This Startup is Working to Tackle Financial Illiteracy, One Financial Advisor at a Time

By Akudo McGee 6 Min Read

There have been many attempts to stifle poverty in the tech world. Some of them include generating business in countries with low GDP, or online banks where physical locations are difficult to come by. Recently, it has emerged that increasing economic activity is just one side of solving the poverty problem. In fact, many economists and social scientists believe that a significant factor in eliminating poverty is increasing financial literacy.

When it comes to those living on the poverty line, many do not have bank accounts or understand the details of personal finance, which makes it harder for them to accomplish goals like home ownership and easier for them to be taken advantage of. When it comes to investing, where certain sectors have become exclusive on the basis of income and financial contribution, the poor fear even worse. Financial illiteracy, especially when it comes to investments is not exclusive to the poor, however, many people are not aware of how to invest and feel as if they either have too little to start investing or too little to pay an advisor who can help them with financial advice.

When it comes to investments, even simple terms and concepts can become quite confusing and unwelcoming. A startup called WiseBanyan is looking to change that. Based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, WiseBanyan was established with the goal of creating a free financial advisor that anyone can use.

According to them, investing is a right, not a privilege, and therefore they wanted to ensure that everyone can achieve their fiscal goals without being bound by financial constraints or trapped by their level of financial knowledge.

WiseBanyan makes the same level of investment advisory and services previously only available to the wealthiest clients available to everybody. And due to our sophisticated technology, we can do this for free.

Through their platform, they make recommendations and help users invest and manage a selection of stocks and bonds based on a profile that they create. There is also no minimum that the user has to invest, so they can invest as little or as much as they want and can afford. Users are guided through the process of opening their personal investment, IRA or Roth IRA account and can also receive assistance rolling over their 401(k). Regardless of the amount invested, users never pay a cent for their services.

Self-named the “World’s First Free Financial Advisor,” WiseBanyan offers a robo-advisor service which allows access into typically economically segmented sectors. How do they do it? They have a team of financial and investment experts who have also managed portfolios for organizations and individuals. WiseBanyan’s team became aware that there was a large focus on assets, not clients and that traditionally the investment industry was interested the earning potential of their clients instead of increasing their financial literacy. Their approach benefits all clients by empowering them to invest and not be turned off by fiscal terms or expensive rates to receive consultation or assistance.

WiseBanyan also wants to help users maximize their wealth and get started on their plans early. These plans may include saving for retirement or just learning to trade or buy stocks for companies with ease. The portfolios compiled are well diversified and all user information is monitored 24/7 by WiseBanyan’s security team. The users’ personal information is fully encrypted, stored securely and protected by WiseBanyan’s diverse technology.

They make money by offering what they call "a la carté" products and services. These products and services are personalized to fit their clients who can later decide whether or not they want to opt into paid additional services or continue with the basic services that are always free. This way clients are never charged fees for services they can’t or don’t use. WiseBanyan doesn’t receive commissions for recommending investment funds, nor does their site display adverts to generate income – income is generated on paid programs which can be selected or declined by the user.

Users simply tell WiseBanyan what financial goals they have and what they want to save towards, and WiseBanyan takes it from there. They assist users with building financial plans, managing investments, and becoming financially literate. With the realization that others are being locked out of financial success or planning ahead by lack of knowledge, many companies are attempting to be more inclusive. This inclusivity is managing to fill the gaps between traditional markets and the need of those who have been left out of conservative economic models. WiseBanyan’s true test will be whether or not it can open doors for this forgotten market, and perhaps expand to other financial products.

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