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business models, strategies and technologies

Finimize MyLife demotes finance from rocket science

Finimize is on a mission to rethink financial advice and financial literacy, so people can bring their financial lives in order – as part of an informed community.

UK-based startup Finimize is on a mission to rethink financial advice and financial literacy, so people can bring their whole financial lives in order. “Finance doesn’t have to be rocket science,” the company declares.

Finance(s) – a means to an end

Finimize provides a daily email to explain key financial concepts in simple terms as they coincide with financial news, aiming to “become the top of mind brand for finance – similar to how Amazon is the top of mind for shopping”. Laudable, but there doesn’t yet seem to be anything to actually “buy” or pay money for …

The company seems to want to help users “translate” abstract terms into concrete actionable advice and “what to do” solutions focused on the user’s actual financial situation and objectives. But Finimize is apparently still only in

alpha/beta stages, so it’s too early to judge. But blog posts like this make me wonder whether the underlying agenda is really about doubt or solution.

Elephant in the room

One seemingly attractive feature of the Finimize push seems to be their identifying the “elephant in the room” as our financial illiteracy – a position that renders us all passive, disenfranchised, helpless and accepting in a world with a profound impact on our families’ living situation and future security.

Sure, you could simply sell people “tools” to hack their own steps out of the ignorance quagmire – but Finimize seems to want to empower people to co-build maps for personal financial salvation. They’ve provided a refreshingly forthright manifesto about this – and also a bold little YouTube video comparing their 2016 style with the Gordon Gekko finance mindset of the 1980s.

Building buzz

The founders say they originally started Finimize to help solve their own problems – but didn’t want to solve them alone, leading them to a community-based model.

Our mission is too big for us to be able to achieve it ourselves. Our community is at the center of what we’re doing. They’re global, they’re powerful, and they’re ready for some change.

A lot of the Finimize website and communication seems to be focused on getting people signed up, with their “Understand today’s financial news within 3 minutes” newsletter, an “Insider Program” with extra perks for anyone referring five others, Ambassadors, front-page Twitter highlights and a community forum.

We’re building the tools that will empower you to become your own financial adviser. Simple. Fast. Free.

Indications about goals

There’s a big difference between getting a handle on “finance” in abstract, as here, and acting to deal with my finances, as in the currently-in-beta Finimize MyLife community. This apparently takes just three minutes to set up, is guided by deep research, and they say it’s actually something you’d want to use (whereas most fintech tools are probably in the category of “necessary evils”).

As of February 2018, there’s not much info available on their website. They say they’re providing free, fully digital financial plans, but the business model is far from clear. Nevertheless, company blog posts from November 2017 provide indications about aligning financial resources with goal tracking, making it fairly easy to guess about at least one element. To me, it doesn’t seem clear how they’re going to harvest data from the global community of co-clarifiers that they’re working so hard to sign up.

I wonder whether this service/business model is too simplistic and ephemeral to be sufficiently useful/attractive in a cut-throat world, but as a financial illiterate I’ve signed up anyway. I certainly applaud the boldness of their quest to redress the lack of financial literacy, so it seems worth a try.