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The Amber Wealth Advisors Newletter

Automate Your Finances: A Guide to Building Your Personal Finance Operating System

Sep 23, 2023

Imagine a world where your personal finances are automated, eliminating the need for traditional budgeting, and ensuring that you achieve all your financial goals.

Well, this world can become a reality when you create your own Personal Finance Operating System (PFOS).

Sadly, many people haven't built their own PFOS and find themselves:

  • Struggling to meet their financial goals
  • Making aimless investments
  • Falling behind on bills
  • Accumulating debt

Don't let that be you.

Today, I will teach you how to create your own PFOS, following the same steps I've used for myself and my clients.

Let's Get Started!

Step 1: Understand the Flow of Money

From now on, every dollar you earn will have a purpose within your system.

Here's how the money flow of the PFOS looks:

First, your income enters the system. Then, on a weekly basis, money is allocated to four main categories:

  1. Fixed Costs
  2. Short-Term Financial Goals
  3. Long-Term Financial Goals
  4. Lifestyle Expenses

When the total money allocated to these categories is less than your income, you've reached the "Overflow Protocol."

In this case, the excess funds are automatically directed towards your short-term goals as the primary objective. Once the short-term goals are fully funded, any remaining capital goes towards your long-term financial goals.

The ultimate goal is to achieve the Overflow Protocol, as it signifies that your financial life is on track.

Now, let's explore the components of the system.

Step 2: Essential Accounts for Operation

If you're old enough to remember the days when having a savings and checking account was sufficient, you'll be surprised to learn that those days are long gone.

To build a comprehensive PFOS, you'll need a bit more. Here's what you'll need:

To create this system, I've found that using M1 Finance works best.

However, you can use any mix of accounts that you prefer and assemble something that works for you.

But I think of M1 Finance as the "iPhone" of personal finance, offering the best user interface and experience I've come across.

Automation Hub

For this account, we will be utilizing the M1 Finance high-yield savings account, which currently offers one of the highest interest rates available at 5%.

All earnings and income from your job or business go into this account and you should automate this process by setting up direct deposit.

Fixed Costs Checking

The next account you'll need is a standard checking account to cover your fixed expenses.

This account should be linked to M1 Finance and allow for automated bill pay. Use this account to pay for all your fixed or recurring expenses, such as:

  • Mortgage or Rent
  • Subscriptions
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Loans

If it feels like a bill, it's likely a fixed expense. Automate these payments and never worry about them again.

Post-Tax Investment Accounts

When it comes to investing your money, you'll have short-term financial goals (1-5 years away) and long-term financial goals (5+ years away).

In our PFOS, this means setting up two taxable brokerage accounts with M1 Finance: one for short-term goals and one for long-term goals.

Since the durations of these goals differ, the investments made in these accounts will also differ.

For example, let's say you have a goal to save $15,000 to buy a used car in the summer of 2027. In order to achieve this goal, your PFOS will allocate $70 every week to your short-term financial goals brokerage account, which will then invest that $70 into a conservative portfolio of securities.

On the other hand, your long-term financial goals brokerage account will have a different investment strategy. This account primarily focuses on your retirement, which may be two decades away. In this account, you can invest in a more aggressive growth strategy.

Variable Expenses

For your day-to-day living expenses, the PFOS treats them all the same. These are your variable expenses.

Unlike fixed costs and investments, it's challenging to predict these expenses down to the dollar. They typically include items like food, gasoline, and minor entertainment or merchandise purchases.

To handle these expenses, you can use a cashback credit card or withdraw cash from your automation hub. Personally, I find using a credit card the simplest option, as most businesses accept credit cards nowadays. Make sure to pay off this credit card every week from your automation hub, while monitoring your spending and adjusting as needed.

Sinking Funds

What about those occasional expenses that aren't part of your weekly routine?

That's where your sinking fund credit card comes in.

This credit card is specifically for expenses that don't occur regularly in your life. Here are some examples:

  • Personal Care (clothing, haircuts, massages, nails, etc.)
  • Home Maintenance
  • Pet Care (vet visits)
  • Car Maintenance
  • Short Trips
  • Vacations
  • Gifts

Whenever these expenses arise, use your separate sinking fund credit card to pay for them. Your PFOS will automatically cover the credit card bill from your automation hub on a monthly basis.

Step 3: Making Adjustments

Remember, nothing is set in stone. As your life changes, you'll need to make adjustments to your PFOS.

For fixed costs, if you add or remove a bill, you'll need to adjust your weekly distribution to your fixed costs checking account.

Regarding variable expenses, if you find yourself spending more week-to-week than you initially accounted for, you might need to reduce your investment or sinking fund amounts.

If you're starting to invest later in life and need to catch up by making larger contributions, you may have to cut back on sinking funds and variable expenses.

Ultimately, you have control over your PFOS, and you can make any necessary adjustments to achieve your financial goals. The key is to automate as much as possible and make rational decisions with your money, detached from emotions.


In conclusion, automating your finances through a well-crafted Personal Finance Operating System can pave the way to financial success. By understanding the flow of money, setting up the required accounts, and making necessary adjustments, you can eliminate the stress of traditional budgeting and ensure you're on track to achieve your financial goals.

Remember, the power lies in your hands to create a system that works best for you. Automate your finances, stay disciplined, and watch your wealth grow. Start crafting your Personal Finance Operating System today!

Are you ready to take your financial journey to the next level? Here are two powerful ways I can guide you:

1. If you're a mid-career professional seeking financial mastery, I recommend an assessment and a personalized call:

The Mid-Career Financial Assessment: Unlock the secrets to your financial readiness for the second half of your career and life by answering just 8 simple questions. Gain crystal-clear clarity on your goals and discover the exact steps to achieve them.

Schedule A Call: Are you ready to have a financial advisor who genuinely cares about your aspirations? Let's have a conversation about what's on your mind and how we can work together to make your dreams a reality. 

2. If you're a hands-on DIYer craving a proven financial operating system:

The Automation Operating System: Transform your financial life from complicated and time consuming to simplified and automated. Join the ranks of my satisfied clients and me, as we effortlessly reach our financial goals without the burden of budgeting and sacrifice.


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