Personal Finance Product Design


In 2008 I began to get active in stock trading with the advent of online platforms that required a minimum investment of $500. In 2012 as I prepared to buy my first home, I was on a mission to audit my personal finances. I had seen too many acquaintances take on mortgages that they could not afford leading up to the burst of the housing bubble. I was determined not to let that happen to me. My favorite source at the time was a book called Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth.

Problem Statement

Personalized financial guidance is not typically in the reach of middle to lower income earners. In the cases of fiduciaries who provide pro-bono assistance, people are often not aware of this resource. If they were aware, the resources would not be abundant enough for all of those in need.

Why Is This Important?

Some statistics:

  • 20% of Americans don’t save any part of their income. (BankRate)
  • 39% of Americans would have a hard time covering a cash expense of just $400. (Federal Reserve)
  • Only 24% of Millennials* show signs of at least basic financial literacy. 76% do not. (National Endowment for Financial Education)

*Millenials (b. 1981 – 1996) = 72.24 million people. 72.24 x 76% = 54.9 million

How Might We Statements

  • How might we deliver personalized and professional finance guidance at a price people can afford?
  • How might we offer improved learning experience for self-starters?
  • How might we tackle these issues while creating a return for stakeholders?

This Might Be My Ikigai

I don’t care if it’s a solo effort that takes me years. This is something that is important to me. I am not close to the shining example of what a person should do with money. However, I at least understand the steps I need to take when I get turned around. I also understand some of the reasons why it is difficult for people to inform themselves and take action.

(Ikigai is that combination of things that you are passionate about, good at, can get paid to do, and is needed by the world.)

What Would Collaboration Look Like?

It would be great to work on this with other people, but I’m not in a position to offer any payment. I’m also open to working on existing projects that are tackling the same or similar problem. For now I’m just trying to learn more about this problem space.


Books I’ve Read (So Far)