Editorial Team

What's In Your Financial Stack? Deepak, a 29-Year-Old Engineer from Michigan

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. 

Deepak, a 29-year-old engineer who lives in Michigan, has 11 financial apps on his phone that he uses to invest, send money abroad, keep tabs on his finances, and service his accounts and credit cards. He’s an early adopter fascinated by this Fintech moment. 

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

How many bank accounts do you currently have?

I have accounts at two banks — I have a savings account and a checking account at one bank and only a checking account at the other bank. So, three total.

And what about credit and debit cards?

That’s where the insanity starts! I think I have five or six credit cards total. And then there's two debit cards, but I barely use them.

Which financial apps do you have on your phone?

So, I have one for each bank — one for Chase and one for Michigan Credit Union. That credit union was actually the first bank I got signed up to, because they had a booth right at University of Michigan when I was studying.

I have a couple of cards from Chase, and a checking account. So, I use those bank apps. I also use other credit card apps: Citibank and Discover.

I have the apps for Stash and Acorns, but I open those two very infrequently — maybe once every three months. I also use Wealthfront for savings, and I use Robinhood, which I open three or four times a week. I tried to use Mint to keep a track of everything, but at some point, I stopped because the banks started delinking periodically. It was just too much to take care of, based on what I got from the functionality. 

Beyond that, I used to use Digit, which was for saving money on the side. It's a very, very cool service, but it's become harder for me to afford to save too much now. There's also Xoom, a PayPal service for money transfer, that I use quite a bit to send money to my family in India. 

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

It's hard to estimate because it’s a bit on and off. Right now, I don't actively invest every month. But on average, I used to invest maybe $500 to $1,000 per month.

Would it be helpful to have an account that incorporated auto investing?

Yeah, it would! I've been doing something similar with Stash and Acorns. I've set some targets to invest $1,000 a month through Stash and have it timed so on the first and 14th of every month, I put $10 towards Tesla, $20 towards Netflix, and like 25 other specific investments totaling $5 or so each. But I would prefer something which does that with a robo-investing model. 

At Unifimoney, we’ve made it a priority to have information about your investment and savings net worth front and center when you open the app. With all of the financial apps on your phone, it must be difficult to track your net worth/financial position across every institution/investment platform. 

Yeah, that's true. Like today, if someone asks me how much money I have, I don't know that. I'd have to go to each of these apps, and then add them up. And I've done that few times. 

But, I think that having that in one place would be really helpful. It might reveal something that I may have missed. It's similar to what Mint tried to do, in a way. Where they bring your net savings and your net investments, then subtract all the loans you have taken out to give you an idea of your net worth. That's something that's so hard to know with so many apps.

In talking to you, it’s clear that you’re an early adopter who’s curious about the financial space.What about Fintech and finance is exciting to you, and what are you hoping to achieve by finding the right app or combination of apps? 

What's exciting to me right now is that there are so many of these services coming up like Stash, Acorns, Robinhood, and Unifimoney. When it comes to investing, the question I find most interesting is: how can you bring more people together to co-invest? Whether it's in crypto or metals or stocks, how can the social aspect be incorporated to investing? 

My brother lives in India and I invest for him here in the US sometimes, but it'd be great to have a family investing account where we can invest together. What I mean by adding social to investing isn't like a feed to show strangers your investments — I mean the ability to share with close-proximity social contacts like your family or close circle of friends. I like to chat with my housemate quite a bit about investing, but he has his own account and I have my own account. While we do invest in the same thing sometimes, it would be a step-up in conviction if you have two people investing together with a bigger pool of money. At my last job, one of my colleagues opened up the equivalent of a small investment group with people. They'd physically meet together, pool their money, and talk out the thesis of what to invest in. And then they invested together.

I wonder if there could be some element of that where, from a social standpoint — given that there are so many vehicles to invest in now — people could come together, invite others and make a group of investors online. That's one element I feel is missing. It's all very individualized today. 

The other things I think are important is giving people some transparency into their money and some individualized financial learning, in terms of how they can maximize their savings. Like, if Robinhood could tell me: if you did not sell this stock, you would have had this much, so next time, just be aware of this fact going forward. 

So, I’m hoping for an app or a bank that can help me invest better and learn more applicable lessons about the current financial moment. 

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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.