It is fair to say that we don't immediately associate wealth management with millennials, but that doesn't mean younger professionals aren't interested in learning more about money. In fact, when Dani Pascarella landed a high-paying job on Wall Street during the Great Recession, she soon discovered that her peers, drowning in debt and living paycheck-to-paycheck, were in fact interested in money management.
The constant requests from friends for information led Pascarella and her co-founder Korrie Martinez to launch Invibed, a fintech company that provides financial education and early stage Wealth Coaching to young professionals.
Within the past year, the pair has been accepted into an accelerator at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development due in part to the solid advice they give millennial professionals on wealth creation and management. But Pascarella and Martinez caution early-stage founders that too much good advice can be more harmful than helpful.
Project Entrepreneur: What inspired you to start your business?
Pascarella: I graduated in 2009 during the recession. While I lucked out with a high-paying Wall Street job, most of my friends were drowning in debt and living paycheck-to-paycheck; I got a lot of invitations to go out for coffee and answer questions about money! I was totally flattered, but also kind of frustrated. Why wasn't there a better option for young people to get the financial education and advice they needed to successfully manage their money?
That's when I decided to quit my job and start a company that offered quality and affordable financial planning for my friends and other 20- and 30-somethings.
What's been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
Martinez: Not knowing which decisions will benefit our business and which will slow growth is challenging. We're constantly approached with advice and recommendations from everyone we meet. Navigating through information overload, knowing when to pivot and when to keep course is definitely difficult at times.
My advice is to stay true to yourself, but don't hold on to an idea just to justify the work that has been put into it. Sometimes you'll be wrong. Sometimes others will be right. You're not perfect, but not everyone you meet is an expert in what you're doing, so stay objective and always consider the source.
What's been the greatest reward?
Pascarella: Our clients are making huge progress with their finances and every time I get an email or read a Facebook review with newfound confidence or excitement about money, I know the hard work is worth it.
What is the biggest thing you'd like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
Pascarella: Right now a huge gap exists: we need more options in the personal finance space. There are big financial institutions going after wealthy individuals and then [there are] these pretty generic finance apps that just want downloads.
For everyone else-those who need more than a one-size-fits-all budgeting tool but don't have tens of thousands of dollars in liquid assets--there needs to be a place where you can get quality financial education and advice. That's what we're building at InVibed with our Wealth Coaching program.
Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
Martinez: Our entire team really believes in the mission of InVibed, which makes tough moments easier. When that's not enough, we lean on each other. We're a small team, but we're all really good friends. If one of us is having a bad day or feels overwhelmed, someone else will pick up the slack or give some motivational words to lift that person up.
Can you provide a few updates on what's new with your business since you attended the Project Entrepreneur Intensive in April 2017?
Pascarella: InVibed has had big changes and accomplishments since PE Intensive. Probably the most noteworthy update is that we switched to a subscription model so our clients can now work with us for just $39/month. Our biggest accomplishments were being featured on CNN Money and being accepted into NYU Steinhardt's EdTech Accelerator powered by StartEd (which a fellow member of the PE Intensive 2017 class told us about).
What's one piece of advice you'd give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Martinez: Success can be glamorous, but startup life is definitely not. You need to be prepared emotionally, physically and financially to start a company full time. Your personal life is going to come second a lot, you're not going to get too many days off, and you'll often sacrifice paying yourself to keep the business operating. Make sure you're ready and 100 percent passionate about what you're doing before you commit.