FinTech
29 April 2021

The Financial Literacy Life Cycle (and FinTech Startups Leading the Way)

Written by Luke Lennon

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Since 2004, April has officially marked Financial Literacy Month in the United States. Its original focus was to help K-12 students build healthy financial habits, but since then the definition and scope has evolved – and for good reason. 

Financial health looks different for individuals at each age and career stage, with generational wealth transfer playing an ever-important role in both accessing and maintaining financial stability. Below we look at several fintech startups in the MassChallenge community tackling financial health at every stage.

It’s Never Too Early To Start

Till | New York, NY

Till is a collaborative family financial tool that aims to empower kids to become smarter spenders. Their approach centers on helping teens build a sense of accountability and independence through savings and spending goals, as well as other features like task tracking and rewards, community goals, and repayment plans. The company closed a $5M seed round last month. Learn more here.

Goalsetter | New York, NY

Kids with savings accounts are 6x more likely to go to college and 4x more likely to own stocks. Founder and CEO Tanya Van Court founded Goalsetter on this premise, based on personal experiences with her own children. Drawing upon Van Court’s background as a former executive at Nickelodeon, the platform and its accompanying debit card help children of all ages learn economic concepts, lingo, and financial health principles. The startup has also partnered with organizations such as the NBA and NFL Players’ Associations to empower Black and Brown kids through their “Drafted” campaign. Learn more here.

The Old College Try 

Edmit | Boston, MA

College is one of the biggest investments an individual will make early in their lifetimes – and Nick Ducoff and Sabrina Manville, former university leaders, recognized that when they founded Edmit. Edmit’s platform helps students and their families navigate the entire world of college – from how to manage financial aid to how to find colleges with above-average career outcomes. Learn more here.

Zogo | Durham, NC

Bolun Li founded Zogo while an undergrad at Duke University, where he realized how little his friends knew about how to manage their money. The gamified app that seeks to make financial education more fun and engaging through more digestible modules and incentives to keep Gen Z learners motivated. In a time where roughly 2/3 of Americans cannot pass a basic financial literacy exam, Zogo has recently topped the App Store Education charts and is now in schools and financial institutions across all 50 states. Learn more here.

Other notable companies: Payitoff, Quatromoney, Flourish

Time to Start Adulting

Bodeswell | Boston, MA

85 million American households have no financial advisor. Bodeswell seeks to make the experience of financial planning less intimidating and more accessible through easy-to-use software that takes enables users to map out life events and set long-term financial goals. Learn more here.

Homezada | El Dorado Hills, CA

Property ownership is a key aspect of generational wealth building, with the potential to help close the racial wealth gap, as historically practices such as redlining have created barriers to home ownership for BIPOC populations. This is because the home is often an individual’s largest financial asset – but it’s also often one’s largest expense. Homezada serves as a digital hub for managing one’s home, from finances to maintenance. Learn more here.

Other notable companies: Qoins, Retirable

Growing Old Together

Worthright | Boston, MA

Long-Term Care (LTC) is expensive – and as many Americans are living longer, the reality is that many retirees will need support navigating their day-to-day lives. According to an estimate by Fidelity Investments, the average 65-year-old couple will spend $285,000 on health care in retirement – and this doesn’t even include LTC, most of which is not covered by Medicare. Worthright provides hands-on care coordination and financial assistance to families seeking long-term care. Learn more here.

Cake | Boston, MA

End-of-life planning may not be intuitively connected to financial literacy, but the legal and financial implications of a loved one’s death are consistently confusing and intimidating: what happens to their debt? Are funeral expenses tax-deductible? How long should you hold onto one’s bank statements after their death? Cake aims to answer these questions and more through their free end-of-life planning platform. Learn more here.

Other notable companies: Trust & Will, Lifesite, TCARE, EmpowerYu

 

From education and healthcare, to home ownership and family history, an individual’s financial health is impacted by multiple external factors, in addition to demographics such as gender and race.

Innovation in these spaces is putting power back in the hands of consumers – especially those traditionally underserved or overlooked by financial services – and corporates and startups alike can promote financial literacy by first understanding the full life cycle of financial health and the necessity of a people-first approach in addressing customer needs.

 

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