SAVVI Financial is on a mission to democratize financial advice. That means that they want accurate, fiduciary advice available to the masses. No matter if your net worth is in the negatives or you’ve already crossed into double comma territory, this fintech app wants to help you find financial empowerment.
For this Fintech Spotlight, I sat down with Brian Harrison, the Head of Consumer Product at SAVVI Financial, to learn more about how this tool can offer all of us a convenient financial planning solution.
Whether you choose to use SAVVI Financial or not, you won’t want to miss our conversation about the three simple steps to financial empowerment.
What Are the Three Steps to Financial Empowerment?
From Fintech to no tech to somewhere in between, the three steps to financial empowerment are the same. Work through these three steps to feel more in control of your finances and your future.
Step 1: Get Organized
Brian says that the key to working toward financial empowerment is to get organized. You can use a tool like SAVVI Financial or you can grab a pen and paper. The key is to find a process that works for you.
The objective is to create a record of all of your accounts, your assets, and your liabilities. That means considering mortgages, student loans, credit cards, everything. By gathering all of this information in one place, you can have a better understanding of your current financial position.
Another way to get organized on the road to financial empowerment is to look at your credit report. This is a helpful way to really assess where you are, says Brian. Too often, people start to plan out where they are going without stopping to consider where they currently are.
Some people might prefer to use a piece of fintech that links all of their accounts. Other people prefer to use notebooks or spreadsheets and record the data themselves. The key is to make sure that you are accurate in calculating your net worth. Brian says you have to know how much debt you have before you can start to chip away at it.
Step 2: Track Where Your Money Goes
Call it a budget, call it a spending plan. Whatever name you give it, you want to create a list of what you intend to spend and compare it with what you do spend. Brian says financial empowerment really happens when you develop an awareness of where your money goes.
The purpose isn’t to plunge yourself into a life of austerity. There’s no need to limit your lattes. Instead, you want to make sure that you are being deliberate with the financial trade-offs you make.
To do this, track everything. Many people are aware of what they pay for taxes, healthcare costs, and their mortgage. However, when everything else is lumped into general spending, that’s where you can lose focus on what is truly important.
Keeping records of how you spend your money will allow you to determine if you are using your money effectively. After all, money is a tool to help you achieve what you want in life. Budgeting doesn't have to be painful. Tracking doesn't have to be a chore. Reframe this step as a means to stay in control of your finances so you build the life you want to live.
Step 3: Set Up an Action Plan
The third step of financial empowerment is to build an action plan. You can use a tool like SAVVI Financial or a human advisor. You can also create an action plan on your own or find a group of like-minded people online to help.
In this action plan, you list out what your next steps are. You already know your financial standing, now you create a series of actions that will help you move from where you are to where you want to be. According to Brian, the key is to revisit this action plan often. That is why so many people find platforms and advisors helpful.
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Set SMART Financial Goals to Avoid Mistakes
Brian says that one of the biggest mistakes people make is that they get themselves organized but then they don’t set goals. Luckily, there’s a fix. In fact, if you learn to set SMART financial goals, you can continue to apply them throughout your money journey. As you think about your future, make sure your goals are:
Brian gives the example of someone saying, “I want to be rich.” Technically, that is a goal, but it doesn’t meet the SMART financial goals criteria. What is actually more helpful than saying that you want to be rich is outlining what that actually means.
An added benefit of using a digital platform like SAVVI Financial is that it allows you to get feedback and reminders on your goals.
The Importance of Taking Action
After following the three steps to financial empowerment, you have to take action. Brian compares it to fitness or any other type of new habit you are creating. You can’t just take two steps and stop; you have to keep going.
To help with this, you should prioritize. Of course, priorities are personal. For instance, some people will approach their action plan from the perspective of what makes the most tax sense. Others will let the choices that will spark the most happiness guide them.
In order to keep moving forward, you want to set deadlines. Automating some of your financial decisions can help, too. Brian says that it’s a good idea to set up automation but advises against forgetting about it. Conversely, you want to frequently check in with yourself and your list.
Take things one step at a time, and make sure that you are still moving. Making deliberate decisions like increasing your savings or investing more once you land a raise is a great example of how to keep taking action.
How SAVVI Financial Helps Implement These 3 Steps
SAVVI Financial can help you work toward financial empowerment. The platform is designed with your success in mind.
For many people who are getting started on their financial journeys, the hourly rates of a fiduciary can seem very high or the account minimums are too steep. That is why SAVVI Financial wanted to take what advisors do well and build that into an online tool. Whether your net worth is negative or you are a young millionaire, SAVVI Financial wants to help you feel financially empowered.
Like other fintech tools, SAVVI Financial helps with step one of financial empowerment. It is an efficient and engaging tool that helps you explore your net worth, craft a budget, and see where everything stands. It even pulls data securely from your accounts if you enable it to do so.
What distinguishes SAVVI Financial is that it also allows you to plan the next steps of your journey. When you need advice for what to do with your next dollar, SAVVI offers that. Brian says that SAVVI understands the complexity of where to save and what to save, so it can help users balance their goals. It allows you to create an optimization model with financial empowerment in mind.
Additionally, SAVVI Financial has recently rolled out a coaching aspect. This is perfect for people who want to be able to pick up the phone and get advice. Whether you want the coaching aspect or not, SAVVI Financial is a fintech tool available to everyone. In addition to being available through the workplace, you can also set up an individual account.
Key Takeaways on SAVVI and Financial Empowerment
No matter your other financial goals, wanting financial empowerment is something we all have in common. Feeling in control of your financial decisions is powerful. It can also seem like it would be difficult to achieve.
A tool like SAVVI Financial can have you on your way to financial empowerment. Learn more about the team and the story behind SAVVI Financial at SAVVIFi.com. You can also explore the various plans (including a free version) they have to see how they can push you closer to your financial goals.
What are your current financial goals and how are you achieving them?
Please let us know in the comments below.