Between 65% & 71% of Americans (1) were not getting professional help for their finances in 2020 and that’s not new. This means people are left with a DIY approach which requires a few important things:
- Self-learning: a big part of the DIY financial plan is learning about how the financial world works. Book sales in the personal finance and investing category have grown 43% in 2020 (2) and there are over 2,000 blogs on personal finance out there (3).
- Work: managing one's finances does require a lot of work. Not only do you need to apply your newly gained knowledge, you have to gather the necessary data, compute your results and track your progress; then repeat.
- Discipline: it’s no secret that even though we know what is good for us, we just sometimes don’t have the discipline to follow through. Unfortunately, managing one’s investments requires acting at specific times and skipping those tasks can have material impacts on the bottom line. PFM is not a one-time thing and it requires regular, consistent effort, forever.
This DIY approach also leads to penalizing blindspots, especially when it comes to complex edge cases that are not covered in the general literature.
This begs the question: why not hire a Financial Advisor? We can think of at least 3 reasons:
- Distrust in the financial industry: we have all seen or heard of the devastation caused by the 2008 crisis and how “Wall Street” squeezed people out of their retirements. Since, people probably find it harder than ever to trust banks and advisors with their money.
- Lack of transparency: what is the total cost of hiring an advisor versus doing it by myself? It’s a simple question but surprisingly hard to answer in most cases. If you read the fineprints, there are fees upon fees, terms made discouragingly complex (probably on purpose), to a point where the information gets lost in murky waters where you can’t be sure the advisor’s interests are aligned with yours.
- True Fiduciaries are exclusive: a true fiduciary will not get paid a commission on the products (investments) they make you buy. They usually only get paid a percentage of the money they manage for you, which makes their service impossible to access for people that aren’t wealthy: if you can’t invest enough with them then they don’t make enough money from you and accepting you as a client would be wasting their time...
How about other Personal Finance Management apps out there? We love to see the PFM industry grow and the flurry of apps specialized in helping with budgeting, net worth tracking, etc. However, many are very specialized (do one thing and one only) but more importantly, most monetize their users’ data. For example, one app may look at which saving accounts the user has and will try to sell alternatives (and get paid a commission in the process), or use the free app as a funnel to reel in users and then, based on their net worth, try to upsell them with other products like advisory services... It helps to look at the business model of these apps, how they make money, to realize that although useful, there is a lot to be told about the user’s privacy and ownership of their data.
Surely, there must be another way… I founded Oakify because I wanted to create an app that gave people greater control of their finances without having to give up their financial data. I designed Oakify to give users an accurate real-time view of their finances along with objective guidance and resources to inform better decision-making.
What is Oakify?
Oakify is a financial wellness app for anyone that wants to take control of their finances. Oakify gives members a holistic view of their finances and an intuitive roadmap towards achieving their financial goals. But where Oakify differs from other personal finance tools is in its approach to data privacy: Oakify never accesses or shares a user’s banking, brokerage, or personal data. All financial information on the app remains encrypted end-to-end.
What is end-to-end encryption (E2EE)?
End-to-end encryption is a mathematical guarantee that only our members can access their data. Most apps will have access to their users’ data, if only to store it online. But with end-to-end encryption, the data is encrypted on the users’ devices before being sent to the app’s online storage, which means the app’s developer can’t read or use the data. To know more, read our in-depth explanation of how we implement the highest standard of privacy.
Why is E2EE of financial information important?
When can I try Oakify?
Oakify is currently in beta mode and rapidly adding new features. There will be a Standard (free) and Premium version of the app, which will offer more advanced features and third-party integrations. Right now, all participants in the beta get to use all Premium features for free.
We encourage you to sign up (it’s free!) and start exploring Oakify, we would welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have!
Who is Oakify?
After nearly a decade in finance, I decided to pursue my passion for helping people better manage their finances. Having spent my early years living in countries with massive wealth inequality, I saw first-hand the disparity in financial resources and knowledge available to the average consumer. My vision, therefore, was to create an app that could help anyone - no matter their background or financial literacy - understand their financial situation and make better financial decisions.
Read more about my story.