It took a lot of hard work to make this solution so simple.

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When Peter Polson launched Tiller three years ago, his goal was simple: Allow average Americans to set up secure, easy-to-use financial spreadsheets in mere minutes.

And it worked. Many thousands of Americans — most between the ages of 25 and 34 — have signed up. It just took Polson several years to create something so effortless.

But that’s the way it always is with the smoothest technology: People toil behind the scenes so you don’t have to struggle in front of the screen. For Polson, his journey started in high school, way back in the 1990s.

That’s when Polson taught computer classes on the side. He saw how software confounded even the smartest people. Since then, he’s launched and led several tech companies. His big a-ha! moment came when he realized he could use a common technology to help Americans deal with common financial problems.

A budget spreadsheet is the solution

“Tiller’s founding team originally set out to build a better financial app,” explains marketing lead Edward Shepard. “But a surprising trend emerged: The people most engaged with their money used spreadsheets as their command financial tool. They might also use apps or dedicated software — but they always came back to spreadsheets to understand and manage their money.”

So Polson and his team wondered: Why are we fighting with them to switch?

“Eventually, Peter and the founding team realized that instead of making another app, why not make spreadsheets even better?” Shepard says.

And that’s exactly what they did.

Making your budget spreadsheet automatic

First, Tiller got rid of the biggest drawback to spreadsheets: typing in all that data. For financial spreadsheets before the advent of Tiller, that meant laboriously downloading and uploading bank data.

Tiller eliminates the most painful part of using a spreadsheet,” Shepard says. “Tiller automatically imports your financial data into Google Sheets daily, with powerful Google Sheets templates to get people started.”

Even better, “All of the templates can be easily customized. And even if people cancel their Tiller service, they still get to keep the templates in their Google Drive, although without the automated feed of their transactions.”

Too much of a bad thing

How does this work exactly? Here’s how Shephard describes a new Tiller customer named Josh…

We recently talked to Josh in New York, who uses Tiller to import 54 bank accounts into a single spreadsheet. For Josh, Tiller “takes the pain out of budgeting” and saves him time. He uses Tiller for his personal finances, but also for his business (hence the number of bank accounts). Before Tiller, he suffered through the process of using a hodgepodge of tools.

Those tools included Mint, Xero, Quickbooks, and Smartsheet — each with their own quirks and interfaces. Now Josh uses one program that’s so ubiquitous, almost everyone knows it. Google docs are what children are raised on today, which might explain this: “Most of our users are aged 25-34,” Shephard says. “Google Sheets is very popular with this age group.”

Simple is affordable

So what’s it cost to simplify your finances? A whopping $5 a month. But your first 30 days are free, just to see if you like it.

Meanwhile, Tiller is working on new improvements.

“We’re going to keep investing in ways to put our customers in control of their money,” Shepard says. “Right now spreadsheets are the most powerful, flexible tool for actively managing money. In 3-5 years, we’ll have even more sophisticated automation options for spreadsheets. And it’s likely we’ll also have other tools and services to help people beyond spreadsheets.”

Whatever that looks like, Tiller insists: It still must be painlessly easy to use.

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Article last modified on June 11, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC .