The story of how Pocketnest, the financial wellness app, leveraged language, approachability and pure value to reach the masses.
We knew when creating Pocketnest, the ﬁnancial wellness app that exists to bring ﬁnancial wellness to the masses, that we wanted to be different from all other ﬁntech platforms. For one, we offer comprehensive ﬁnancial planning services—something we think other ﬁntechs do not do well, and something ﬁnancial institutions struggle to do at scale. And secondly, we wanted to be approachable and “speak millennial”—something far fewer brands and large ﬁnancial institutions do really well.
Why focus on millennials? Well, let’s take it from the top.
Jessica Willis, founder and CEO of Pocketnest has 20+ years of experience in the ﬁnancial industry. As a certiﬁed ﬁnancial planner and certiﬁed private wealth advisor, she has co-managed a billion dollars of private wealth. And saw a lot of trends in the industry.
Most notably, she watched her industry evolve as ﬁntech platforms ﬂooded the market. This evolution has been incredible, but it leaves major gaps for the largest underserved demographic—millennials and genX:
- 8% of millennials demonstrate high ﬁnancial literacy1
- 81% carry long-term debt1
- ~25% demonstrate basic ﬁnancial knowledge1
Meanwhile, the ﬁnancial industry is still trying to adapt to the digital demands of the nextgen consumer:
- 86% of ﬁnancial advisors ignore genX and millennials2
- 43% of millennials say their ﬁnancial institution doesn’t communicate with them through their preferred channel3
- 98% of millennials would ﬁre their parents’ advisor upon inheritance due to lack of tech and relationship4
Saddled with debt and lacking basic ﬁnancial knowledge, genx and millenials are approaching their prime earnings and savings years without sufﬁcient preparation. The industry expecting to serve them is seeking tech to modernize their traditional practice and ways to move downstream from their investment portfolio minimums.
Faced with this enormous whitespace opportunity, we developed Pocketnest to remedy this brewing ﬁnancial crisis for ﬁnancial institutions and the next generation of consumers they expect—and, frankly, must learn—to serve. By revolutionizing an industry that’s been historically for the elite, Pocketnest makes comprehensive ﬁnancial wellness accessible to everyone through a scalable and approachable digital platform.
Building a disruptor brand
Willis knew that the personal ﬁnancial planning industry was ripe for disruption. And she knew it was a precarious situation to introduce yet another ﬁntech app to millennials and gen Xers who were already skeptical of ﬁnancial institutions.
That’s why our brand positioning was critical—not just in our marketing content, but throughout the entire app experience and user journey with our content. Despite the fact that many of our users feel like their ﬁnances are in good shape, they still lie awake at night knowing they’re missing something. And, born and raised in the digital era having less trust and expecting more transparency from brands, we knew we had to tread lightly.
- Millennials and gen Xers don’t want to be sold to; they can sniff out an ad or shameless product push faster than you can say “Kardashian.”
- They don’t want to be talked down to; they’re the do-it-yourself generations that would rather watch a YouTube video on how to ﬁx the washing machine than call a plumber.
- They’re reaching for help in all the wrong places; if you can believe it, 67 percent of millennials get their ﬁnancial advice from Facebook and Twitter.
- They’re busy! Millennials and gen Xers have young children, jobs, spouses—and they certainly don’t have time to waste in a sales pitch or 90-minute quarterly meeting.
Knowing these key facts, we knew we had to bring content, trust and value over product sales; be approachable and readily available; be efﬁcient; and give them the tools to be able to both educate themselves and get shit done.
Our product is built on education. If millennials and gen Xers need ﬁnancial education, then we will be the app to do just that. But the buck doesn’t stop there. We know ﬁnancial wellness includes education but, to put it crudely, it also includes getting shit done.
Built on behavioral science and psychology, Pocketnest gets to know each user—what makes them tick, what motivates them, what scares them. Then, we coach them through all ten themes of ﬁnancial wellness, including: assembling a net worth snapshot, budget, debt, insurance, retirement, investments, income tax planning, estate planning, college savings plans, and an annual review.
Language that makes all the difference
We’re working with a short attention span, here. Not only do young people's eyes glaze over when you start using ﬁnancial jargon and sales-y buzzwords, but they’re busy! That’s why our voice is purposely approachable, chill, and easy to understand.
Sure, we throw terms like “asset allocation” and “risk tolerance” around, but we bring things down to the ground level where folks who aren’t (self-proclaimed) ﬁnance nerds can digest and act on. We want to be the wise older sibling who shares good advice—not the totally unconnected and irrelevant grandfather who just doesn’t “get it” and drones on relentlessly.
Cue our approach. We use a gamiﬁed, almost-addictive approach to draw users into the app to keep their ﬁnancial plan up to date. With push notiﬁcations, emails, badges, comparisons to other folks in similar situations, and timely and customized advice, we’re teaching people to build their own ﬁnancial plan.
And, we only work in small, bite-sized pieces. In only three minutes a week, users can create—and stick to—a comprehensive ﬁnancial plan. We settled on three minutes, as we see our users taking a pause between Netﬂix episodes to tackle their plan.
Rather than make it a “thing,” we want ﬁnancial conversations and planning to be built into daily life.
Bringing the (brilliant) tech to market
Before Pocketnest, providing comprehensive ﬁnancial planning that’s cost-effective to providers and at a scale to reach the masses was unthinkable. Unlike algorithmic trading platforms and robo advisors that primarily address a portion of personal ﬁnance (like trading or microsavings), Pocketnest addresses all areas of ﬁnancial wellness. And, to help traditional advisors who lack a digital experience—Pocketnest was built by and for the next generation of consumers.
We’re not competing with ﬁnancial institutions. We work for them.
Pocketnest licenses its software to ﬁnancial institutions and employee wellness programs to help people access ﬁnancial wellness through deeper relationships with their ﬁnancial institutions. Pocketnest helps banks, credit unions, wealth advisors, beneﬁt providers, and the like, reach more people, educate and qualify leads faster, and boost cross-sell opportunities—all while helping their customers achieve ﬁnancial wellness. We help employers boost recruitment, productivity and retention efforts, while helping them offer employees better, more comprehensive employee beneﬁts.
The future of finance
Pocketnest is turning the ﬁnancial industry on its head, using brilliant tech, hardwork and insightful innovation to bring incredible value to all stakeholders.
Interested in learning more? Download the Financial Faces of the Millennial infographic or the 5 Ways Fintech Is Revolutionizing the Wellness Industry white paper.
1 Price Waterhouse Coopers, “Millennials & Financial Literacy— The Struggle with Personal Finance,” 2017
2 Financial Advisor Magazine, ”More Younger Millennials Emerge.” 2017
3 FICO Millennial Insights Report, 2017
4 PriceWaterhouseCoopers Global Private Banking/Wealth Management Survey
Ashleigh Craven is the Chief Marketing Officer of Pocketnest, a financial wellness app that coaches millennials and gen-xers through holistic financial wellness using its data-driven approach. The company licenses its software to financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, advisors and benefit providers, helping them to more deeply connect with a younger audience, identify cross-sell opportunities, and serve 16X more people.