Dear readers, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading up about personal finance lately and educating myself as much as possible. I’ve been asking myself whether personal finance education should be mandatory in schools, especially since it affects my children’s future.  I would love to hear your take on that for this week’s discussion topic.

A quick check-in

Word of the week: Overburdened This week has been quite slow, which I think is normal after spending the last 6 weeks in lockdown. However, I noticed I also spent long hours behind the screen, which I should try to correct asap. I also started on a side project to document and share my personal wealth journey. I want to experience the journey others went through and share my findings with anyone interested. I may decide to share this with you at some stage, but at the moment, the account is anonymous.

Something I’ve been thinking about this week – personal finance education is not equitable

There’s a saying that goes, “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.” I think that to be more appropriate if we say, “The educated get richer, and the uneducated get poorer.” This week, a friend I spoke to told me he had not received any formal education about personal finances until his first year at university at age 20. Another friend of mine, who is almost 30, still had not received any education about personal finance. It’s easy to think that everyone knows how money works, just because we use it every day. But it’s surprising how little people know and the lack of education about personal finances in general. I still am disappointed by how little they teach you about this in school. This got me thinking about our FinTech startup community and how fragmented and unorganised it is. We have many tech and finance enthusiasts, but there are limited educational resources/groups to help beginners. I’ll be dedicating some of my time to work on this – trying to change the landscape of personal finance education in Australia and later beyond. I’m starting small and slow by first building my own knowledge. My side project of the week: Personal finance education and tracking

Afterpay acquired by Square

This week has many payments related news, and as we are on the topic of finance and startups, I have to turn you to the attention of Square’s Afterpay $29 billion USD ($39 billion AUD) acquisition. I’m not surprised by the acquisition. Square did an outstanding job in getting into offline merchants with its easy-to-use payment system. They have a lot of reach and already have a strong customer base. While both products have primarily been focused on the small business and retail space, I would love to see their services extend to other areas such as everyday essentials such as bills, groceries and insurances etc., where flexible payments are greatly appreciated. Afterpay has a lot of room to grow its own business as well. Square’s acquisition is more about expanding its customer base and helping to sell Afterpay’s services in new ways than taking over the company itself. Another area where I would love to see these big FinTech players do more is in the financial literacy education space. I would go so far as to say that they have a moral, societal duty to ensure people who are using the product understand the financial implications of their decisions. As a long time user of both company’s products, I do not doubt that Square will improve Afterpay. I’m looking forward to seeing what Square will do with Afterpay and how they integrate their services.

App of the week – WeMoney, a personal wellness app

Since we are on the finance topic, it made sense to recommend a FinTech app for this week’s newsletter. WeMoney is a personal financial wellness app and smart money management platform. It has a personal finance tracker where you can create goals, many of which have financial implications such as “Buying a new house”, “Getting out of debt”, or “Starting my own business”. You can also track your spending by categories, set up recurring budget transfers and view visualisations of how much money you’re saving. I really like that you can connect your bank account, and the app automatically tracks your spending. This makes it much easier to input new transactions, as you need to categorise the transaction and assign a category. I’ve been using it for about 6 months now, and I really like it so far. It’s straightforward, easy to use and does what it says. You can use this link to sign up, and we’ll both get $5, and WeMoney will also plant a tree on our behalf. How good’s that?

To Wrap Up

To sum up, personal finance is not just about how much money we make and own; it also has to do with understanding how the world works and what you need to know to be financially independent. The problem is that these things are not always taught in schools. I’m always thinking about how we can fix these issues. One thing that came to mind was a more active approach in creating FinTech educational resources – be it support fintech startups, sharing finance blogs, or creating side projects to further the community knowledge-base or sponsoring events to learn more. But first, I want to dive deeper into this area and put together a separate article about it – so if you have any thoughts on how we can foster both (FinTech and education in Finance), please let me know! That’s all for this week. If you would like to get in touch, let me know via the contact details below and make sure you come back next week.

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