In 2022, The Fintech Times posed the question: ‘what sets a ‘fintech for good’ company apart from the rest?’. This year, we wanted to hear directly from global fintechs that align themselves with the ‘fintech for good’ ethos. Why do these companies perceive themselves as agents of positive change in the industry?
Today, we hear from Jay Zigmont, PhD, founder of Childfree Wealth, a company providing financial planning specifically tailored to the needs of childfree and permanently childless individuals.
Introduce Childfree Wealth
Childfree Wealth is a life and financial planning firm dedicated to helping childfree and permanently childless people. We are an advice-only, fee-only, fiduciary that provides comprehensive financial planning.
In order to serve the entire childfree community, we offer a unique self-directed financial planning product that includes a series of assessments, 15 courses, 100 videos, and group Q&As for only $50 per month.
We also offer a one-on-one product for those who have a more complex situation or who can afford a concierge-level service. All of our Childfree Wealth Specialists are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.
Why do you think your company is a ‘fintech for good’?
While a recent study out of Michigan found that 25 per cent of the US is childfree or childless, most financial software, rules, and systems assume people will or do have kids. Childfree people don’t have kids, and aren’t planning on having kids. Their financial needs are completely different than parents. In serving the childfree community, we are providing resources and education to an underrepresented and often misunderstood group.
We have committed to understanding and supporting the childfree community. Our first book, Portraits of Childfree Wealth was the first deep dive into what it means to live a life of childfree wealth. In further research, we found that being childfree does not automatically make you rich, but it may make you happy.
How do you measure your impact?
We are focused on two things:
- Helping childfree people to understand how their finances are different
- Helping the financial community to understand how to work with childfree people. Our focus right now is on conversations started, and lives touched.
Our internal measures of success are related to the number of people helped directly and engagement on social media or press. We have intentionally engaged in a heavy press campaign to help get the word out. It has resulted in a variety of feature articles about how being childfree impacts finances in major media outlets.
When it comes to educating financial planners and others about the childfree community, we are proud of our participation in articles from Kitces.com, Fidelity, NAPFA and more.
What more can be done to make finance more ethical, transparent and accessible?
It is common to hear from childfree people who were mistreated by financial advisors. The comments range from judgments about their life choices (i.e. you will change your mind) to a complete disregard for being childfree (i.e. your financial plan isn’t different).
I have even seen speakers at conferences publicly talking about ‘how working with people without kids is the worst’. It is not fair to judge a group for a different lifestyle. DEI initiatives need to embrace childfree people both as clients and as employees.
Additionally, financial planning software and systems often have systematic biases against childfree people. As a simple example, most childfree people want to ‘die With zero’, yet Monte Carlo simulations are all based upon the goal of not running out of money. Childfree people also are less likely to be married, but many systems assume a couple is married for tax and planning purposes.
We need to make sure both the systems we are creating and the advice we give reflect the people we serve, even if they don’t fit the regular mold. If fintech is going to be used for good, it needs not to impose norms or other biases into the process.