JumpStart curates and recommends financial services to young professionals.
"Only 17 states require a personal finance course to graduate high school."
"The US ranks 14th in financial literacy."
Today, only 17 states require that students complete a financial education course before they graduate high school. The result of this lack of education speaks for themselves. The US ranks 14th on financial literacy, with only about 60% of adults being financially literate. The average household credit card debt is north of $8,000 dollars.
Professional financial advisors attempt to close these gaps in knowledge. However, their primary target audience is adults. Children and college students remain underserved.
We’ve identified young professionals as an interesting audience, as they face a lot of challenges in this space. Starting a job is a big transition. When you get your first job, it might be the first time that you are responsible for your own finances, paying bills, budgeting, and saving for retirement. There’s a huge learning curve for young professionals to climb. An added stressor to this space might be student loans.
The end result is stress and anxiety.
People have trouble with financial information overload.
People don’t know what kinds of resources to trust.
We talked to 10 different college students and young professionals in order to learn more about their problems within the space. Something that we heard time and time again was the fact that people have financial information overload. A lot of materials already exist, but people don’t know how to navigate them. These insights helped us to frame our design question.
How might we create a digital service to connect young professionals to trusted financial resources?
JumpStart is a digital service that curates and recommends financial services to young professionals in the workforce.
JumpStart provides users with easy access to curated financial resources, allowing them quickly and effortlessly answer any questions they have relating to personal finance.
How Does It Work?
To explain our system a little further, we created a value flow diagram.
As you can see, JumpStart offers financial resources to young professionals by providing a subscription-based service to companies seeking to offer employees more benefits. On the Jumpstart platform, financial services can market themselves.
Jumpstart will curate these services by having financial professionals recommend which are the best for the users.
Most of the existing services in the market are financial service providers. But, there aren’t any services that teach young professionals how to navigate which financial service to use. That’s where Jumpstart can come in and fill that gap.
HealthyCents: a platform providing curricula that teach how to save money/develop healthier financial habits
Prudential: provide financial education, teach how to purchase health insurance/make investments
Robinhood: cash management, stock trading platform
Benefits for the Stakeholders
Jumpstart provides a lot of benefits for its stakeholders. It not only helps employees develop healthier financial habits, but it helps them relieve financial stress and increases their productivity in their workforce. Companies, as they provide Jumpstart as a benefit to its employees, can build up a good reputation and attract more college grads. And for financial platforms and services that we partner with, this means an expanded marketing space with a huge influx of potential customers and investments.
Digital Service Innovation Goals:
The purpose of Digital Service Innovation is to work as a team to envision and create a plan for a financially viable, technically feasible, digital service startup. To accomplish these goals we employed a variety of design methods and also solicited customer feedback throughout our entire design process. Starting from an initial concept about providing financial education to college students, our process led us to a digital service for company HR departments, to provide employees with the resources that they need to succeed as financially responsible adults.
Our initial concept came from the project pitch for Jumpstart: A mobile financial education platform that provides college students with the financial resources that they need, partnering with banks to offer students with financial incentives to complete educational material.
What is Financial Literacy and Why it Matters?
FL is important to both individuals and the society:
Allows individuals to make effective life-long decisions with their financial resources
Basic: budgeting, developing healthy spending habits, prioritizing savings, identifying theft and fraud, safe borrowing, making wise investments…
People who are more financially literate earn more
Financial illiteracy makes people subject to predatory lending, fraud and high interest rates
Who Needs Financial Literacy Education?
Driven by their need to manage bank accounts & “make ends meet”
Who recently got a job, willing to make initial investments
Who take care of children and elderlies, make large investments, buy stocks, etc.
Who wish to spend money wisely and improve their retirement life
Motivation to learn depends on the level of engagement: students less motivated to learn.
What are the existing solutions?
17 of 50 states in the US offers required financial classes in high school
Only 7 states test on students’ knowledge; receive feedbacks on classes being boring
Banks offer financial literacy services (e.g. workshops) to engage students in hands-on practices
Often accompanied with other services such as student loans and cheaper accounts
Online platforms that offer financial classes or pair students with financial advisors
Apps such as Betterment that provides basic guidance and helps keep track of investments
The idea of making people aware of their future financial conditions is inspiring
What are barriers/opportunities to enhancing FL?
Government is underfunded for providing additional finance classes
Only ~11% of teachers are experienced in teaching finance
Students found traditional classes to be expensive, less entertaining, and not widely available
People tend to resort to financial experts instead of their own knowledge
Cultural/gender barriers still exist (e.g. Women less interested in becoming financially literate)
People are less motivated to seek out for solutions: unaware of the consequences of poor decisions
In order to gather customer insights, we conducted a variety of different types of research.
1. Customer Interviews
2. Storyboarding and Speed-dating
3. Secondary Online Research
We conducted a number of customer interviews with undergraduate and graduate students to learn about their current financial education levels and experiences. As a team, we then interpreted and analyzed our conversations to yield these key insights:
1. Students don’t feel like financial education is relevant to them
2. Financial education opportunities online are overwhelming and scary
Storyboarding and Speed-dating：
In addition to our customer interviews, we also speed-dated a variety of different types of interventions that could possibly be created in the space. Our interventions ranged from mandatory financial education courses, budgeting competitions, to financial simulation games.
People are interested in being able to track their spending (although a lot of solutions currently already exist in this space)
Financial simulations are interesting, but don’t seem practical
People aren’t interested in comparing their finances with others
Online Research and Analysis：
Finally, we also conducted some more online research to help to inform our knowledge of the space.
According to a 2015 finding, ~70% of college students are very concerned about finance
Comes from increasing tuition and high daily expenses
A recent survey by NASFAA shows that students clearly lack financial knowledge
Struggled to answer basic finance questions; on average scored 2/6
40% of 4-year college students (and 45% of 2-year) have never taken finance classes
Lead to unwise decisions: only 65% plan to pay back their loans, unaware of consequences
The Pivoted Idea:
Providing a better way to EDUCATE college students on Financial Literacy.
Providing a better way for Young Professionals to quickly and easily FIND financial resources.
Through research we found:
Oversaturation of market in FL resource providers
Very high demand in FL education
Customers need FL resources and there are plenty of providers.
What’s the disconnect?
The market is too saturated, customers feel so lost that they STOP TRYING.
New Idea: Connect customers to existing resources
Changing Our Customer：
People aren’t willing to pay for these services themselves
Sell to enterprise markets would be the best solution.
Companies are incentivized to help their employee finances:
Also improves company employee loyalty and retention.
Final Product and MVP
Offer businesses a way to attract young professionals by providing their employees with a way to quickly become financially literate quickly by curating existing financial resources and services.
Value Flow Diagram：
JumpStart offers financial resources to young professionals by providing a subscription-based service to companies seeking to offer employees more benefits. On the Jumpstart platform, financial services can market themselves. Jumpstart will curate these services by having financial professionals recommend which are the best for the users.
Benefits for the Stakeholders：
Our team started the design process by setting pages based on the features and which functionalities to include on each page. The flow is planned as users will first input their goals and preferred things to learn, the system curate goal-related resources at the home page, provide detailed information on the individual resource page, change settings on the profile page, and compare resources on the personal finance page.
The features we hope to include in our prototype is the user’s goals and preference collection, curated resources, and a tool to help them compare services.
Feature 1: Resource-based on goals
When people first use jumpstart, they’ll be able to set some financial goals, for example
Paying off student loan debt
Saving for retirement
Investing in growing money
Money management (budgeting, spending responsibly, etc.).
After they set a goal, our platform will recommend them resources and services that already exist that may be able to help them to achieve those goals. If the user doesn’t have a clear goal yet, they may skip through the set goals step and explore their goals reading the posts at the home page.
Feature 2: Community Feedback
For the general users, Jumpstart provides a forum for them to discuss and rate financial services. It is also a great place to gain experience from others’ success/failure tips.
Feature 3: Compare financial products/ services
Besides curating financial resources for new college hires, Jumpstart provides the additional function to compare the results of different financial decisions. It will predict what the financial situations will be like after pouring X amount of money...
Concept Video Rationale:
In order to demonstrate the value of our Jumpstart, we decided to create a concept video and demonstrate how the service can be used. This video would help us to build a connection to our audience.
With this goal in mind, we sketched out the basic structure of our video:
Concept Video Sketch:
Due to time constraints, we were limited in our ability to plan, edit, and create the final video. As a result, we decided to create a stop-motion video for both our concept video sketch and our final movie, in order to accomplish our goals while being able to balance our resources and complete other tasks.
Concept Video Feedback:
Our first concept video sketch received a lot of good feedback. From a content aspect, we learned that we needed to highlight the features of our digital service more clearly, as users were confused with what our service did. Furthermore, we needed to change the dialogue within the sketch, as it was not clear what the problem space was and how Jumpstart solved for the problem. In addition, we needed to add in prototype screens to help with highlighting our service.
Finally, there were some other minor points to pay attention to, transitioning between scenes, and also adding in background music.
Concept Video Changes:
With feedback from our peers in mind, we made the following changes to the final video:
Additional animations demonstrating the functionality of our service
Matched the animation style to our final design
Re-recorded dialogue for our video to make the problem more clear and also make our solution more clear
Added background music
Upon completion of our final pitch and of the investor showcase, we reflected on some things that we had done well, and some things that we could have improved throughout this project.
Something that we feel like we did do well was articulate how the service works. Our investors seemed to understand our idea.
Something that we could have improved was articulating our business case. We weren’t able to make a convincing argument to investors as to why they should invest in our service. Using existing services as an example may be useful for our audiences to understand our MVP.