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Family money planning — there's an app for that



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Valley Center native Dave Specht has transformed a long career of helping families plan their financial futures into an easy-to-use app. Courtesy photo
December 06, 2013
When Dave Specht was a college student, he felt unsure and overwhelmed.

Between his studies and becoming a new father, he thought he was just short on answers. However, one professor gave some advice that changed his view on everything.

"It's not about having the answers, it's about asking the right questions," his professor told him. That single idea has been one of the driving forces behind his entire career as a family business consultant.

It's also the impetus for his new app, Inspired Questions, which launched on Nov. 18. The app asks 100 different questions that Specht has developed over the course of his career as a certified financial planner.

"The broad purpose for this app is to develop a dialogue for what it means to be wealthy for each family," said Specht. Although financial concerns are part of that dialogue, Specht hopes the app will get people talking about values, talents, and priorities as well.

Specht grew up in Valley Center and attended Orange Glen High School. Although he now lives in Connell, Wash., he still comes back to his hometown a few times a year to visit his parents. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Specht knew many family friends who owned their own businesses and came to appreciate the challenges of running a family business.

"It definitely influenced my career choice to be a family-owned business consultant," he said. Specht has used many of the app's questions over his career, and his hope is to provide the same sort of third party facilitator without actually having a living consultant present. The software is designed to make families discuss and think about choices they might not otherwise talk about.

Estate planners, insurance professionals, and financial attorneys will certainly find Inspired Questions helpful, but it's also intended for families who just want learn more about one another. Users can go straight through the 100 questions, shuffle them, or bookmark certain questions to return to later.

If you can't get your whole family all in the same room (or you wouldn't want to), Specht's app allows users to share their answers by Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, and email. Users can even record audio and video of themselves answering the questions to share with family members spread out all over the country.

If Inspired Questions is a hit, Specht hopes to release specialized versions of the app for married couples, farmers, and other specific groups. Whether you're drafting a will or just looking to get a conversation started, Inspired Questions is designed to help families get a better grasp on their priorities.

Specht is married and has five kids, but he still relies on the questions to navigate the stresses and uncertainties of planning for his family's financial future. "When we're riding around in the car, they love it," he said.

Inspired Questions is available on the Apple App Store for $9.99. It is currently not available for Android phones, but Specht hopes to change that soon if he sees enough of a market for the Apple version. To learn more, visit www.inspired-questions.com.

Specht's 5 favorite Inspired Questions:

1) If you could take one personality trait from a family member and make it your own, what would it be and why?

2) What is the best gift you have ever given to someone else?

3) What does it mean to be a (insert your last name)?

4) Describe your first memory of owning something?

5) Talk about the most influential person in your life.

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