COVID-19 is forcing a shift in priorities and creating a sense of financial uncertainty that many young people might have not experienced before. Jeet Singh, Founder of Money Experience talks about this while also sharing his thoughts on the impact of Covid-19 on the finance and fintech segment. Catch the complete story:
Can you tell us a little about yourself, Jeet? How did the idea of Money Experience come about and since its inception, how has the journey been? We’d love to know some key highlights/challenges.
A company I founded (Winterline) was developing a curriculum of real-world skills to teach our young adults, but even after years of searching, we found nothing particularly compelling in the financial literacy space. Eventually we decided to build our own, but that turned into a very significant project, so Money Experience was set up to concentrate on that and that alone.
As we dove into that topic, we realized that most approaches to the topic were overly technical, financial product-oriented, and not at all engaging for young people (or any people, for that matter!). So, we took a very different approach, using a life-simulator to allow users to engage on topics that they cared about, and then showing them how these decisions may play out in their simulated futures. Another big challenge we faced was the fact that more “technical” approaches required highly skilled instructors – and that was a non-starter in most environments, to say the least. So, we spent a lot of time developing a curriculum that was either self-paced entirely or could be facilitated (rather than “taught”) by a very broad range of instructors, including parents themselves.
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Financial literacy is definitely integral to today’s younger workforce and young adults, given the current pandemic and its impact: how would you best advise individual users to optimize use of personal finance apps to safeguard finance management and investments during this time?
COVID-19 is forcing a shift in priorities and creating a sense of financial uncertainty that many young people might have not experienced before. Although financial insecurity has already been a growing issue in this country from even before the pandemic, the current crisis has brought this into much sharper focus. We believe that understanding how your day-to-day decisions, as well as longer term ones might affect your financial situation is key to making better decisions.
We’d love to know how Money Experience enables the younger workforce with better finance capabilities.
At its core, Money Experience is about offering an engaging, easy to understand approach to learning about money. Our approach is unusual, in that we don’t TELL people what they should do, but rather, in a fun and personalized simulator, allow them to make decisions on their own, and see for themselves what financial consequences (good or bad!) may result. We also emphasize the identification of personal priorities as a key part of making choices that work for you.
Once young people understand how their most basic life choices – for example: where they live, what they do, how they invest their time – can impact both their finances and lifestyle, they’re better equipped to make decisions that support their long-term financial health, and frankly, their level of happiness.
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Can you share your thoughts on how you see personal finance apps and platforms change how users approach their finance management and related requirements?
There’s no particular magic about an app or a platform per se. It might be well effective, or it might be completely useless. Certainly, there are demographics where a phone app is where students/adults might be spending more time, or in other cases access to technology is difficult, and may be things inaccessible to certain populations. So, it can cut both ways. In the Covid-19 scenario, our specific design happens to be one that was designed for online, self-paced learning, which reduces the burden on teachers, counselors, parents, and organizations, so that’s obviously an advantage over more traditional ways in which financial literacy has been (and still is) taught.
Given the current world situation, what would your top tips be to B2B/Global tech/Fintech (product) companies, especially when it comes to optimizing their finance tech to enable better overall cashflow and finance management to get through this uncertain time?
That’s a difficult question to answer, given that we face more unknowns in the present, in terms of economic growth, employment, productivity, and so many things. It would only be safe to say that modularity, flexibility, and ease of adjustment to changing situations is important to prioritize, so that one can react quickly to market conditions. That, of course, is easier said than done.
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What are some of your thoughts on how the current world situation will impact the use of (and development) of the fintech segment?
Another tough one! I think certain kinds of initiatives will see more demand (flexible payment systems, peer-to-peer type applications, self-service banking and so on) to serve both the need for reduction of face-to-face interactions (in the short-term, we hope) as well as sheer convenience. This may be further fueled by ongoing pressure in the fintech sector to reduce headcount. So, efficiency-oriented applications and services might proliferate. On a lighter note, having so many finance industry folks working from home just now does mean that they might be outside their usual firewall, and can actually SEE how other industries use technology effectively! Can only be a good thing.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the (global/international) fintech industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
Matt Levine at Bloomberg. I’ll read anything he writes. Smart AND funny as hell
Would you like to share specific finance or business tips for Marketing and Sales teams struggling through this uncertain time?
I think honesty and pragmatism go a long way to connecting with your clients better in times like this. Try to understand what their needs really are. Sure, we’re all selling stuff, but now more than ever, it seems irresponsible to sell people stuff they don’t need.
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Many people in the finance and fintech world are very sophisticated about financial topics, but they are often unaware of just how NOT sophisticated the rest of the world is in that regard. In our opinion, many efforts in our field (improving understanding of how money works) fall short because of a failure to connect with the things that people: 1) understand, and 2) have relevance to their broader lives. We’re trying to change that.
Money Experience is an educational technology company addressing the need for personal finance education among young people and adults. Its goal is to offer an effective and accessible financial literacy platform that helps users of all ages understand how money works in life and how to make better decisions to improve their financial situation.
Jeet Singh is the founder and CEO of Money Experience. Jeet is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded and run businesses in e-commerce software, marketing analytics, digital media, education, educational technology, and health tech, including the NASDAQ-listed internet software firm, ATG Inc. (acquired by Oracle Corp in 2010) as well as ThirdChannel, Kinto, LoopIt (acquired by Boston firm Nanigans), and Winterline Global Education.