New Money Management Product: Squirrel

Nov 12, 2014
Behavioral Finance, Budgeting, Personal Finance, Savings, Checking Accounts, New Products

This start-up recently won a start-up competition in the UK for their innovative product.

Here’s a link to the description of their app.

Here’s a description of the product from WiredUK:

Squirrel’s cofounder Qubbaj explains that with half the UK population living on £8 a day, and the necessary credit card or pay-day lending debts that spiral out from here, 4 percent of a company’s bottom line can be lost to the kind of stress this puts on an employee. “That’s £120m a year to a company like Tesco,” he told the audience.

Squirrel is designed to take away that anxiety so many people feel, by acting as a total savings, budgeting and bill management tool that’s linked to your employer’s pay roll, helping people save directly from their pay, or get emergency funds straight from accrued wages if in need of a cash injection. The service also helps people automatically switch to the best suppliers to save on bills. The company charges employers a fee, considering the service as an employee benefit.

Have your students read this short article and watch the one-minute pitch video at Financial Times and the first 3-4 minutes of this Bloomberg video to understand how this new money management tool called Squirrel works.

Questions for students:

  • Why do you think Squirrel focuses on company payroll so much with their service?
    • My take:  It is the source of wealth for most people and a great place to automate a savings process.
  • In looking at the main Squirrel functions, how can students copy it in their financial lives?
    • Set up direct deposit for your payroll and “squirrel” away your savings right off the top by designating a percentage to go into a savings (instead of all of it going to checking) account.
    • Comparison shop:  while you may not have the group buying power that Squirrel might have, often you can save by doing your own comparison shopping.
  • Would they use Squirrel?  Why or why not?
    • Hopefully one of the issues that might surface will be around security.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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