Tynah Matembe and Helene Rodger, the co-founders of MoneyMatiX, have launched a new app that aims to teach young people financial capability and how to make better financial choices. Using gamification, the app offers financial health checks, budget planning, and financial profiles.
Between them, they command extensive experience in financial services, youth work and mental health, and are Saltire Fellows. Alongside their work on MoneyMatiX, a programme that strives to educate children about money, they also run an organisation called passion4fusion.
Their previous work includes supporting young people who were taking on heavy first-line financial responsibilities within their home due to their parents’ language barrier. Matembe and Rodger explain that within their community, many of the children they encountered had been put in a position where they had to make complex financial decisions and many of them were financially illiterate.
Matembe says: “We wanted to show and explain to these young children, who are already financially active, the journey of money. Just throwing money into a piggy bank and then spending it all in one go isn’t a good way to handle money. We wanted to get them to think long-term and plan their budgets accordingly – for example, when choosing a phone provider don’t base your choice on the coolest phone model.
“We teach them how to pick a broadband provider that will not stretch the family budget. Many of these children have to go as translators and speak on behalf of their parents to make financial transactions – for example, to pay rent at the rent office. What we do is try to teach them the terminologies and help them understand the situation so they can better explain it to their parents.”
Rodger emphasises that they are not just looking to help ethnic communities, but instead aim to target children across the board as financial literacy is a global problem. However, these encounters within their own community were the main reasons that led the pair to develop the MoneyMatiX app.
Financial Literary is a Real Problem
Matembe explains that the app does not just target youth education but also strives to educate adults too. “Lack of financial capability is a global problem with 1 in 4 adults suffering from financial related stress which negatively impacts on family life and work productivity,” she says.
“Children in the UK receive approximately £2.7 billion a year without guidance because 50% of parents and teachers do not have the confidence to teach financial education. We have set out to change this and we are on a mission to give people back control of their finance.”
Rodger says: “When we were working with the children it became clear that the adults were not financially savvy either. If they don’t have this knowledge, then how can they pass financial sense on to their children. Kids and young people need financial role models within the family whom they can look up to.
“Our app is going to be a family product, it encourages the adults and children to work together by doing savings challenges and to set attainable goals. We are trying to make the management of personal finance less isolated and make it available for both the parent and the child.
“We want to provide them with a conversation starter that challenges this notion that you shouldn’t talk about money. This dialogue will also help prepare the child for when they leave home so they can take care of their own finances.”
MoneyMatiX to Host Kidpreneurial Hackathon
MoneyMatiX is set to hold its two-day Kidrepreneurial Hackathon this November at Edinburgh University’s Business School – which is open to young people between the ages of 10 and 18.
The purpose of the hackathon is to help foster positive, healthy financial habits and capabilities in younger generations.
Stephen Ingledew, CEO of FinTech Scotland, will join the panel of judges alongside Geoff Leask, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Scotland and Tina Harrison Assistant Principal, University of Edinburgh.
Ingledew said of his role as a judge: “I am absolutely delighted for the opportunity to be involved with the MoneyMatiX hackathon. I am really looking forward to taking part, but I know it will be hard because there will be so many innovative ideas.
“I think the hackathon is a terrific opportunity to hear from young people about the way in which they want to engage with money in the future. Young people always have new and tremendously exciting insights that be hugely valuable in the way we develop our technology and financial services moving forward.”