost exclusively use debit cards and only buy what they can afford.

And now that her six-and-a-half year old daughter is old enough for an allowance, Jill is passing on her philosophies to her as well.

“Not only am I not living with debt, but I am teaching my daughter the importance of money. She knows she can’t have something if she doesn’t have the money for it in her piggy bank,” says Jill.


So join us in congratulating Jill and her family for living rich and spending smart.   You’ll be hearing more about her and other contestants.  We hope that they are an inspiration and help you reflect on the many ways that you can live rich and spend smart!


A big thank you to our partners David Bach, Wisebread, GoGirlFinance, Phroogal, Rockstar Finance, and MoneyDesktop for their support. 

What are David Bach’s tips on how to live rich? Watch them here!


Join Us and David Bach for #SpendSmart


Join us and David Bach, 9 time New York Times best-selling author and financial expert, for our #SpendSmart Twitter chat on Tuesday 2/4!

Living rich does not mean mindless spending. 2014 is about getting back on track and making smart spending decisions! To wrap up our Live Rich, Spend Smart contest, we will be discussing with our winners and participants their stories about how to live rich and spend smart in 2014.

Chat participants will have the opportunity to win $50 and $100 in a Moven account, so be sure to chat with us on 2/4 at 2pm EST!


Live Rich, Spend Smart - Facebook Ad Image



Chat Details
When: February 4, 2014

Time: 2:00pm EST

Hosted by: @getMoven and@AuthorDavidBach

With our partners @Wisebread, @GoGirlFinance, @RockstarFinance, @Phroogal, & @MoneyDesktop

Hashtag: #SpendSmart


RSVP Required to Win Prizes

RSVP below to be eligible to win prizes.

Winners will be picked at random using random.org and will be announced during the party. You will receive a Direct Message requesting your contact and mailing information.


Chat with you all soon!


Meet Carrie, NY Money Coach




Moven is thrilled to announce we will be working with Carrie Birgbauer of NY Money Coach, an educator and certified holistic money coach! Carrie will be supporting our Live Spend and Spend Smart contest and providing money coaching consultations to our winners. Carrie is an accomplished money coach whose feedback and insights have been invaluable to Moven.

In a recent interview with Carrie, she shared her passion for financial wellness and how she’s mastered her practice over the years.


What inspired you to become a money coach? 
Carrie: My own journey as a money coaching client inspired me to become a coach.  The process was deeply transformative for me – I went from zero financial skills and total overwhelm to feeling strong, confident and empowered around money, plus I doubled my income the first year after learning how to create flexible monthly and annual spending plans.


How long have you been a money coach and what types of clients do you typically work with?

Carrie: I’ve been a certified money coach for 4 years and an educator for 17 years.  I typically work with process-oriented professionals who want to master the art of personal finance as the path to fulfilling their deepest goals and desires.  I work with individuals and couples, celebrities and everyday people, who want to create a healthy and sustainable relationship with money. Money coaching is particularly effective for people who want to increase their consciousness about money, have come into sudden money or are in transition: moving in, changing careers, getting married, getting divorced, or having a baby.


What is the most important piece of financial advice you’ve ever given?
Carrie: It’s not about the money.  Happiness, earning potential, lifestyle choices, fulfilling relationships and success have very little to do with bank account balances. Financial well-being is an inside job and can be cultivated in anyone with curiosity and an open mind.


What are the three things everyone should be paying attention to as it relates to their money?

Carrie: Pay your credit cards off in full on the 30th of every month – this is essential for capturing and managing each month’s spending. How you relate with money is how you relate with life. A monthly budget is sustainable only if you include an average of your periodic (anticipated non-monthly) expenses.


How will you live rich and spend smart this year?

Carrie: I live rich by practicing gratitude and seeing all of the gifts in my life. I tell my loved ones why I love and appreciate them. I share with my clients what a pleasure and honor it is to work with them and I take time to breathe deeply. I plan to spend smart with financial wellness and accountability tools like a cash tracking app, Moven and the Money Minder. I use a proactive planning method for my spending, saving and earning and then stay connected to my money on a daily basis to see how I’m doing. Forward planning is much more effective that rearview mirror accounting at the end of the month – this way there is time throughout the month and year to make any necessary changes.




Carrie Birgbauer, MA, CYI

NY Money Coach




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