Your personal finances are important. This is, hopefully, a fairly obvious statement. And as obvious a statement as it is, many Americans know very little about their finances. One particular group, millennials, apparently have a very bad understanding of what it means to budget money. And in the 21st century, the best way to reach millennials is through the technology that they seem to use every waking moment of their lives. One startup, Acorns, is looking to help the millennial generation understand their finances in a big way.
Formed in 2012 by Jeff and Walter Cruttenden, Acorns is a micro investment financing application that makes investing incredibly simple. Users add their credit card to the account, spend money like they normally would, and Acorns will take any spare change and invest it into worthwhile stocks. It is an ingenious idea that is being called the way to invest for millennials. And with over 1.3 million accounts, Acorns is becoming extremely popular.
Another large portion of Acorns’ mission is teaching financial literacy. According to a report from Acorns themselves, after conducting a survey of almost 2,000 millennial respondents, the lack of financial knowledge and budgeting is surprising. Of those surveyed, a whopping 73 percent do not have a budget, and with so many millennials either in debt or severely worried about it (Acorns’ survey shows that debt is the top concern for 40 percent of millennials), they must be educated on how to effectively manage a budget, as well as other personal finance aspects.
This is where Acorns’ goal for teaching financial literacy steps in. The investment company just recently launched a separate service titled Grow in which users can learn a bit more about personal finance techniques. The service, which is available through the main Acorns application, publishes content on financial literacy ranging anywhere from interviews with successful celebrities and financial gurus to in-depth “how-tos” on budgeting, taxes, investing, etc. Acorn CEO Noah Kerner, when asked about the results of the survey, was very adamant about the need for financial literacy, stating, “These numbers are staggering. I don’t accept that our schools think it’s okay to teach about sex but not money. We won’t sleep until we change the problem.”
Acorns is trying to change the way investing is done and taught. As the company continues to grow, hopefully they can reach their goal and improve financial literacy in millennials.