Ep. #1167 - Transforming Money Management for Couples
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway and Emily Luk, co-founder and CEO of Plenty, talk about transforming money management for couples. Lauren and Emily discuss why it is so difficult for couples to plan financially. Together they emphasize why providing equitable access to financial tools and products is essential. They also discuss how Plenty helps couples and lower-income people manage, plan, and achieve their financial goals.
Covered In This Episode
Money often becomes a source of tension between couples. Plenty can help transform money management for couples from mission impossible to possible.
Listen to Lauren and Emily share their journeys to entrepreneurship and why Emily started a business out of necessity. They agree on how difficult it is for couples to discuss finances and how Plenty can help. Emily emphasizes the importance of equitable access to financial products as the way to empowerment.
Get financial advice and more. Join the conversation in this Startup Hustle episode.
- The startup Emily’s journey (1:23)
- In a constant state of negotiation and communication (4:27)
- Starting a business out of necessity (6:16)
- The difficulty of talking about finances, especially with couples (9:11)
- How Plenty helps solve problems for financially minded couples (14:10)
- Money management for couples (17:32)
- Plenty is intuitive and non-overwhelming to people who might not have financial experience (23:32)
- Empowering partners by engaging them in financial planning and decision-making (24:54)
- The importance of equitable access to financial products (29:41)
- What Plenty offers (30:53)
- The way to financial empowerment (32:23)
- Who does Emily want to have lunch with one person from history (35:21)
When my parents started a business, and when my grandparents started a business, they did so out of necessity. It wasn’t a passion…that was what they needed to do…to make a living. And one thing I grew up with, and my parents reinforced to me, is you are so lucky to be in an environment where you can choose to do whatever you want. So make sure you use that privilege carefully and intentionally. So you think about what are the things you care deeply about and what you could give back to the world.– Emily Luk
Humans in the loop are important and should not be removed from conversation and communication….different things would be more important at different stages of life. [T]he point of Plenty is to help you see everything together so that you can plan around it, which I like, and I have not seen that at any other in any other FinTech tool that I’ve explored quite a lot. So, I like that there’s a very human element to the financial planning process, like, this is what people’s lives usually look like.– Lauren Conaway
We built Plenty not for the people who are already finance whizzes and spreadsheet experts and could go into a trading brokerage account and know immediately what to do. We are about to build and design the whole product from the ground up to be really intuitive and non-overwhelming… that is actually over and over been what we’ve heard from people as a really important foundation…for the first time, they really have a safe place to actually see where they are together. That’s a huge part of what we’ve done.– Emily Luk
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 00:02
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, but Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team, visit FullScale.io. Check the show notes for a link to learn more. All right, friends. So I think that y’all probably know by now that I am really, really interested in empowerment. And I think that people can be empowered in a lot of different ways. But one of the ways that startup founders need to be empowered is financially. And that’s a really, really complicated thing that we’re going to be talking about today with a an expert expert, we’re gonna be talking to Emily Luk, Cofounder and CEO of Plenty. Plenty is a FinTech platform that is helping modern couples invest in plan for their future together. So speaking to that financial empowerment piece, and Emily and I talked about that a little bit in pre show prep. But, Emily, I am so excited to have this conversation with you. Welcome to the show.
Emily Luk 01:11
Thank you so much for having me, Lauren.
Lauren Conaway 01:13
Absolutely. Well, let’s let’s let’s just kick it off. I want to dig into it so that we can talk about more stuff. And I’m just going to ask you, Hey, Emily, tell us about your journey.
Emily Luk 01:23
Thank you. So I think for me, a lot of my journey started off in childhood, I come from a family where my parents started a business together. My grandparents started business together. And so dinnertime conversations, family conversations, it was about hiring and sales and manufacturing and sourcing. And they would ask my brother and I questions about what we would do start from the age of six. So very surreal way to grew up that I now recognize, in hindsight, but for most of my life, the default path was, well, of course, I’m going to start a company, I just need to figure out what the right idea is and what the right thing is. The thing that I would
Lauren Conaway 02:02
literally conversations that you’re having around the dinner table, like if you’re a founder, what would you do in this situation?
Emily Luk 02:09
I align my peers when even asked me, for example, they’d be like, Oh, we have this contract negotiation. This is what happened. This is the circumstance, what would you do? Yeah, we’d weigh in. And in hindsight now, like that’s a very different set of conversations having at the dinner table.
Lauren Conaway 02:26
I love that so much. Because it’s a very low risk, high reward kind of situation that you found yourself. Like you are able to think expansively, you’re able to think beyond your own comfort zone. I mean, I’m sure that you probably didn’t have granular knowledge of every single thing that they were talking about ever. But it becomes an opportunity to brainstorm and ask for feedback and try things out in a very, very safe kind of environment. Right? Yes, exactly. Yes. It’s time to foster that entrepreneurial mindset. I love it so much. Now, one thing that really stuck out stuck out to me as you were talking, and I have to ask this, Emily, I’m so sorry. You have parents who founded a company together, you have grandparents, who founded a company together. What was it like seeing that dynamic and knowing that your loved ones weren’t just, you know, doing the thing, do you in the whole deal at home together, but then he had to like go off to work and exist together? And you’re seeing that, because I imagine that the dynamics would probably be different around the dinner table than they were across the board room table. Right? What was that short thing that?
Emily Luk 03:40
Yeah, well, I mean, I think the thing is, I grew up with that. So that felt very normal, it actually was more strange to meet more friends whose parents didn’t work together and realize that there wasn’t an integration in terms of just different parts of life.
Lauren Conaway 03:55
Like you go off to work, you go off to work, or stay at home, like whatever you’re doing, you’re gonna do your thing. And then we’re gonna come talk about it at the dinner table. But then you have you come from a situation where people are ge, I imagine that you probably had wildly divergent opinions and perspectives, and they have to come together in every aspect of their lives. Yeah, that’s it.
Emily Luk 04:18
Oh, for sure.
Lauren Conaway 04:19
That’s so cool. Very much. I mean, I’m a holiday. No, honestly, I’m I’m like, I don’t even know that. But we could go. Yeah, I mean, I think they work.
Emily Luk 04:27
They are a great team together. And it very much flowed from your conversation of how to raise kids, going to parent teacher interviews, and then closing a sales deal. And that just all flowed and there was so much resiliency, I think, in that structure to where there was a lot of flex, like, one person will support more one part of life, the other person takes turns ,and back and forth. And so that was a lot of what I was used to. My fiance and my cofounder actually also comes from a family where they have tall people who have worked together across four generations than a family law firm. So you can see we both left with this-parent-wise. And we in hindsight, realize that not the experience, or the why.
Lauren Conaway 05:08
Please don’t take this the wrong way. But you were a little bit freakish in that you found so many people who are able to make this work. But I would imagine I’m just gonna, like, throw it out there, I have a theory that you would see people in a constant state of negotiation, communication, like, those are actually all really good values to showcase for a child. You know that that must have been not just an interesting way to grow up, but also a pretty positive one, I would hope. I mean, for sure, yeah. All right. So there, it could have been all that would know that. That is very, very cool. And So, so, let me ask you this. You know, one of the things that plenty focuses on and I imagine, I would think that you focus on and it’s probably part of your lens and your heart, but it’s that couple thing, that dynamic, that constant negotiation, that constant coevolution and learning around science, can you talk to us a little bit about how you came to that, you know, you were put in a position where you’re like, I’m going to start a company, when I figure out the thing, but you figured out the thing. How did you figure it out thing? That’s it.
Emily Luk 06:16
Yeah, no, great question. So I think one of the things that I was always really lucky with is, you know, when my parents started a business, and when my grandparents started a business, they did so out of necessity, it wasn’t a passion, it wasn’t out of notes, thinking about potential impact, it really was, that was what they needed to do, whether that was for immigration status, whether that was, you know, to make a living. And one thing I grew up with and my parents reinforced to me is, you are so lucky to be in an environment where you can choose to do whatever you want, you can choose to build whatever you want. So make sure you use that privilege carefully and intentionally. So you think about what are the things you care deeply about, and what you could give back to the world that was so much a core because my parents had this lens of, you know, they didn’t have the ability to choose whatever they wanted to do. But they wanted to give that to my brother and I. And so kind of fast forward. You know, we I very much had the experience of also seeing from my parents, my parents’ friends, what it was like to be immigrants in a country where you weren’t just familiar with things, especially on the financial planning side, or the wealth management side of things where you don’t have the deep networks, you don’t have the, you know, generations of family, you can fall back on to ask for advice, or people on your family has worked with. So what do you do? So that kernel had always been seated for me because so much of even the opportunity I had been given has been as a consequence of having the financial resources to go to university and not have to worry about things like that, and to go take a lower paying job that ended up being a great opportunity. And so the ability to have the resources has always been incredibly important. Fast forward for the couples side of things. You know, my parents had the structure where, unlike probably many couples in that generation, they were very much equal partners in the business. Now, I watched them support each other in understanding where they were financially, and starting to realize that in my adult years of that wasn’t normal. And that actually, for many people, you only have one person who understands what’s going on, and the other person is completely the dark. That was so shocking. And it’s not that either of that want that situation. Yeah, we started plenty when my fiance and I, we started talking a lot more about how for people building towards wealth, there not great products and tools to affordably help get them there faster. Yeah, unless you’re kind of in that upper echelon of the 1%, where you’re earning hundreds and hundreds of 1000s, you already have hundreds of 1000s built up, if not millions. We started thinking a lot more about that. And when we got engaged, we saw there aren’t any products that are built for the modern day reality of dual career couples. And what don’t fully merged your finances because you want to maintain independence and togetherness.
Lauren Conaway 09:11
Yeah, well, I love that so much I do. I want to take it back. Just a step based on something that I’ve noticed. So you have found yourself in what I would imagine is kind of a a difficult space when it comes to talking about financial wellness and really even talking about finances. I mean, we live in a country where it is difficult for people to talk about the wages that they make with other employees. Incidentally, really quick this is my soapbox, Emily, please forgive me. But it is completely legal for you to have a conversation with another co-worker about wages that is called wage transparency. It is also your rights to inquire about discuss or disclose your own pay. By the way, I just want to throw that out there because so many people seem to not know that. I don’t know, I can’t tell you how many people have come to me and been like, oh, yeah, my department at work, they, they penalize me or they lay in it’s like, no, they, they can’t actually do that. That’s illegal. Don’t let them do that. So that’s setting the stage though. That was my soapbox. But it’s also setting age people feel often, often feel profoundly uncomfortable talking about money. Have you found that? First off, that’s first question. And then the second question is, I’m gonna assume you’re gonna say yes, because I know it’s true. But then I’m gonna say, how do you respond to that? What do you think of that?
Emily Luk 10:38
That’s absolutely true. And we see that so much from one individual or one couple to another couple, or even within a relationship. There is a reason why financial infidelity and financial issues are often at a bigger driver for divorce. Yeah, than actually cheating. That has been proven time and time again. And unfortunate, I think, it’s because we don’t come from a culture where it’s normal to talk about money, and finances, and there’s so much stigma around it.
Lauren Conaway 11:07
Or it seems like it’s not, it’s 10 year, and it’s like, who the fuck cares?
Lauren Conaway 11:13
Lauren Conaway 11:13
I just I have I have feelings around wage equity and transparency. I don’t know if you can tell. Talk about your pay y’all please. This is how we protect ourselves and those around us.
Emily Luk 11:22
Talk about how you’re building wealth, because maybe you could help a friend out. And they can also build wealth faster, too.
Lauren Conaway 11:34
But you’ve chosen to focus not just on like that friends to friend relationship, you’ve chosen to talk about that, that couple relationship. And you already named a couple of late reasons why that is a very, very fraught minefield of stuff that I imagine that you’re gonna have to deal with. Because you have each individual’s like the way that they view finance and the best practices that they and then you mash them together, and you get a legal document behind them. And all of a sudden, you expect them to just cohesively come together. And I would imagine that that doesn’t happen as easily as we like, or assume it does. So what does that processed tends to look like?
Emily Luk 12:13
Yeah, well, I mean, I think one of the things that we saw as a key problem was, there’s, if you look at other FinTech companies in this space, if you look at financial institutions, they’re based on a very archaic model of relationships, where it’s either every single thing is separate, or every single thing is joined. Yeah. And that’s not the reality for how modern couples manage their money anymore. Yeah, the majority of couples who both work, which is now 80% of people who are 25 to 45, by the way. I personally did, both are working. And they, you know, if you think about how they mentioned money, they already are saying, hey, it’s important for me to have some parts that’s mine, and yours and ours, what percentage that is, every single relationship is different. There’s cultural aspects to it, there’s gender dynamics that come out, and every couple is different. And there has not been a product until now that allows you to say, flexibly, oh, actually, you know, for our home downpayment, it feels good for us to be equal partners here, but maybe when it comes to our wedding, like, we had a discussion, and you’re putting in 75%, I’m putting it 25%, or we’re getting help from parents, somewhere. And every single couple is different. Sometimes couples are like, oh, I want to share all our retirement account information. So we can both plan for retirement together and other couples are like, Ah, I don’t think so. Not yet, like, I’m not ready to do that yet. And all of these moments of tension create a difficulty in us having the conversation, which is ultimately, how can we be stronger together? How do we go further together? And so much of this is bringing the information to one place. So two people can really see safely and not feel like they’re oversharing or uncomfortable? Where are they now? Where do they want to go together? Instead of focusing on where they are individually? Allow them to focus on oh, what could we do as a unit as a team?
Lauren Conaway 14:10
Yeah. Well, so that’s really interesting. And you kind of hit on pieces of my next question, you know, Plenty is pulling together in aggregate information. And in really light information is such an empowering thing. Like, in a lot of cases, like that’s all that really needed to happen. You just needed to have that that interconnection and that communication. But so talk specifically about how Plenty brings that data together. Like how does plenty solve problems for financially-minded couples?
Emily Luk 14:43
Yeah. So we start off with say, what are your goals, either individually or together? And we’ve automated a lot of the financial planning process and the conversation you would have with a financial planner, when they sit down with you and they’re like, you want to buy a house? How much is that house? How big of a house do you want? How do you think about your downpayment, we walk you through all the same questions step by step. So we ultimately give you two a goal that you can work towards. Once we have that goal of let’s say, you want to have $80,000 for a house down payment, depending on the market, that might be a couple $100,000 that we say, if you two are investing in this together, we will give you a custom-built investment portfolio. And we’ll also help you understand, actually, this really big, scary daunting number is $200 per week per person, or whatever that number might be for your goal. So, the first portion of it is we’re really focused on helping you towards these goals that we know are what people have around buying a house, having a baby, having a second child, paying for daycare, paying for a home renovation. And then from there, you can also connect all of your existing accounts and flexibly say, Hey, this is a private account. I don’t want my partner to see this. Very, very common for couples to have a private checking account or a private credit card where they’re like, Oh, this is the way that we feel.
Lauren Conaway 16:02
Scenario accounts, right. Yeah, yeah. Like that. Like, for instance, I don’t necessarily want my husband to know how much I spend on that special shampoo that we order. And he knows that I buy it. He is right, know that it’s 30 bucks, a bottle. Exactly. It lasts forever, and it works so good. But he doesn’t need to know all of that. He just needs to know that my hair looks fabulous.
Emily Luk 16:27
And then maybe they have their own thing, right, like that, which is their own subscription to something I don’t know, when I heard words,
Lauren Conaway 16:33
like bring some board games or comic books. I think you know what? I’m just not I don’t need to know. It’s fine. Like, are we broke? No. Can we pay the mortgage? Yeah, we’re good.
Emily Luk 16:43
Yeah, it’s actually I’ll have a lot of like the Esther Perel philosophy of I think the combination of having some mystery in the relationship, but definitely helps keep the growling cheetah vibrant. Yeah, same thing for financial transparency. Well, we found it to be 100% transparency creates more problems than 80 to 90% transparency, where you get to like, trust around about many things. But the expectation isn’t that there’s permissioning require or a review, or even just the need to know about everything. So that’s really how we built and mapped out that product, really, from the perspective of connect all of your accounts, and you can decide what you want to share. You can decide what you consider as yours together versus what’s yours, personally, versus something that’s private. So at least, you too, each have an ability to see all the things that you have at Plenty and beyond individually, and then also together as a partnership.
Lauren Conaway 17:32
Yeah. Well, so that is so that, that is awesome. And I am really fighting the urge to, like, go into the website and sign up for myself and my husband right now. But what if you have all the goals, like, what have you? What if it’s just not feasible to save for all? Because like, you can, you can want to buy a house and want to have a child and want to have a wedding. You can have all three of those desires at the same time while still wanting to retire and maybe travel or whatever it is. So, so how do you? How does Plenty help couples kind of negotiate and navigate these kinds of questions?
Emily Luk 18:11
Yeah, great question. So one of the key parts of our goals-based planning process is we help you understand for you to reach this goal, this is how much money the two of you need to be putting aside roughly per month, in order to, for example, buy a house on this timeline. Yeah, you see a lot of couples do is that the first time they’ve seen that number. Yeah, and there’s a knee jerk reaction, we can do more, or we can’t do that. Maybe we need to bump out when we want to buy the house. Or maybe we want to buy a smaller house. So, you have the ability to plan towards things. And then is also the conversation that we’ve seen couples have so many times, which is, oh, what if we cut down a little bit on this thing here and put more into this thing over there? Yeah. And it gives you the ability to really reason about all these different goals relative to each other. And that’s actually been one of the most incredible parts to see you.
Emily Luk 19:05
So oftentimes when we actually see too, for couples is that they end up having this, oh, actually, maybe our timeline didn’t work out like that. And maybe we’re at this point where the baby’s coming. And we’re also trying to think about that house. And they start playing around the numbers. And they’re like, You know what? Maybe that’s just not realistic. And that’s okay. At least you have that information that we’re just gonna bump the house out. But instead of trying to, instead of feeling like you have to do everything all at once, now you have the information to be like, huh, let’s reset our plans because that’s why and that’s how it works out.
Lauren Conaway 19:05
Because when you’re thinking about the timeline of life, and please know that there is no judgment if your life did not move through this progression, but like typically, it’s wedding house, kids retirement, so like, yeah, kind of a, an intuitive sort of progression, life progression. And, and so yeah, like, different things would be more important at different stages of life. And you would you so the point of Plenty is to help you see everything together, so that you can you can plan around it, which I like and I have not seen that at any other in any other FinTech tool that and I’ve explored quite a lot. So I like that there’s a very human elements to the financial planning process like this is what people’s lives usually look like. And we’re going to help you figure out what that means for you financially. That is very, very cool.
Lauren Conaway 20:32
How do you make God laugh? You make a plan, my baby is Daniele I love that Plenty allows for that changeability. Like I think that’s a really key piece of financial planning, because I think we all have very, like we build out these ideas of what we think we’re saving for, investing for. The fact is, like, in true entrepreneurial fashion, let’s leave a little bit of wiggle room. You know what I mean?
Emily Luk 20:57
Nothing ever happened the way you think it’s gonna happen
Lauren Conaway 20:59
Exactly. Well, so. So I will tell you something else, that does not happen, the way that you think it’s going to happen. Often that software development, finding expert software developers can be really hard, and it always takes longer. And it’s so hard. And I hate doing it. Except when I visit FullScale.io where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Yeah, cuz you’re looking for that reliability that Full Scale brings, that Plenty brings, you know, being able to have access to information that has been historically a little veiled. Things that we don’t want to talk about, think about work about do about. But that’s, I feel like that’s changed. Now. So, Emily, one of the things that we talked about in pre-show prep, friends, Emily was great in pre-show prep, by the way, because she asked me a question that founders don’t normally ask me, and I was very gratified to be asked this question. She asked, what struck you about Plenty, and I was very honest, I was like, actually, Plenty did not strike me it struck our executive producers. However, just didn’t want I know of plenty now. And in talking to you and figuring this out, one of the things that struck me, I immediately thought of the financial equity piece, that’s the lens through which I view the world. And so one of the things that I thought that I was like, you know, when we’re talking about partnerships, often, half of that partnership, or even 100%, of that partnership is going to be female. And we talk about the fact and we’ve talked, I’ve even done interviews on the show with founders who are addressing the issue that sometimes women are socially conditioned, or made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in financial spaces, talking about finances. And so one of the problems that we’re seeing now that the baby boomer generation is aging up, we’re seeing a lot of women whose partners have died, who have no conception of how to budget or even where to send the cable bill, you know, things like like, no idea how much money they have stacked away for retirement. And so I feel like Plenty could be a tool to also help manage that so that we’re no longer left in that situation, are you finding that couples are using it as a, as a kind of a safe plan, safeguard plan?
Emily Luk 23:33
Absolutely. So, one of the things from the very ground up. We built Plenty not for the people who are already finance whizzes and spreadsheet experts and could go into a trading brokerage account and know immediately what to do. We are about built and designed the whole product from ground up to be really intuitive and non-overwhelming to people who might not have had as much experience in finance. And so that is actually over and over been what we’ve heard from people as a really important foundation in order to bring a partner that might ordinarily be more intimidated, not have as much literacy or the education to then engage with the conversation for the first time and say, How much do we have? Where is it? Yeah, do we have enough for retirement? How much do we even have now? We’ve had these conversations about can we afford to do X, I now have a place where I can look at that and see, oh, we’re tracking towards his home renovation, we’re talking about. oh, we actually need to save a little bit more for bigger milestones like sending your kids to college. And for the first time they’re really they have a safe place to actually see where they are together. Yeah, that’s a huge part of what we’ve done. I think one of the things that completely blew my mind as we were building this company is if you talk to people who are widowed, or divorced days, especially with with people who unexpectedly have been widowed, it’s unfair Fortunately, this data only exists generally for heterosexual relationship at this time, what we’ve seen is for ladies, 95% of them urge other women to be more involved in their finances, because they found themselves blindsided. On the other side of it. They didn’t even know where the money was or how much they had. And if you also think about that, actually, that same study said that when both partners participate, to even understand and you don’t need to be equal on this, you just have to be part of the conversation around you’re seeing what’s going on. But what we found is 90% of people said they felt less stress afterward, because ragga saw longer. Okay, we changed or they were like, I understand where we are, I don’t have this vague anxiety over Assam, like foreboding that we might not have enough, or I don’t know what we have, or where is it?
Lauren Conaway 25:54
Yeah. See, that’s why like, sue my husband, he handles most of our finances. But with the caveat that like, I’ve been very clear with him, like, there was a period of time, and it was right around the time that InnovateHer was getting started. And I mean, even relatively recently, but like, as a startup, as a founder, like, I feel a lot of stress, and a lot of that comes from the financial pieces of things, like, are we going to, am I going to be able to pay myself this month? That’s a pretty stressful question. Because if I can’t pay myself, are we going to be able to pay the mortgage? And so he would kind of try to protect me, I think. And he, I think he Yeah, he thought he was protecting my peace. He was like, Look, you know, she’s already got enough to worry about, like, my husband is incredibly supportive. And he very much believes in my intelligence and my ability to grasp concepts. So that’s not it. It’s just the fact that I think he was trying to make my way easier. And I was like, Ah, no, no, no, no, I need to know, you don’t even have to, like have me do anything, but just keep me apprised of what’s going on. Because if I don’t know, I would much rather know something bad than not know anything at all because you can plan for something you had. And so like, I feel, like, Plenty must be such a breath of fresh air to folks who have previously just not really engaged in that way, whether through their by design or by happenstance. Like however it it went down. Just knowing could be the most empowering piece of the puzzle. Right? And I mean, it’s I’m sure that’s what your data is tracking. So talk to us a little bit more about that. I want to hear like you’ve already mentioned the fact that, like, financial abuse, financial withholding, like, these are, these are all really significant problems in relationships. You know, what are some of the other things that you’re seeing before Plenty, like, that couples were experiencing that you’re not seeing now?
Emily Luk 27:50
Yeah, so one of the most incredible things that we’ve been hearing over and over is both that the partner who wasn’t as engaged or didn’t know how to engage, which is so often actually the case, they are now feeling a lot less stress. And they feel like they understand in a way that they didn’t before, where they are financially, which is so much of like the the kind of currency of a buying opportunity to have experiences or to do things. Yeah. Also hearing is that actually also for the partner who use is used to driving a lot of financial decisions. They don’t feel as lonely anymore, they don’t feel like they’re on an island. And there’s all this pressure for them to figure out everything on their own, just because they are a little bit more comfortable with financial decisions or thinking about investing or planning. And so it’s actually a lot more that there’s, for both partners, stress is reduced for very different reasons, but ultimately resulting in feeling like they’re a lot more on the same page and a lot more on a tee.
Lauren Conaway 28:49
Okay, well, and I feel like that, that level of, I guess, satisfaction or empowerment, like that’s gonna lead into some pretty far reaching other relationships that like if you’re feeling more empowered and more in control financially, doesn’t that mean that you might feel more empowered and more in control just in your romantic relationship and your emotional, physical, spiritual, like, it really carries through? Right or? Sure.
Emily Luk 29:20
Absolutely. I think that ties so much to this feeling of connectedness and feeling like you’re building together. Yeah.
Lauren Conaway 29:27
Oh, my gosh, I love that. So So talk to us about the future of Plenty. You know, you are you’re working with customers, you got some traction. What are you seeing coming down the pipeline for Plenty in the future?
Emily Luk 29:41
Well, one of the big drivers for us building Plenty was you know, I’ve spent the last decade of my career Channing similarly in Silicon Valley. And as part of that, you know, we’ve been part of multiple other startups like Stripe and Even that got acquired and home base. And what we saw a lot here in this area where there is so much wealth creation, is that when you already have wealth, you get access to a different quality of service, and a different set of financial products that ultimately result in you building wealth faster. That actually was such an important kernel for us starting to build Plenty because we were like, in terms of your actual your point about equitable access, why don’t more people have access to this? Why is this just restricted? Where if you already have a certain amount of wealth, then you get access to products that help you build wealth faster?
Lauren Conaway 30:36
That seems like such a bizarre way to make money, which is kind of the I guess the saying that goes along with what we’re but the fact is, like, we’re helping the rich get richer. And you’re we’re widening chasms and equity gulfs. And that’s, I don’t like it. Let’s not do that anymore. Okay,
Emily Luk 30:53
I’m gonna. Yeah, I think the world is big enough for everyone and every family to have more. And I think that just leads to a better future. And so no, we started doing that. Because even like our cash management product, it currently is a 4.6% yield, which is higher than pretty much every big bank, you’ll see there. We also offer automated investing. So it’s truly effortless for individuals and couples. But the way that we apply that automated investing, we used a much more advanced way of investing is a strategy called direct indexing that has been around for decades. But historically, you had to work with a wealth manager in order to get access. Yeah, the reason why it’s good is because there’s advanced tax loss harvesting, which can reduce potentially your future taxes. And so what we found is you’re actually just saving taxes that you can pay down the road. Yeah. And we automatically offer that as a core part of the investing process. And that actually really changes because if you’re thinking about, you know, the average household, they’re still predominantly investing, using ETFs, using more basic strategies where they’re actually accruing a tax bill that’s going to come down the road that they might not realize can really add up. Yeah, no, we really were thinking, what are the set of products that we can bring people that you might originally have needed access through a wealth manager, but we can bring access to you started with just a $100 minimum. That’s a really core part of our mission from what we’d like to do.
Lauren Conaway 32:23
Democratizing access. It’s like one of my favorite things in the whole world. So one of the things that we like to do around Startup Hustle, is we like to give actionable advice. So not everybody is part of a couple. Not everybody’s, you know, building a FinTech startups. But what I’m going to ask you give our audience, what are some best practices that our audience members can engage in around financial empowerment, we’re going to generalize it just a little bit. But talk to us about some of the things that you’ve seen Plenty help people do you know, what are some of the tactics that folks can do? So that they can fit? First of all, the first best practice is to go out and sign up for Plenty? There you go. I did it. You can check the show notes. We will pop a logo down there. But definitely check it out if what Emily’s talking about speaks to you. But Emily, beyond signing up for Plenty. What are things that people can do, our founders in our audience can do to feel more empowered in their their financial journey?
Emily Luk 33:24
I think the first and most important thing is just get started and realize that you don’t have to know a lot to invest well. That was actually one of the craziest things I learned. My backgrounds actually as a CPA and a CFA. And in the CFA curriculum, one of the things you learn is professional investors, who work on Wall Street, 80% of them do worse when they are actively trading and managing money than people who just invest in the market, step away and just let the money grow. And I think so, oftentimes, when we talk to people, they’re like, oh, I don’t know enough about stocks. I don’t know enough about investing. So, maybe it’s better that I just don’t get started now. And I wait until I know enough. A key thing for what we do is we basically make it a couple of button click where we put you into portfolio and just get started. We have seen so many light bulbs go off when people even just move their first $100 or first $1,000. And there’s almost this thought, they’re like, am I investing now? It’s like yeah, yeah, you are. And I love that easy. You don’t know when
Lauren Conaway 34:26
You’re investing for the first penny, but one of the like, one of the things that I love to see and like one of the things that I love to do is feel because the fact is like you can be where you’re at two years from now or you can be on an investment journey. But I love it when I like take the hidden money for myself like the money that I never expected to get, you know, just like random holiday windfalls and stuff like that. I’m just like, get it out, get it away for me. I don’t want to spend it. I would put it right into like a seat whatever it is like whenever investment strategy is of the moment I did I avoided NFTs, but, you know, like figuring out I did do money, because it gives us it’s like, that’s the money that doesn’t even hurt me. You know, it’s like the 50 bucks a month here or there. But it adds up. And I mean, the fact is like, if you do that consistently and to your point, just let that money do what it does. Let that money grow. That can be a really, really powerful thing, a really, really great way to take charge of your financial future, right? Yeah, I love it.
Emily Luk 35:26
You have to spend hours reading in order to figure it out. It’s just getting started.
Lauren Conaway 35:31
Exactly. Right. Exactly. Right. Well, so this has been wonderful. But I do have I have a human question for you, Emily. And it’s it’s a dumb question that has nothing to do with anything at all. It is the last question that I will ask you. But I’m going to ask you, if you could have lunch with one person from history, who would it be?
Emily Luk 35:54
So, I am a major history dork and probably in my next chapter, at some point, will go back to school and do a master’s in history potentially important because I love that city. Probably the person that I would love to be one to have lunch with. There’s Queen Elizabeth I because she is just such a badass she should really is there’s that epic speech about the heart of a king and the lion that I learned but I think one of the things that for me has always really resonated with her part that just going against the grain. She was the first female to lead a country and that way at a time was so lucky and she never married lay and people die very.
Lauren Conaway 36:39
For those political alliances. I love Queen Elizabeth. I actually like I do a lot of reading around the Tudor monarchy. But Elizabeth the first was super super impressive. Her her the beginning of her reign was marked by a lot of piddle political strife and in lead gen ed and like it was terrible. That’s where Bloody Mary comes from. And like, the poor tutored like, all of them, tutor lady has got the short end of the stick but Elizabeth the First she she came forward and she she created library systems and welfare systems, who then brought about this very historic golden age by it within many.
Emily Luk 37:18
And she encouraged collaboration with other countries sciences that really led to a global trade network solidifying
Lauren Conaway 37:26
exactly right and and a lot of people they don’t like I think I feel like her story so often gets overshadowed by all the beheadings and like daddy’s issues, of which he had many. Like, I do feel like people often forget that, like she, she emerged victorious. And I’m not gonna argue about the methods that she or her brother in use to get there. But I am gonna say that once she was instituted on a throne, she stuck there for a while. So she was politically savvy enough to reign for 50 years. And she brought him out a lot of social political, cultural change with it like Goodship positive change, you know, so I love that answer. I have thoroughly enjoyed our time together. Emily, you are you are a delight. And you know you made talking about finance fun, which I’m not I’m not going to lie I did not expect
Emily Luk 38:21
Thank you so much for having me, Lauren. I really appreciate it.
Lauren Conaway 38:24
All right, friends, and thank you so much for giving us a listen, I one more time, I just want to shout. Shout out Full Scale, they are incredible. If you need to hire software engineers, testers or leaders Full Scale can help. They have the people on the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io. All you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers and leaders. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io or check the show notes. And friends, keep on coming back. I’m going to point you to Founder Fridays with Frank. I don’t know if y’all know this, but all of your Startup Hustle hosts including myself, Andrew Morgans, Matt Watson, and Matt DeCoursey. Did a series where we talked about building culture within our company, as in all of our companies are very different culturally, you know, but we had a conversation with Frank Keck, who is a culture leader, that’s his job. He helps he goes into companies and he helps them figure out how to make their culture stronger, more cohesive. And we had a bunch of conversations. So I’m going to ask you if you want to listen to our Startup Hustle episodes, start with Founder Fridays with Frank because he just does asks really great questions. He did a great job leading these conversations. And I’m of course gonna invite you to keep on coming back. Dear listeners, we just love that you visit us week after week they spend time with us. Let us know your thoughts what you want to hear because we are here for you. But continue to keep coming back and we will catch you next time.