50 Most Admired Companies to Watch 2022
By definition, generational wealth represents assets passed from one generation to another. Suppose you can leave a substantial inheritance to your descendants, which constitutes generational wealth. It is estimated that 90% of affluent families lose their wealth by the third generation. Therefore, families should gain a clear understanding of the challenges and risks they may face and learn how to manage and mitigate these.
For instance, you might be focused on getting out of debt, saving money, or pursuing other financial goals. It may be that creating generational wealth is not on your immediate priority list while you tackle your current finances. But with that being said, you can still build it into long-term financial goals for your children. One of the most innovative and secure ways is to build through UNest, a family investing app building a better future for your kids. UNest is a purpose-driven fintech company that empowers parents to invest and save for their children’s future. Opening a UNest Investment Account for Kids requires no paperwork and takes just five minutes to set up through its award-winning app. UNest is a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) registered broker-dealer.
Following are excerpts from the conversation with KseniaYudina, CFA, Founder& CEO of UNest
Q. What makes UNest relevant in today’s times? Could you give us some context?
UNest is distinguished by its singular focus on helping parents of young kids save and invest. For most UNest members, we are the first serious effort they have made to secure a solid financial plan for their families. Our ability to build a deep level of trust and confidence with our members positions us perfectly to offer additional financial resources as families go through each key life stage.
In contrast to other financial solutions focused on spending, we prioritize long-term investing and smart financial habits.
Additionally, we are one of the first platforms to offer families the ability to invest in sustainable portfolios and digital assets through a UTMA.
Q. How does UNest differ from other financial institutions that provide investment solutions?
UNest is a mobile-based solution that allows parents to effortlessly open a tax-advantaged investment account for kids in less than 5 minutes. All members have access to unique features such as Gifting, which allows friends and family to contribute to the child’s account for birthdays and other special occasions. UNest Rewards contributes money to a child’s account when parents shop with UNest’s 150+ brand partners.
Additionally, we are maniacial about offering financial literacy tools to help families make smart financial decision. UNest Learn is an educational component that provides money tips around financial topics like credit cards, debt, investing, and life insurance. We make it fun by gamifying the experience, offering quizzes, trivia, and pineapples and financial incentives for completing modules. Plus, families have access to set it and forget it, advisor-guided investment portfolios based on their risk tolerance and time horizon. They can also invest in socially responsible portfolios if sustainable investments are a priority.
We are tapping into a vastly underserved market of young parents. We focus on the top priority of virtually all young families - their kids. UNestplays a fundamental role in helping families build a solid financial future for their kids, starting the moment they are born and then helping them throughout every life stage.
We want to be the holistic financial solution for families who wish to build a brighter future for the talent of tomorrow.
Talk about the motivation that made UNest possible.
While working at Capital Group/American Funds, I realized that saving for kids is parents’ primary focus and that existing solutions were complex and expensive. I often saw other financial advisors push costly solutions that were poorly aligned with what parents needed. Meanwhile, if parents did want to open a college savings account for their kids, it required pages of complex paperwork. I had also graduated with $180,000 in student debt and realized that it was a national crisis debilitating young people for decades. As a parent of young kids, I wanted to shield them from experiencing the financial burden I and many others had. When clients would ask me about college savings options, there was no simple, mobile-first solution available to parents looking to save for their kids’ future.
I knew that a legacy financial institution wouldn’t move quickly enough to build an app, so I decided to leave and create it myself.
Q. The fintech industry has blossomed over the years. How has UNest grown with the industry?
UNest’s mission is close to the wealth gap and help parents provide a better financial future for their kids, regardless of income or background. We believe that every family should have access to tools that help them build multi-generational wealth.
We constantly look to our customers to inform our product roadmap. Due to overwhelming customer feedback, we are launching ESG, or sustainable portfolios, so that families can invest in alignment with their values and a crypto product. We recently opened a waitlist for the digital asset feature, UNest Legacy, which will enable parents to buy crypto, NFTs, and individual stocks for their kids. We believe that digital assets can be a transformative asset class to help close the wealth gap and build multi-generational wealth.
Additionally, we have partnered with Zogo Finance to enhance our financial literacy offerings and empower families to become financially savvy. By gamifying educational tools, we bring a fun and unique twist to an often overwhelming and dry topic.
Gifting is another area where the business has seen tremendous growth. Our unique gifting feature makes it easy for family and friends to contribute to a child’s account for holidays and special occasions. And soon, they’ll be able to gift crypto as well.
Q. How has the pandemic affected the industry? How was your experience working through the pandemic?
The pandemic has been a boon for UNest. We anticipate many of the trends will continue well past this period. For instance, the gifting feature has been prevalent, particularly when people couldn’t meet in person. Families are also paying attention to their finances more than ever, and the savings rate was at an all-time high.
We saw that families deposited their stimulus checks and child tax credits into their UNest accounts. We observed that the pandemic accelerated specific trends that were already happening.
Q. What does innovation mean to you?
Innovation at UNest means we continue to offer the greatest breadth and quality of products for our families.
As I mentioned earlier, we are proud to iterate and create products that our customers want. We surveyed our members to see which features they were looking for next, and it was crypto, NFTs, individual stocks, and the ability to invest sustainably.
We constantly strive to be forward-looking, innovative, and good stewards of our families’ financial health.
Meet the forward-thinking, charismatic founder & CEO of UNest
Before founding UNest, Ksenia spent over a decade working in financial services, most recently at Capital Group/American Funds. She realized that the industry failed to recognize that parents’ number one priority is saving for their children. She decided to create a simple, affordable financial solution accessible to all families.
Ksenia rose nearly $40M from leading VCs, including Anthos Capital, Northwestern Mutual, Franklin Templeton, The Artemis Fund, Altair, Draper Dragon, Unlock Ventures, One Way Ventures, Launchpad Capital, Bitfury, and NBA All-Star Baron Davis. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, TechCrunch and has appeared on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and Cheddar. She was named to InvestmentNews’ 40 Under 40 list and included in the Top 25 Women Leaders in Financial Technology by the Financial Technology Report.
She holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and is a CFA charter holder.