Allo, a new financial app that can be described as Headspace for personal finance, is aiming to help users meaningfully engage with their finances without becoming overwhelmed with numbers and spending. The idea behind Allo is to help users create a mindful money practice that allows them to approach their earnings, spending, saving, investing and giving with a sense of fulfillment.
Founded in 2021, Allo helps users focus on gratitude and the importance of being aware of not only your numbers, but also your values and priorities when it comes to personal finance.
Allo was founded by Will Choi and Paul Montoy-Wilson, who both previously founded Aviate, an intelligent homescreen startup that was acquired by TechCrunch parent company Yahoo in 2014. With over 15 years of experience in software, the duo wanted to build a company that helps people create positive habits with their finances.
Unlike budgeting apps that only focus on spending categories like bills, insurance and transportation, Allo includes categories like nature, family, giving, working out and healthy eating. Users can choose to have a daily, weekly or monthly check-in with the app in order to become aware of their finances.
“There are plenty of apps out there that will help optimize your net worth or help you save an extra dollar per month and tell you you overspent on a coffee,” Montoy-Wilson told TechCrunch in an interview. “If there’s a budgeting app out there that works for you, that’s great. We’re not trying to take users from budgeting apps that they love. But, the reality is that those budgeting apps don’t work for most people.”
Montoy-Wilson says budgeting apps can make people feel guilty, which can lead them to avoiding their finances altogether. He believes simply being aware of your finances is an important practice, which is why Allo makes it easier to do so in bite-sized chunks.
To get started with the app, users complete Allo’s introductory course and learn from experts on how to feel more peaceful, confident and grateful when it comes to money. The app will ask you to select a few values that you want to focus on, such as health, being generous, exercise and kids. You can then use the values to tag different transactions during your daily, weekly or monthly check-ins.
Once you have set up a check-in, the app focuses on two things when encouraging you to be aware of your transactions. First, the app will encourage you to look at the things you appreciate. You can reflect on the transactions that made you happy, such as the money you spent on your family or well-being.
Next, the app will encourage you to reflect on the transactions that you don’t feel great about and may want to follow up on. For instance, you may see a transaction for a subscription that you intended on canceling beforehand and make a note to do so. Or, you may come across a transaction where you spent a lot of money going out, and don’t see it as a good use of your earnings. By reflecting on this transaction, you could make a note about wanting to instead spend more money on something you actually care about, like your health.
After you have finished looking through your transactions, the app will ask you to check in on your values and select which ones you want to focus on for your next batch of transactions. Say you want to focus on health, you can either decide to just pay more attention to your health-related transactions or actually spend more money in that area by doing things like eating healthier or working out more.
“A core principle of Allo is being aware of your numbers, but also being aware of your emotions,” Montoy-Wilson said. “What we’re trying to do with Allo is make it easier through bite-sized chunks to engage with your finances and start changing your relationship with money. And then making it easier to keep that practice going over and over again.”
Once you have completed your check-in, the app won’t surface anything else until your next one. Allo sees this as an “inbox zero” mentality that will help users set down their phone and not have to focus on their finances until their next check-in.
Over the past year, around 500 people across the United States have been testing Allo. The app is now available to download on the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. The app offers a free 14-day trial and costs $6.99 per month. The company currently does not have any plans to expand beyond the United States.
Allo is self-funded and Montoy-Wilson says the goal to keep it independent. The company currently does not have any plans to raise funding.