Financial fitness starts here.
In 1991, my newly married parents embarked on a journey to this country that would alter the course of their lives. From Argentina, they came with a dining room table and a few suitcases. They had no accumulated wealth, having lost everything they ever earned in one of the multiple financial crises in Argentina.
To this day, members of my family and close friends still hide their money underneath a mattress and display an overall aversion to placing their trust in financial institutions, knowing it just takes one rogue politician take it all away. When I was a teenager, family friends made comments about their aggressive, college savings plans, yet, my parents never got to save for our education. It took a lot of sacrifice and perhaps a little bit of luck to get to this point.
Yet, this is my parent’s story, not mine. I could have used my family’s journey and financial habits to influence my own, but being the millennial that I am, I chose to defy the past, take my family’s experience and not use it to define my own, but to mold it. When I left behind the only thing I knew how to confidently do, go to school, I was faced with the classic “adulting” struggle to manage my own finances. I realized that myself and my fellow millennials are rapidly disrupting society in many ways. Yet, when it comes to our personal financial fitness, we face an uphill battle, slowing down the path to financial independence.
Young adults quickly realize the major life decisions and responsibilities that their degrees, academic institutions, or current occupations did not prepare them for. On a macro level, this stunts our economic growth. Many find themselves ill prepared to find the best car insurance, accumulate good credit, get their own health insurance, or even invest in the stock market.
The concept of being an “adult” so quickly can be a rude awakening for the millions of millennials who finish their degree and are highly educated in textbook materials, but less so with their money.
When millennials first enter the real world, get their first job or move away from their college towns, they turn to a few resources, parents, their gut instinct, and the internet. In that order. All three of these resources are a good place to get circumstantial advice, yet when millennials begin the quest for financial fitness, all three resources can leave people with more questions than answers.
TwentyYoungThings is an app available for iOS and Android designed to facilitate the path to financial fitness by providing a hub of personalized, curated, branded content. The app is simple to use. Users begin by taking an interactive quiz to gauge their level of interest in a particular topic, from repaying loans, managing health insurance benefits, filing taxes, building credit, to investing in the stock market. The results are calculated and a curated list of branded content allows users to begin exploring articles on the topics they chose to learn more about. Users can save articles to access later by creating an account.
Users begin by taking an interactive questionnaire designed to gauge their level of interest or desire to learn more about a particular topic. Users swipe through a total of 12 questions which serve as the foundation from which the results are pulled.
Based on the answers, the app delivers a curated list of articles designed to provide resources for the topics users chose to learn more about through the interactive questionnaire. This list is sectioned off into four categories, insurance, money, planning and investment, to keep the information structured and organized. For those looking to save articles to read later, there is the option to “like” an article, which saves it to your personal account to access later.
Users can create a personal account, which houses all saved articles to access at any time. It also shows a dashboard that shows their level of interest in the four categories (insurance, money, planning and investment). This scaling changes as users redo the questionnaire and seek more content on certain topics over others.
For brands in the financial services industry, TwentyYoungThings provides a clear platform to market to millennials, a demographic this industry finds increasingly difficult to reach due to shifting behavior, media consumption and lack of aspirational appeal of their brand and offering. While Millennials value high quality content, brands need opportunities to add value through content. TwentyYoungThings is a way for brands to increase positive brand perception and start building relationships by giving them simple resources to the people they want to attract. TwentyYoungThings can serve as a starting point to close the learning gap millennials have when they enter the real world and need to be financially independent.
Future iterations of TwentyYoungThings will feature a more robust and detailed questionnaire, and therefore, a more extensive library of branded content. This will lead to an increase in direct brand partnerships. As TwentyYoungThings progresses, there will be more revenue sharing opportunities with brands and opportunities for paying members to access exclusive benefits.
TwentyYoungThings is in the app prototyping phase, made utilizing a prototype building tool called Atomic. One of the main reasons Atomic was chosen to develop TwentyYoungThings is its ability to incorporate animations and human-centered interactions. This feature was perhaps the most critical for TwentyYoungThings to take advantage of, since other tools do not have the capability to add custom animations of objects in the prototype. This feature was used in the interactive quiz, thus enhancing the user experience. Atomic’s simple layout allowed room for quick iterations. Furthermore, Atomic offers free video courses with resources to teach people how to create more compelling designs using the interface. Atomic can be used for free when there is only one project to develop but a paid version is also available for handling multiple projects.
Before the current prototype was developed, TwentyYoungThings was a website, created more as a lifestyle blog that incorporated a much more broad topic selection rather than just personal finance. Through a round of user experience studies, it was clear that a mobile-only platform would be more beneficial to the target user and allow for on-the-go content consumption. According to HubSpot, more Google searches are done on mobile than on computers in the U.S., Japan and 8 other countries and 90% of the time people spend on their phones is spent in apps.
In order to create a better world and life for the future, we must first strive for such a goal ourselves. And as emerging media scholars, it’s on us to push the boundaries of today in order to innovate and create for tomorrow.
Naturally, TwentyYoungThings was born in a mall. Having left behind the only thing I knew how to confidently do, go to school, I was faced with the classic “adulting” struggle to manage my own finances. Now, TwentyYoungThings is the platform that addresses millennial’s need for guidance as we continue to conquer the future.
But, what did I really learn? I’ve been tossing this question around in my head for a long time. Sure, we can all claim that we know how to use Crimson Hexagon and Google Analytics, and have a newfound love of sprints. But as we all discovered what the term “emerging media” really means, I realized that it’s actually not about media at all. It’s about changing the way you think about the world around you. We have the capacity to create something extraordinary, that solves a problem. But just like with this project, you don’t wake up being extraordinary. It’s a tumultuous, confusing, ridiculous, iterative journey.
My journey in emerging media was, in simplest terms, a lot. I faced a rollercoaster of opportunities and changes. But I also gained a true appreciation of the word pivot, the mental construct that cursed me with the constant pursuit of perfection, a group of people I am blessed enough to call my friends and a unique introspection of myself, who I am and what I can achieve.
I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to our professors who pushed us to embrace the unknown and pour everything into this project. I hope we made you proud. I would also like to thank the New Media Institute, Grady College, and of course, the University of Georgia, for being the academic institution that instilled a commitment to greatness in each of us.
To my cohort, remember that everyday is an opportunity to discover unknowns narrowed by perspectives, express our passions and widen our scope. Always remember that our journey started with a simple PDF. My wish for you is simple — stay hungry, go conquer and now, let’s go adult together.
View the prototype here https://app.atomic.io/d/AassKWvLWE29