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Relocation Financial Planner

, 20 Aug 2013 CPOL
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A cost planning worksheet that finds area-specific expenses such as local taxes based upon a given set of coordinates.

Please note

This article is an entry in our AppInnovation Contest. Articles in this sub-section are not required to be full articles so care should be taken when voting.

Contest Information

  • Target Platform - Tablet
  • Category - Finance
  • Overview - A tool to help you plan out your costs when moving to a new area including area-specific taxes, gas prices, housing and other local costs.
  • Description - See Description section below.
  • Approach Taken - See Approach Taken section below.
  • Coding Language - This is a C# WPF application written in .NET 4.5. Caliburn Micro is used for MVVM help and a number of APIs are used to gain information about local costs.

Introduction

When you are planning to move to a new area, it can be difficult to figure out the cost of living is going to be. Local taxes are different, rental costs are different, even the local gas prices are different. The income that you are expecting from your job might be more than enough or it might not even cover your expenses. Figuring this out is important but it often ends up being a lot of guesswork. The Relocation Financial Planner is a tool to eliminate that guesswork. Tell it where you want to move or use your current location and it will calculate a budget worksheet for you based upon the given location.

Features

Relocation Financial Planner has the following features:

  • Housing Calculator - Gives the average apartment cost in the area as well as the average house purchase cost. It also works out the mortgage cost of purchasing a house based upon a given interest rate, period, and other factors.
  • Taxes Calculator - Shows you how much you would be paying in taxes based upon the area, your expected house size (or apartment size), and your area.
  • Gas Price Calculator - Looks up the average price for gas in the area and then calculates the cost to you based upon distance to work from the specified location, your vehicle's MPG, and the cost of that gas.
  • Budget Worksheet - Relocation Financial Planner will set up and keep a budget worksheet for you. Before you move, it will be based upon average costs from your chosen area. Once you move, it will take your actual costs and keep them up to date. This will help you keep an accurate budget.
  • Home Finder - Whether you are looking to rent or buy, the home finder will find a find you a set of houses to look through.

Description

The Relocation Financial Planner application is designed specifically for users who are planning to move into a new area. This move could be right down the road or thousands of miles away, Relocation Financial Planner will be just as effective either way. The user will be able to set up a financial planning worksheet based upon where they are planning on moving instead of guessing at what their overall costs will be.

Approach Taken

To build this application, I first mapped it out. I identified what features I wanted and what technologies I wanted to maximize. Most of the code is already written for the other applications that I am developing (I'm developing a central library for all my apps). That means I just need to develop the specifics that are unique to this application and then I need to wire it into my user interface. For this user interface, I am going with a simple design that looks like a single-page budget worksheet. Each entry that has calculations behind it can be expanded to show those calculations. For instance, the mortgage calculator has a number of assumptions (interest rate, period, etc.) that can be changed in the expanded view.

At this point, this application is still in the design phase. The major features are set and the general feel of the user interface is also set but it has not yet been built. Over the next month, I will be finishing the design, building the user interface, and wiring up the system. I expect the first version of the product to be done by the middle of September at the latest.

Technologies Used

I use the following technologies in this application:

  • Touch - The application has been designed to be touched, not just clicked on.
  • GPS - Used to identify where the user currently is if they want to look at their current location instead of specifying a location.
  • WIFI - Used to access the APIs for getting local data
  • Portability - The tablet will be taken to different areas with the user so that they can be better informed of the possibilities while they look for a place to live.

Conclusion

Relocation Financial Planner takes the guesswork out of moving to a new area. As you can see, you no longer have to hope that your income will be sufficient for where you plan to live. This application will lay everything out for you using the latest market data so that you can make an informed decision.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Tim Corey
Software Developer (Senior) Epicross
United States United States
I am currently a Lead Technical Consultant for a consulting company called Epicross. My primary skills are in .NET, SQL, JavaScript, and other web technologies although I have worked with PowerShell, C, and Java as well.
 
In my previous positions, I have worked as a lead developer and IT Director. As such, I have been able to develop software on a number of different types of systems and I have learned how to correctly oversee the overall direction of technology for an organization. I've developed applications for everything from machine automation to complete ERP systems.
 
My current position is mainly focused making our clients more efficient and effective. I use custom software (desktop, mobile, and web) to help facilitate this goal. When I'm not working for the company, I'm usually developing applications to fill the needs of the organizations I volunteer for.
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