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Over our four years processing millions of financial transactions and being the actual form of payment for tens of thousands of customers, we learned a lot about how retirees spend money and where that money was coming from. Once you’re retired, budgeting and investing are tied closely together. Your savings aren't an abstraction for the distant future – they’re how bills are paid. To help our customers with budgeting, we needed to understand their investing. The closer we looked, the more we found that the financial advice retired folks were getting was often sales-driven or hunch-based rather than service-driven and objective. Most of our customers didn't know how much they were paying in fees and what they were getting in return, how the investment option recommended for them correlated with their personal needs, or what other strategies had been analyzed and what tradeoffs were considered. So, we built the financial advisor we wish our own families had … and now, for what its worth, our families do have it – we're investing our folks' retirement savings right alongside yours. We've been in beta for the past year with several hundred clients here in California and are now opening it to the public for the first time today. Four easy questions to get started, the tool will generate a broad range of realistic options, and if you like you can hire us to invest the money and if not, we'll do as much as we can to help you do it yourself. Eager for your comments and feedback!
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@kai_stinchcombe I very much admire how you're addressing a market (retirees) that isn't front and center for much of the tech industry. Congrats! Any insights/findings in how you've shaped the "tech" side of your product to a stereotypically "non-tech" generation?
@jazic Great question! Here's one major way: Our service is a hybrid model so every customer has access not just to our technology and investing algorithms but also to a human advisor that implements their plan and is there for them when they need it. We've found this generation wants to use technology, it's just that they want to use it to make humans smarter and more effective, not to replace them.
@jazic We also focused on getting good at phones – a lot of tech companies (and banks actually) push you to do it yourself online with long lines at outsourced call centers. We do it all in house and handle over a million customer support calls a year. You'd never outsource your website or tech stack because you care about it… blows my mind that people would outsource answering the phone, or the tech stack that supports phone service.
Great technology @kai_stinchcombe . I really love the concept. Have you ever considered expanding your services with a co-browsing solution? By using co-browsing you will be able to walk through customers' plan and help them meet their retirement goals.
Retirees really do need a wealthfront or personal capital like product – it's a different use case so it has to be built differently, but the principles are the same. I've known Truelink for almost half a decade now and you'd be hard pressed to find founders with more grit. They deeply understand this problem as well as the audience they're serving. And while it's not a hot social app for tweens, it is solving a real problem that deeply matters to a lot of people (and their children who want to know their parents are getting good financial guidance + planning). I'm proud to back truelink because it's not only going to be a great business, but it's what the industry desperately needs. People spend their lifetime saving up this money and the Department of Labor estimates that bad financial advice costs retirees $17 billion a year (!!). That could be your parents or grandparents.
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So excited for this - congrats Kai!
Thanks @mwseibel! We couldn't have done it without you (literally)
I love that the team is focused on building products for an undeserved population. Congratulations on an the launch! @claire_mcdonnell and @kai_stinchcombe - can you tell us a bit about the catalyst behind the idea for True Link? PS - I added this to my Female Founders Collection. (Those that are curious Claire is a bad-ass).
@corleyh Both Claire and I had roles in helping with our parents' and grandparents' finances. It started out with looking at how financial institutions could be helping more with protecting retirees from fraud, but it grew from there… the more we got to know our customers and had a window into their financial worlds the more problems we saw that seemed worth solving. I have a whole rant about this on Medium (see below) but that's the short version. PS, isn't she though?? https://medium.com/@kaistinchcom...
@corleyh thank you! And I love this collection.
Great to see technology being used to solve this very real problem. Good luck with the launch @claire_mcdonnell and @kai_stinchcombe
@ems_hodge thanks so much! It's such a pleasure to work on something every day that makes my own family's life better.