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'Demystify And Challenge': Empowerment Through Financial Literacy

Renato Capelj
·3 min read

During the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards, a day of dealmaking, networking, and recognition in the financial technology space, Benzinga reporter Tanzeel Akhtar presented the following discussion on empowerment through financial literacy.

Men, Women Divided: Women tend to be less confident in managing their finances.

That’s according to Jennifer Barrett, the chief education officer at Acorns, who stressed the importance of inclusion through financial literacy initiatives.

“Women are more [leery] of investing in the stock market and they have more concerns whether they’ll have enough money to cover them in retirement,” she said. “I do think we’re starting to see that shift a little, in part, because of some of these products that do make it easier and simpler to invest.”

Rhian Horgan, the founder and CEO at Silvur, said: “Women are underpaid in America, and they also come into retirement with a 25% lower Social Security check, which is really debilitating.”

Awareness: In overcoming the differences present across demographics, speaker Millana Lewis, the co-founder and CEO at Stem, said  businesses must take a leadership role in addressing the issue.

"Our mission as a business is to completely demystify and challenge."

Barrett said seeds of change have been planted and need further nourishment.

Platforms must amp up their efforts around financial literacy, she said. 

“I do think we’re starting to see that shift in part because these products that do make it easier and simpler to invest, offer a lower threshold for entry,” she said in an example that pointed to Acorns' efforts to lure users with intuitiveness and keep them with functionality.

“We get people in the door and help educate them on them on a wide range of topics, and that’s really to improve financial literacy across the board, and improve their financial confidence.”  

Horgan echoed Barrett,  noting that Silvur has worked tirelessly to make its platform inclusive from an appearance and functionality standpoint.

“We knew from the beginning that we had to spend a lot of time on user design because very few people have designed technology for men and women in their 60s,” she said.

“We were leaning heavily into UX from day one ... and through a very inclusive design experience, we’ve been able to create a customer base that’s equally weighted men and women.”

Access: In a conversation about Stem’s platform, which allows creatives to build sustainable businesses in music, Lewis told event listeners that a focus on technology is paramount in allowing for financial diversification.

“People need to keep reinvesting in themselves,” she said. “We have a whole generation of creators that are emerging on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and others that are generating a tremendous amount of money on a monthly basis.”

“What we believe prevents them from maintaining a sustainable business and career is simply they don’t have the right tools.”

According to Horgan and Barrett, the coronavirus pandemic put things into perspective and allowed businesses to hone in on value through access and awareness.

“The pandemic brought home the importance of having money saved,” Barrett said.

“We get people in the door and help educate them on them on a wide range of topics, and that’s really to improve financial literacy across the board, and improve their financial confidence.”

To learn more, visit bzawards.com. Complete results for the Benzinga Fintech Awards, including company profiles and an interactive database, can be found here.

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© 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.