FinanceWiki is a wiki-style collection of calculators and how-to guides that combine to form the worlds first collaborative financial planning tool. Like any other wiki, the pages in FinanceWiki are editable through the web site itself. Unlike other tradiional wikis, there is technology built into FinanceWiki that enable pages to be dynamic and actionable, as described below. This will enable FinanceWiki to become a platform for dynamic light-weight financial planning applications, that can be extended by a community, rather than just a collection of pages with static text and pictures.
In the beta version of FinanceWiki, the functionality to edit pages by non-administrative users has not been enabled, as the security model to prevent spam has not yet been completed.
How is FinanceWiki different from traditional wikis?
Their are three primary differences between FinanceWiki and other Web 1.0 wiki sites.
- FinanceWiki is Topical. We want to provide content, tools and services with depth in the areas of personal finance and investing rather than build a broad - but shallow - repository of general purpose content. Think of this as the difference between a general purpose Encyclopedia and a practical Do-It-Yourself book on a particular subject.
- FinanceWiki is Dynamic. FinanceWiki is built around a modeling language for personal finance that is described in the Calculators section below. Page content may be connected to scripts that run on these models. For users this provides transparency. Instead of having to trust a calculator blindly, they can inspect the models and application logic behind the calculators if they wish.
- FinanceWiki is Actionable. Our goal is bridge the gap between content and tools. A user should be able to select a set of steps described in a How-To guide that is appropriate for their situation, and add it to their to-do tasks list. This is further described in the How-To Guides section below.
Calculators and Models make FinanceWiki Dynamic
Unlike traditional calculators on traditional finance sites, the calculators in FinanceWiki are extensible from within the site itself. That is because the site provides a design time environment to build calculators in Python, using constructs from the InvestmentYogi Modeling Language for Personal Finance. To see how this works, visit a FinanceWiki page that has a calculator (e.g. "How to become a CrorePati?" or "How much loan can I afford?") and click on the View Calculation link on the right side of the page. This will show you the Python script that drives the calculator. Clicking on the Script Inputs and Script Outputs buttons on that page will show you how the scripts map to the modeling language. Finally the layout of the pages are bound to output variables from the models, either through forms (as in the calculator examples above) or through page text (e.g. the My Plan summary page).
How-To Guides make FinanceWiki Actionable
In addition to calculators, FinanceWiki also has How-To guides that recommend action plans in the context of particular financial planning scenarios. Users can look at the steps in an action plan, choose only those actions that are appropriate for their situation, and add it to their collection of to-do / tasks lists. The user can then track progress against these recommended actions. To see how this works, visit a FinanceWiki page that has an action plan (e.g. "How to get a home loan?"), and click on the "To-Do" sticky note icon on the top right of the action plan. Like other parts of FinanceWiki, the action plans are also editable through the site.