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Look Forward With Finance, Not Backward

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

A lot of kids have graduated from college in the past months. Now that the graduation speeches have been given, the real world beckons. Many have graduated with a lot of student debt. All graduated into a very uncertain economic environment. It’s tough to get any job, let alone a good one.
There are some that found jobs, and they are beginning to work.

When I graduated from college in 1984, I finished in early May, and by the end of May was in St. Paul, Minnesota learning the finer points of the autobody and repair shop business. I suspect while many things have changed, companies enrolling their new employees into programs soon after graduation has not.

Both high school and college can prepare you for a lot of things. My friends that chose not to go to college took jobs in construction that they apprenticed for. When I was graduating, they were moving up the ladder too. All of a sudden, we had paychecks. A consistent flow of money that we earned and could count on.

But schools don’t teach you the finer points of managing that paycheck. It’s all sort of random. How much to put here, how much to save here, what about a vacation or retirement? How about my student loans? Rent? Utilities? Oh my gosh, I have to buy a car! Panic and anxiety can set in. You are afraid you’ll make bad decisions.

I empathize with those people just starting out and trying to figure it out. Because of technology, there is a better way to manage all that. Smarteys is a company you ought to check out. They figure out all that stuff for you.

Most of the applications I see out there like Mint look backwards. They are accounting based programs. Smarteys is different. Smarteys does the important stuff for you by helping you navigate your life looking forward. After all, it’s the uncertainty of what’s ahead that trips everyone up. Everyone already knows the path they took to get there.

Smarteys is a Chicago based start up run by two women that happen to be minorities. A lot of people in the start up world worry that there aren’t enough women or minorities entering it, but Adrissha and Charisse took the plunge. Not only is Smarteys a financial trailblazer for individuals, but the founders are trailblazers in their own right.

Like all lean start ups, they started with an idea, then iterated and iterated to where they are today. The more users they get, the more feedback they will get to keep making Smarteys better. It’s been fun to watch the process.

They have a pretty good advisory board, including Richard Thaler. Like all those new college grads, they are just starting out. It will be great to enjoy the ride on their coattails to see where they take us. Why don’t you sign up and take it with them?

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