3 min read

The grand banking idea

I have an idea to improve your banking experience. It's an idea so great that I can't imagine no one has ever thought of it. It's an inevitability.
A school of yellow-green fish
Photo by ... me? Oh snap. Look at all dem fishies!

I’m gonna tell you right now that if I had my way then we’d be spending more time making tech for fish.

It’s not that I like fish, no sir. They stanky.

But I do feel like it’s a vastly underserved market. They swim in schools, with massive numbers, yet don’t have a single educational platform on the market? Unreal. They have scales but no justice.

The point I’m trying to make is that fish need software too and we should 100% be calling that category of technology “FinTech.”

A jellyfish in a tank
Also taken by me. This one doesn't have the guts to start a company. Or fins. Hmmm.

We're gonna talk about human money now

For some reason the world collectively decided that FinTech would be the word for Financial Technology. (I assume – no one has ever really spelled it out for me.)

That’s boring but okay, you want non-fish-related FinTech? Here’s an idea for you. I call it: The Money Pit.

The Problem

Managing your money is hard. A common issue? Fear / shame. Fear that you’ll put your money in the wrong place, or invest it in the wrong thing or at the wrong time. And shame if anyone ever finds out that you've put money somewhere you shouldn't have. Or that you’re not managing your money ‘correctly.’

Lots of people are sitting on lots of cash in lots of savings accounts. Accounts that have less interest than startups for fish.

I was also gonna quote a stat for the number of adults who aren't using their TFSAs. But the stats range from 50% who haven't opened one, to 90% who don't fully utilize it, to everything in between depending on how you slice the data. Numbers are complicated. But it's a high number.

The Solution

A bank that only offers one account. That’s it. You put money in and don’t need to move it ever. Just spend what you need and everything else will automatically save/invest/tax-optimize for you.

The "account" (I'm not sure that's the right word) would do three things:

  • The “account” will automatically give you a high interest rate on every dollar you put into it. That part is easy.
  • The “account” will automatically move money into/out of tax-sheltered accounts like TFSAs and RRSPs as it makes sense. This part is harder to get right.
  • The “account” will automatically invest the right amount of money into the market, giving you a nice balanced portfolio. This part would also be harder to get right.

The client only ever puts money in, and spends/takes money out. That’s it. Maybe they answer some questions now and then so the system can set thresholds.

You’d need settings like “I wanna buy a house soon” or “I’m saving for a pair of boat shoes” or whatever the system needs to know to keep the right amount of money in the right place. And that's perhaps the secret sauce – nailing those automations and buffering the transitions.

A tank full of very colourful fish
Another photo by me of fish who are very into this idea.

To paraphrase Pamela Anderson from a recent documentary in which she was talking about not being great with money: “All I wanna do is go to the store and use my card and for it to work.”

Right on, Ms. A. Why should any of us have to know any more than that?