Financial literacy has become an increasingly alarming concern for current college students. The thought of having to make important financial decisions after graduation or even during our college careers can be intimidating if we lack adequate financial knowledge to make informed financial choices. Students accumulate unnecessary debt, and are thus unable to develop a progressive savings plan due to expensive loans that we have to pay back after graduation.
A team of Berkeley students, namely Virginia Chung, Shuonan Chen, and Justin Chu, have recognized the need to address this issue, and have thus developed a startup project called Cashify to encourage financial literacy in a fun and engaging manner. Chen, Chu, and Chung began building on their initiative early in the Fall of 2012.
Cashify founders believe that the younger and earlier that students are educated in financial literacy, the higher their chances of avoiding debt and loan burdens in the future. According to the market research conducted by Cashify execs, more than 76% of college students admit that they need assistance with making intelligent financial decisions for complicated financial challenges. Nonetheless, only four U.S. states require personal finance classes in their K-12 education systems. California is not one of them. The Cashify team found this lack of student financial empowerment as an opportunity to make a difference. They are kicking off their financial literacy campaign by first creating an online presence in the Berkeley area.
Cashify provides a cartoon game interface that engages young adults to develop financial literacy in a fun way—because it doesn’t have to be boring! Players start with a central baby cub character that they can educate and grow through 15 different financial literacy levels. Its goal is to empower users to gain the relevant skills involved in making important financial decisions in real life.
Additionally, Cashify also serves as a social platform that allows users to participate in financial Q&A forums for any unanswered financial questions. Young adults can consult Cashify‘s tips of the day, and interact with each other by sharing random financial advice as well. Overall, Cashify is a sustainable business model for instilling students with more-than-sufficient financial knowledge to avoid costly mistakes in the future.
Cashify‘s efforts to improve financial literacy is being supported by:
Alex Filippenko – UC Berkeley Professor of Astronomy, US Professor of the Year
Matthew & Jason Goldman, G2 Insurance Founder & Cal Alum
Mike Hannigan, Give Something Back, President
Marty Glick, Golden State Warriors, CFO
George Zimmer, Men’s Warehouse, Founder & Executive Chairman
David Williams, UC Berkeley Assistant Director of Financial Aid Office
Class of 2014