There are 83.1 million millennials in the United States coming into adulthood. This is an exciting period of their lives, but there is one big area that a lot of them struggle with - MONEY
We surveyed 80 millennials and conducted 7 interviews to understand their relationship with money, and how they felt about the existing financial system.
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. 45% of millennials report feeling chronically stressed about money.
According to recent studies, people save 50% more for retirement when they look at an aged picture of themselves.
Piecing it together
Based on the insights we got from our research, we put together several different ideas. 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.
Understanding their emotions
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.
Exploring various concepts
We created a few concepts that would encourage people to talk about money in social and private settings. Some concepts that didn't make the cut - a wall art that would show financial status in a thoughtful way with provocating questions, another idea was to create a sorority platform where experienced people would give financial mentorship to millennials. Lastly, we experimented the conversational AI bot that would give a clear picture of the future and help people save better for it.
We started our first prototype by SMS texting. We asked them to record that day's expenses for us. The next morning we messaged them with a summary of their expenses of the previous day. Additionally, we provoked them to ask us questions like "where's the nearest cheap coffee?" or "how did I do on my budget this month?". This made them feel comfortable to ask us questions.
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 with more visuals. Guided responses instead of manual responses, and hacks to save money.
Stash sets user goal using conversational UI. Goal is identified, resulting in preview, and suggesting an estimated amount needed to achieve the goal. User can click on preview card or top right goal icon, to go to it full page, from where the user can edit goal, see how far they've come in their journey and how much more saving they need to accomplish goal.
The user gets a summary of how is she doing on her budget by comparing her set daily budget versus spent. This helps keep the user focused and aware.
Details gives the detailed summary on the expenses made by the user. Recommended gives tips and recommendation on how to not overspend and keep on track.
User recieves smart recommendations/hacks/tops on how to save better. Example: "I see you have spent $30 on coffee last week, if you made it at home instead, you can save it towards your goal. Here's is a video on how to make it at home in simple steps."
Stash has transactional data of the user and it makes smart use of it. When it sees a pattern of expenses, it gives smart recommendations based on that. Stash also learns user's preferences and likes/dislikes.
We presented the prototype to the product team at JP Morgan Chase in New York where we received amazing feedback to further refine it as well as agreed to the feasibility of the concept.