Do I want to know the future?

Yuri Sidorov
6 min readMay 27, 2024

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“I was blind, now I see.” — John 9:25

I have had trouble planning my finances throughout my life. I come from a family of Soviet engineers who knew nothing about saving money. We didn’t have financial education in school, either. Like most people, I felt caught in a loop. I had:

  • A good salary.
  • Several loans that were consuming my money.
  • Bills and subscriptions to pay, each due on different dates and with different frequencies.
  • Around 10 different accounts across 4 different banks in 3 different countries, in various currencies, of course.
  • Cash, also in different currencies.

I only had a very rough estimate of how much money I really had. Additionally, I had to support my family and manage large projects like building a house. At the same time, I wanted to travel and keep up with my hobbies, such as collecting analogue synthesizers.

Additionally, I could never predict how much free money I would have at a certain point in the future, nor could I determine if I could have more at this point. Trying to manage my finances made planning any future adventures a huge pain. It felt like playing Russian roulette every time, to be honest. It’s not surprising that sometimes I had to borrow money from my friends who earned three times less than me.

I wanted to know my financial future. I tried every free and paid app for money management from the App Store, but all of them had at least one downside:

  • They only collect past data, which doesn’t really help to plan anything for the future (you can make “decisions,” but you have to have strong willpower to make those work for you).
  • They lack features, for example, different apps are needed for tracking accounts, managing budgets, managing subscriptions etc.
  • They have horrible designs, where it’s either impossible to understand anything, or mimicking professional desktop accounting apps, or they’re too primitive.
  • They have bugs.

And none of the existing apps offer income and expense occurrences planning with the same accuracy as we plan events in a calendar. None of the apps can save money for you in such a way that you don’t even notice. No apps currently combine all the necessary features in one with a user-friendly interface. At least none that I have seen so far.

So, like many people I know, I had to resort to using Google Sheets. I think I had around 30 interconnected tables. This setup worked well, but it was only usable on a desktop, and it required me to remember how everything was organized.

If you want something done right, do it yourself

As a Ruby on Rails developer with 15 years of experience, I started experimenting in my free time, attempting to transition these Google Sheets tables into a web app. I built a prototype that worked amazingly well, but it had several significant issues:

  • The mobile website user experience was still less comfortable than that of a native app
  • The calculations were quite heavy, which could potentially lead to huge server infrastructure bills
  • It required very strong security protection, as financial data of this kind is among the most sensitive
«Yuri Sidorov’s Financial Assistant» βeta v.0.1

Being an iPhone user, I took up learning Swift. Over a couple of months last summer, I dedicated my spare time to transferring my prototype onto iOS.

Personal Financial Forecast App

That happened that this February I was laid off, so without much hesitation, I reached out to Ashamaz, an iOS developer I had met at a New Year’s party earlier this year. I proposed that we finish the app and release it together. Since then, we have both been working on it mostly full-time.

Our goal is to create a single app that simplifies money management for everyday people. Following valuable feedback from our initial testers, we’ve significantly improved the underlying logic and defined most important features to be present in the first public release:

  • Allow the creation of recurring events with complex rules
  • Display a monthly calendar of incomes, expenses, and budgets, enabling users to know the exact dates and amounts they will receive or need to pay, at any point in the future
  • Automatically calculate a monthly balance from different currencies, aiming to keep it positive while accounting for the importance of transactions and budget ranges for any future month
  • Consolidate all user accounts in one place under “Savings,” and show how much will be left each month
«Sirin» βeta v.1.0.1

Of course, there are many other features planned; here are some of them:

  • Sync with users’ bank accounts automatically
  • Add a debt/loan tracker, which would suggest ways to pay off debts faster and with the greatest benefit for the user
  • Add a big expenses planner, so users can say what they want, and the app can tell them when they could buy it and save seamlessly for them
  • Share balances, which should be useful for planning family or company finances, for example
  • Integrate AI to help users save even more
  • Add support for the Apple Watch, Mac
  • Add an app for Android, etc.

Overall that should become the ultimate app for money planning, taking all the headache of managing multiple financial flows. But now we were focused on designing and polishing the minimal set of features to release as quickly as possible.

«Balance Sheep» Design in Figma

The whole development process of the iOS app took nearly 3 months, and in the middle of the May it was finally on the App Store! All main features are free, and with a competitive subscription we plan to provide all the extra. Right now it is more of a support for us as we don’t have any other incomes.

Capitalismo

I’m aware that living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for many people, perhaps even the majority of the global population. I believe that if we create an app that is both powerful and easy to use, it could help many people breathe a sigh of relief.

It looks like we have a great opportunity to make this happen! Please give it a try and tell us what you think to help us create the best personal finance app.

Download Capitalismo on the App Store
«Capitalismo» — Download on the AppStore

Thank you so much for reading. This is my first article in, I think, ten years. Don’t judge too harshly, but if you liked it, I have several other topics in mind I could write about:

  • Our app design principles
  • Technical side of developing such an app
  • What problems did we face while developing
  • How I talked to investors

Or, if there’s anything else that interests you, please let me know!

We would also appreciate any help, including spreading a word about our app. And we’d love to hear any opinions and suggestions! Here’s our landing page with all our contacts: https://capitalismo.app.

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Yuri Sidorov

Founder of Capitalismo.app. Using Ruby on Rails and Swift to bring joy. Digital Nomad by circumstance. Dog owner, bareboat skipper, analogue synthesizers lover.