What it does
Although everyone understands financial planning for retirement is necessary, not everyone has the mindset or knowledge on how to start. Our tool helps those interested in financial planning by asking several questions and providing a mini financial plan based on your input to check if your financial life is on track!
How I built it
Financial planning is very important for everyone because it can mean a huge difference in retirement income or the ability to save enough to make large purchases such as a home. Furthermore, modern consumers are taking in more debt and in some cities such as Vancouver, even paying rent can be a struggle. Our vision for this website application is to have a visitor come to our website, take a few minutes to enter their relevant information and be presented a few key insights on their financial health and potential actions that they can take.
In the near future, we are also hoping to implement a login/signup feature for both potential clients and advisors that will allow them to search for each other and potentially allow the advisor to request personal data from the potential client if they are interested in working with a financial advisor. The highly regulated nature of the industry (at least in Canada) means that the signup process for someone to become a client of a financial advisor is often tedious and very long because of the many forms that are involved. These forms are usually filled out by the financial advisor or the assistant and is a very manual and time consuming process. Furthermore, any mistakes or corrections needed on the form must often be “initialed” by the client and this usually involves mailing the forms back the client again, or asking them to come in for the corrections (which does not make a good first impression for the advisor). By using our website, we can potentially simplify this process.
For example, a client can signup and view some key information about how they are doing along with a few general tips. We can then recommend a few financial advisors to the potential client to talk about what we showed them further. The potential client can request a meeting from the advisor and after the meeting, the advisor can request permission to get the necessary data to allow that person to officially become clients. Some ways we can handle this process includes connecting to a database or pre-filling forms in such a way such that errors are minimised and less work is involved from all parties involved.
Challenges I ran into
All of the team members did not have any experience in the technologies used, except a little bit of python. We learned through tutorials, articles and alot of trial and error. In general, wel found may of the concepts unfamiliar and was generally struggling with a few basic tasks such as trying to link to a new web page or getting the result of a function to be displayed onto HTML. We also found the design aspect of the website very challenging, especially when trying to get the colors to work together or displaying the forms a certain way. Finally, deploying through Heroku to host our website was another new technology we were not familiar and was also challenging, especially since we wanted Heroku to use connect to database.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Developing the website and seeing it go live on Heroku is a great feeling for the team. Even though we did not have the experience, we have all worked together to create a basic working website and we are proud of this achievement.
What I learned
We learnt the basics of several technologies, including Django, Python, HTML, CSS and bootstrap and how they come together to make a functioning website. We also learnt important concepts such as using environmental variables to protect sensitive data or installing packages to help make something work. Finally, we become more confident in the use of git and have a better understanding on how databases work.
What's next for Simple Financial Planner
Our vision for this website is to have a visitor to be able to come into our website and sign up. After signing up they are able to look for or be contacted by potential advisors and request a meeting. Finally after a meeting, the potential client may be able to give permission for the advisor to get all the necessary data so that they can offically become clients. We believe this will take a lot of work and the design of the website can always improve much more. We see this website as a great learning opportunity and is excited to continue to improve on the work that we have started