Helping millennials understand how monetary decisions they make today impact their future

Made by Amy Ashida Sejal Kotak Young Jang

There are 83.1M millennials in the United States, coming into adulthood, including myself. We are starting careers, taking out student loans, pursuing goals, buying cars, houses, getting married, and starting families. This is an exciting period in our lives, but there is one big area that a lot of us struggle with - Money. It is easy to spend but hard to understand.

Many of us came of age during the recent recession. We saw the ugly side of credit and learned that things aren't always stable. We know the importance of saving, but have a hard time actually doing it.

We took this opportunity to give something back to many others like us, who face trouble with money almost every day. We collaborated with Wilbert Gutierrez and Melora Zaner from Chase Bank to understand how millennials interact with the bank, both online and offline. In addition to reports from Chase, Stanford, Pew, Forbes, Edelman and many others, we went out and surveyed 80 millennials and interviewed around 7 millennials to see how they felt about money.

While many of them did feel confident, there was definitely an underlying theme of feeling overwhelmed. Even those that did feel in control reported putting in a lot of effort to get there. When we asked millennials about their saving and spending habits, these struggles became even more apparent. One in four respondents admitted to overspending regularly and feeling nervous to even look at their bank accounts. And that is mainly because they hadn't kept track of their spending and were afraid of what they would see. As a result, they put off checking their accounts to just once a week or less. This cycle exacerbated their struggles with saving for the future. With the knowledge of how important saving is, but struggling to actually save, came a huge amount of stress.

Based on the insights we got from our research, we put together several different ideas. From an interactive piece of art a user could hang on their wall, to to a financial accountability "sorority" platform. For starters, we focused on getting millennials to talk to each other either in person or online about money. After getting feedback from our classmates and our friends we realized that although millennials wanted to learn more they didn't really want to talk about it with others. As a result we took a step back to better understand how we wanted our users to feel when they interacted with our product.

We wanted our users to feel healthy, happy, and confident about their relationship with money, and our app to be personal, intelligent, and friendly.

We went ahead and focused on a conversational UI that helps people understand their spending habits and how they affect their future. From the feedback that we received on our prototype, we learned that millennials liked the conversational UI, however, they needed something that was less text and more visual, guided responses instead of typing back every word, and hacks to save money.

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