The bad news is that ChatGPT might be coming for your job. The good news is that it can help you budget and save in preparation for the generative AI takeover.
The OpenAI chatbot is not yet a replacement for human financial advisors, but it can help just about anybody strategize and plan for more organized and efficient spending and saving.
Here’s how to use ChatGPT to create a personalized budget.
Get Organized and Confront Your Finances
ChatGPT can build you a detailed and personalized financial plan with impressive speed and precision — but only if you give it a complete and accurate accounting of your financial life. It can not do the hard work of tabulating your debts, bills and fixed and variable monthly expenses for you.
Before you get started, gather all of the information you would need for an initial meeting with a human financial professional.
The more detailed, thorough and honest your inputs, the more reliable the results ChatGPT will deliver. So, take the time and endure the stress of combing through your finances first — the details will determine your success or failure.
Tell It About Your Situation
Once you have your income, spending and debts laid out, just input them into ChatGPT in a conversational tone along with a description of what kind of budget you aim to create.
Forbes offers a sample prompt: “I make [whatever amount] each month, pay [amount] in rent or mortgage, [amount] in bills, [amount] in groceries, [amount] in gas and I’m [amount] in debt. Make a financial plan for me to help with savings.”
Analyze the Results
ChatGPT will respond with a personalized and detailed outline of how best to allocate your money to cover your bills and debts and how much of what’s left over to put toward emergency savings or a retirement fund.
Now is the time to cross-reference the results against your real-world financial situation — and, most important, your goals — so you can continue shaping the results with new inputs.
Fine-Tune and Follow Up
Part of what makes ChatGPT so useful is its ability to recall previous inputs and incorporate them into follow-up queries. The more you refine your original inputs with more granular instructions, the more specific ChatGPT’s responses will become.
For example, you might build on the bot’s initial response with follow-ups like:
- “What if I want to save for a car that costs $40,000?”
- “Please revise to prioritize building my credit score.”
- “How can I incorporate an annual bonus and tax refund?”
Modify, Revise and Trust Yourself Over an Algorithm
Fortune staff writer Ivana Pino used her publication to chronicle her experience with ChatGPT in budgeting for the purchase of a $500,000 home. She input:
- The cost of the home
- Her income
- Her debts
- Her recurring monthly expenses
- Her savings account and brokerage account balances
ChatGPT quickly returned a list of priorities and the order to complete them, which instructed Pino to:
- Pay off her credit cards
- Pay off her student loans
- Build an emergency fund
- Reduce spending
- Save for a 20% down payment
Fortune enlisted human financial planners to create an outline using the same inputs, and their recommendations were remarkably similar to the bot’s — but they provided a human touch that the algorithm lacked.
For example, ChatGPT assumed Pino knew precisely how much money she spent every month. It also didn’t account for potential income changes or factor in how interest rates have soared since 2021, when its data updates stopped.
The financial advisors agreed that ChatGPT is a powerful tool that excels at providing general roadmaps. But users should consider the results of artificial intelligence as a good starting point — one that must be revised and tweaked based on human intelligence.
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