Editorial Team

What's In Your Financial Stack? A 32-Year-Old Designer and Illustrator From San Francisco

The last decade has been one of disruptive innovation in finance, but it’s also led to a moment where optimizing your personal finance can take 5-10 different accounts and apps. Often, financially conscious millennial and Gen Z consumers invest on Robinhood or M1, robo-invest with Stash, Betterment or Wealthfront, manage student loans with SoFi, and have accounts and credit cards with 2-5 incumbent banks and issuers. There’s never been a better time to get value for money, but it’s become a full-time job to build wealth for many consumers. 

That’s why Unifimoney created an all-in-one account that rebundles the best of fintech and makes saving and investing as effortless as spending. 

Sean, a 32-year-old designer and illustrator from San Francisco, faces a familiar financial challenge that faces many freelancers: as a small business owner, budgeting and personal-financial visibility becomes especially difficult. Sean has tried a handful of apps and accounts, but has yet to find the perfect solution.

We wanted to learn more about how he’s chosen to manage his personal finances in this moment of maximum Fintech, so we asked him: what’s in your financial stack?

How many bank accounts do you currently have?

I just opened one with Ally, and I have one with B of A, and one with Chase. I also use Vanguard, but I don't know if you'd count that as a bank, because that's just an investment account.

And what about credit and debit cards?

I have one debit card, and two credit cards.

And do you use the two cards for different things?

Since the pandemic, I've only been using one credit card. I only really use the debit card when it comes to withdrawing cash and getting gas in those moments when it's still debit-only and you can't use your credit card. But, generally, everything is on credit.

I initially picked Chase for the rewards. I picked it for miles. I can't remember what the perks were exactly, but it was like a decent card with minimal fees.

Which financial apps do you have on your phone right now?

I have Mint. I don't use Splitwise, but I still have the app. I have my B of A app. I have a Chase. And I have Venmo, PayPal and Square.

Did you use Square to charge people for art? 

Yes, exactly. I had a few holiday sales, where I used the little stripe to swipe cards and get payments. That was the only time I actually used that. 

If you had to estimate, how much are you actively investing per month?

I am terrible with my finances, and I've yet to actually jump into regularly investing. But at the moment, I am looking to take a certain amount that I have and start investing.

Would it be helpful to have an account that incorporates auto-investing to help you get started?

I would initially be more comfortable with getting an initial ping like, 'Hey, this is your second monthly reminder to invest' instead of an automatic one. But, of course, the option to automatically invest would be interesting once I get more comfortable.

What features in a bank account or app would be helpful for a 32-year-old designer hoping to invest more?

I'm trying to do better at budgeting, so if there's some sort of a budgeting feature that told me, 'Hey, you earned this much from this employer. You should put this toward retirement via whatever long-term fund and investing.' Having more knowledge and visibility of where your money's going would be helpful.

I've got studio rent to pay for and I'd love an account that helped me plan around that $470 monthly charge. What gigs should I be working to help me reach that goal? 

As a small business owner, it'd be great to be able to easily track if I'm covering my expenses, so maybe a tool to take all of my expenses and visualize them and then have reminders around budgeting and bills.

If an account could continually update what those expenses were and had a way to track them in a separate area, it'd be especially helpful when it comes to tax season, so I wouldn't have to scour through documents or emails. 

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*Important information and disclaimers

The above does NOT constitute an offer, solicitation of an offer, nor advice to buy or sell specific securities. The opinions listed above are not the opinions of Unifimoney Inc. or Unifimoney RIA, Inc. but represent the opinions of independent contributors. These contributors may or may not hold positions in the stocks discussed. Investors should always independently research any stocks listed and form their own opinions, while recognizing that any investments made may lose value, are not bank guaranteed and are not FDIC insured.