Two-Minute Checkup

Jonathan Clements

YOU NEED TO KNOW the rules—and then you need to follow the rules. Some folks have the knowledge to succeed financially. Some have the discipline. But many people don’t have the whole package: both the smarts and the tenacity to get it done.

Could an app or website make the difference? And could it help with your entire financial life—retirement, college, emergency money, borrowing, insurance, estate planning—and not just a single topic, like budgeting and investing? I’ve been wrestling with these questions for the past two years, along with a business partner, Derek.

We think the solution lies, in part, in helping people to formulate financial commitments and then prodding them to follow through. How would this nudging work? There’s a host of possibilities: We could regularly remind people of their commitments, encourage them to share their commitments with others, and highlight the hefty cost of not acting.

As a first step, Derek and I have created a rough-and-ready tool to help folks quickly assess their finances. The Two-Minute Checkup involves answering nine questions. No need to tell us your Social Security number. No need to link your financial accounts. Just answer the questions and we’ll give you feedback across 10 areas of your financial life. Once you’re done, all we ask is that you take a brief survey to tell us what you think.

Two warnings about the Two-Minute Checkup: First, it only works on a desktop or laptop. If you’re on a phone or tablet, sorry, but you’re out of luck. Second, because we’re in test mode, we’ve built this in the cheapest way possible—by loading a spreadsheet onto the web. Does it seem a little clunky? What can I say, you’re very perceptive.

Intrigued? Give it a try.

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