To our Investors, Customers, Partners and Friends,
Celebrating our third birthday earlier this year has made us so thankful for the amazing Company we have grown – it wouldn’t be the same without our fantastic team, partners and customers!
As you might know, when we started out, our focus was really on children and how we could arm them with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable smart money decisions. We launched the MoolahVerse, a self-directed learning tool for children to cultivate their own money management skills in a safe learning environment, through interaction and the power of play. With the success of the MoolahVerse, our natural progression was to broaden our reach and design a real-life simulation for young adults. Our app, WhyMoolah, was launched last year with DBS Remix, to empower young Singaporeans (aged 21-35) to visualize their financial futures by mapping out the choices and consequences of money and life decisions.
The journey PlayMoolah has taken us on has really been a unique one, and we’re very excited to share some of our highlights over the last year!
From play to simulation: Introducing WhyMoolah!
We decided to move into financial management for young adults after noticing the insecurity a lot of our peers were facing – they were graduating or about to leave school but no idea how certain financial structures or institutions work. There is a lot of information out there but it can be overwhelming, and people don’t generally talk about finance and money, so there’s limited access to experienced resources.
WhyMoolah confronts users with life events and decisions like college loans, CPF contributions and buying an HDB, and social engagements like dinners, entertainment and health and fitness. WhyMoolah makes money easy to understand and provides a powerful demonstration of how current lifestyle decisions play out in the future. WhyMoolah is a more complex and reality-based version of our previous products for our younger audiences.
Since its launch, we’ve been so grateful for the response we received – we’ve gotten very encouraging feedback from our users on how it’s personally helped them. One user recently told me the App was a real “eye opener” and that he hadn’t realized his financial situation was that dire. WhyMoolah made him realize his parents funded a lot of his lifestyle, but that has since changed and he’s being a lot more prudent. A father recently said to me that he wished he’d had WhyMoolah when he was younger, and that he was going to introduce it to his daughter.
It’s stories like this that really inspire us – and is also the reason behind the “WhyMoolah Community” we are currently building. The Community builds upon the safe learning space WhyMoolah provides, going one step further to offer an open, collaborative environment where users can interact with each other, learn tips and strategies and gain different perspectives on financial management. One of our aims for 2014 are to strengthen our Community in terms of its awareness and the depth and breadth of knowledge we can offer.
The importance of “Financial Access”
We were inspired by a research report by Johnson & Sherraden (2007) which focuses on the idea that financial literacy by itself is not enough to prepare young people. Practical information is also needed before they can make informed decisions; the knowledge they have must be backed up with “financial access” – access to financial institutions, savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement funds etc.
“Financial capability” is the result of financial literacy combined with financial access, and it’s one of the major reasons why we are working with financial institutions. They are the key players who deliver financial products and services to our users, and working so closely with them allows us to collaboratively provide the appropriate education and awareness for our users. For example, co-creating with banks provides WhyMoolah a more accurate depiction of the hidden costs of a housing loan or late fees on credit cards, and this is crucial for our mission to educate young people on the unknowns of money management. This works both ways though; PlayMoolah serves as the platform to represent the voices and insights of young people, providing relevant feedback and suggestions to banks and financial institutions in an effort to simplify the process and shape the kind of banking products and services young people want.
WhyMoolah stimulates the financial knowledge, skills and abilities in young adults, and the institutions we work with provide the access. Our partnerships with OCBC and DBS have been very important to the success of PlayMoolah, and we look forward to growing our relationships in the coming years.
It ain’t easy to be honest…
…. It’s difficult to talk about money, for many reasons – we might not be where we’d like to be, we don’t have clear financial strategies or might simply be ashamed of admitting we don’t understand all the financial instruments or concepts out there.
Whatever the reason, we saw the need for creating a safe environment where we could hold frank, open, and face-to-face discussions about money without the fear of being judged. This year, we launched our Honesty Circles – groups of people from all walks of life, discussing their current or past financial situations and what they have learnt. Imparting knowledge is another great way to learn, and again feedback has been very positive and we’ve really learnt a lot! We’re grateful for those who have shared their experiences and look forward to more of these discussions in 2014.
What’s Next? PlayMoolah in 2014
We’re so happy with the way PlayMoolah has developed and grown as a company over the last 3 years – the amazing people we’ve come across that inspire us and help us grow, the innovative and unique products we’ve designed, the fantastic feedback we’ve gotten from our users, and the great partnerships we’ve cultivated that helped bring us to where we are now.
Our vision for the upcoming year is to extend our reach into the lives of many more young people – we intend on scaling PlayMoolah to make it relevant to young people in all life stages, couples preparing for marriage or starting a family. We aim to provide more information and enable more choices to make the app as comprehensive as possible. We’d a lot like to reach into the lives of young adults outside Singapore, as the issues our young people face are definitely not limited to Singapore.
As PlayMoolah embarks upon the next era, we are extremely excited about what’s to come as we continue to learn and grow. We will continue to work with young people to find out what drives them, to better enhance our services and continue to build and release the best possible products to achieve our goals.
From our team to yours, thank you again for your help, support and interest in PlayMoolah and we look forward to another fantastic and fulfilling year ahead.
Audrey & Min