Kat and I joined Simple (not sure why I’m linking to it, who knows what will happen with this domain) in May 2017. We joined primarily for the joint account. But the Goals system is really what kept us. It made budgeting so simple. It’s not that we had trouble budgeting before, but Simple took it to another level. It gave us just enough structure, but was flexible enough to allow us to build our own system with it.

And in looking for alternatives now, nothing really comes close to what Simple offered. Maybe that means there isn’t enough demand for this. Even tools like YNAB feel too…structured. What we really want is just to be able to subdivide our available balance into groups/buckets/pots/envelopes for expenses, future purchases, bills, etc. Something a spreadsheet can do, but with a better UI. No need for sub-accounts or machine learning or complicated systems. That’s what Simple offered. And it worked, for us.

I think the saddest part of all of this is seeing the change in Simple over the past four years. Simple started out as the startup that revolutionized mobile banking, super customer focused, cool. But then, the founders cashed out (who can blame them?), ownership transfers to mega bank BBVA - the absolute antithesis of Simple. Status quo for a while, not much in the way of new features, but we weren’t itching for any. Then BBVA is bought by PNC (another mega bank) and all of a sudden these startup banks under BBVA’s wing are excess baggage to the merger. And thus Simple came to an untimely end.

This is the story arc of so many startups, but we thought since Simple was also a bank it would be immune. But now, in hindsight, this all seems like it was inevitable. With all the VC funding, incentives to cash out, need to grow grow grow, how could this have ended differently?