10 principles of good financial design

Good Financial Design is my approach to personal finance & money management.

I’ve spent the past 2.5 years designing websites & helping people with their money.

On the surface, those two things may seem wildly unrelated.

I thought so too.

But the more I found myself doing both, the more commonalities I started to see between design thinking & financial planning.

Good design is meant to make things easier.

Think about the last website you went to that looked like it was straight outta dial-up days.

Did you have a good experience? Did it make you want to come back?

Probably not.

Our money is the same way.

If your finances aren’t well-designed, they feel unapproachable.

Logging into your accounts, trying to find documents, or checking your spending can bring feelings of anxiety.

My goal with Good Financial Design is to make managing money as a self-employed creative approachable and frictionless.

There's a lot more coming soon, but here are the 10 core principles:

1) Good financial design is empathetic

At the end of the day, money is just a tool.

It doesn't define you.

Good financial design accounts for your unique situation and provides a friendly path forward.

2) Good financial design reduces friction

Friction creates indecision and inaction.

Good financial design recognizes friction points in your finances & creates a plan that prioritizes simplicity.  

3) Good financial design solves problems

Problems can come in many forms.

Good financial design prioritizes your needs and wants, and creates a solution that accounts for the variables.

4) Good financial design creates comfort

Without comfort, money is unapproachable.

Good financial design uses empathy & realistic solutions to build confidence and reduce anxiety around money management.

5) Good financial design is flexible

When a plan is flexible, it's realistic.

Life changes and good financial design allows for reallocation of money and change of direction to meet current needs.

6) Good financial design is thorough

The best financial plans are understandable, well-designed versions of detailed research and analysis.

From tax minimization to income flexibility, good financial design is a comprehensive process.

7) Good financial design is simple

With decisions, account selection, or system creation, simplicity is the default.

Minimalist solutions reduce friction, therefore increasing the chance of success.

8) Good financial design creates independence

With intentional design, a majority of financial tasks can be done without professional help.

Good financial design not only saves money, but creates confidence.

9) Good financial design encourages positive financial habits

With automation and intentional systems, habits are formed by design.

Good financial design helps you reach goals and experience growth in a relatively hands-off manner.

10) Good financial design is an invisible guide

Through thoughtful system creation and North Star reinforcement, good financial design acts as an invisible guide.

It helps keep your money aligned with your goals and your values no matter the hurdle or situation.

Good Financial Design was inspired by Dieter Rams' 10 Principles of Good Design:

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