Retirement App

#ItzOnWealthTech Ep. 77: Building a Fintech Ecosystem for Modern Retirement, with Rhian Horgan, CEO of Silvur

“What I think is different about our approach, firstly, is that we’re purpose built for decumulation. The second thing is that we’re built for what I call modern retirement. In the old days you had a pension, but you probably were only living until your early 80s. Today, the vast majority of our customers don’t have pensions and they will likely live into their 90s. So developing a retirement ecosystem that’s more holistic to help Baby Boomers with retirement is important.”

— Rhian Horgan, CEO and Founder, Silvur

Prior to becoming CEO of Silvur, Rhian worked for 17 years at JP Morgan where she advised individuals and families on investments, credit and wealth planning. She is widely quoted in the press, including The New York TimesForbes, CNBC, American Banker and is a frequent commentator on Yahoo Finance. She resides in New York with her husband and two young children.

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Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Background of Silvur [02:40]
  • The Apple Watch of Retirement Planning [05:30]
  • The Silvur Approach [08:10]
  • Insurance, Life Decisions and Financial Consequences [17:30]
  • Silvur Onboarding Process [21:00]
  • Renaming “Retirement” [26:30]
  • You Shouldn’t Have to be a Rocket Scientist to Figure Out Retirement [32:30]

Complete Episode Transcript:

Craig: It’s another fantastic day in the wonderful world of wealthtech. Welcome to episode 77 of the Wealth Management Today podcast. I’m your host, Craig Iskowitz, and I run a consulting firm called Ezra Group. We’re experts in everything related to wealthtech. We deliver growth oriented solutions to banks, broker dealers, asset managers, RIA aggregators, as well as their wealth tech providers through our premium advice and targeted market research. On this podcast, I speak with some of the smartest people in the industry who are on the leading edge of technology and innovation.

I’m happy to introduce on this episode of the wealth management tech podcast, my guest Rhian Horgan founder and CEO of the app, Silvur, which helps baby boomers navigate retirement. Hey Rhian, how’s it going?

Rhian: Hi, Craig. Nice to be with you this morning.

Craig: So glad you’re here, so glad. I’m happy we could coordinate this and get you on the program. And there was so much talk about we spent so much time going back and forth on things to discuss, and there’s so many things. Because I’m really interested in your app and interested in retirement and how fintechs and other firms are helping people in retirement. You know, we’re in the industry so we know this stuff, we live and breathe it every day, but most people aren’t. So I’m always looking for interesting ways to get this information to people. So can you quickly give us a 30 second overview of the app, Silvur?

Background of Silvur

Rhian: Absolutely. So Silvur is an app that’s dedicated to helping baby boomers navigate their next act. We help you navigate the new series of decisions you make in your 50s and 60s, such as social security, Medicare, when you’re going to retire. Our goal is to help give you confidence that whether you live to 80, 90, 100 that you have the financial means to live that best next act.retirement app

Craig: That’s excellent. Very, very clear and concise. And so how did you get started here? I know you were at JP Morgan for a while. What brought you to start this company and in this specific space?

Rhian: So I had worked at JP Morgan for about 17 years. I was a managing director in the asset management business, I had a long career of helping individuals with their finances. As a result of that became that trusted child, who my parents consulted quite a bit around retirement. And so for about a decade, the conversation with my parents was all about when they were going to retire. But when the conversation shifted a few years ago from when to how, I actually found myself at Barnes and Noble buying a 300 page book on social security. And as I was reading that book, it struck me both how complicated social security actually was, and probably even more importantly, it made me realize that the average American wasn’t being set up for success, if they needed to read this sort of book to most effectively make their elections.

And that was the beginning of a journey where I just kept digging and digging and was really surprised to learn that after all the innovation we were seeing in consumer and insurance and financial technology, that this generation, which is I would argue America’s most wealthy generation, and which has the most complex and crucial set of decisions to make of their financial lives. That all of this amazing technology that was being built was being targeted towards millennials and no one was building for this demographic. So what I saw was this huge white space, this great opportunity to both help my parents, and their generation really have confidence and peace of mind as they navigate these decisions. And this power, what we had already seen over and over again, was the power of technology to empower people. But for some reason, the industry was just ignoring this demographic. So underserved demographic, huge addressable market, big decisions to be made. Those are the type of opportunities that for an entrepreneur are really exciting.

Craig: Indeed. That sounds exciting. I can see how you’d want to jump right out something like that. But you’re up against a lot of competition. So I know in a previous interview you mentioned you want to become the Apple Watch of retirement information rather than the Life Alert. Can you explain what you mean by that? I think I know what you mean, but what do you mean?

The Apple Watch of Retirement Planning

Rhian: So Craig, we were just discussing a little bit earlier. You described yourself as a baby boomer, but with tech habits that look more like Gen X. And what I would say to you is that’s actually very indicative of our customer base, which is the vast majority of people underestimate how tech savvy this customer base is. This is a customer who grew up using technology in the 80s, and my dad is older than you, but he’s 70. He read CAT scans, MRIs on the computer at home in the 80s. This is a tech literate and a tech savvy community. But for some reason, the market looks at everyone over the age of 50 together as one big bucket of people. And so for the technology that generally has been built for the over 50+ demographic, you have products like Life Alert, which are all about falling and not being able to get up. And I would imagine, Craig, that you have no interest in wearing a Life Alert.retirement app

Craig: Only when I’m snowboarding. That has happened, where I’ve fallen and can’t get up while snowboarding.

Rhian: I don’t know if you have an Apple Watch, but I bet if you did have an Apple Watch, it wouldn’t be a signifier that you were old. And I think what we get really excited about is that opportunity to build inspiring, beautiful technology for this demographic that doesn’t make you feel old, that actually just empowers you to live your next best act. And I think you know, we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time learning how to design for this demographic. There is a massive difference between how consumers in their 50s and 60s navigate technology versus consumers who are 80+. Life Alert is for the 80+ crowd. What we’re building is the Apple Watch for financial and health decisions in your 50s and 60s.

Craig: That’s cool. That’s a great way to describe it. And people need those kinds of anchors to understand what you’re talking about. You can say that you’re an app to help people navigate retirement, that doesn’t click. You want to be the Apple Watch of retirement. Okay, now I kind of see where you’re going with that. With that there’s a lot of competition in this space. There’s so many apps. I was just saying, I’ve got a thousand passwords in my password manager, I’ve got hundreds of apps on my phone, although probably way more than average person because I’m in the tech space, I’m always trying things out. But lots of people have lots of apps and there’s lots of retirement savings programs. Every wealth management firm, every advisor has got these calculators, every asset management firm, Vanguard and Fidelity have these calculators and tools for retirement. How do you set yourself apart knowing that all those other tools are available to your customer base?

An App Built for DecumulationRetirement App

Rhian: So the vast majority of modern tech apps have been built for accumulation, for people who are saving for retirement. So it’s learning how to pay down your student loans, accessing your first mortgage, putting money away maybe for your children’s 529 plans. The reality is that our consumer is embarking on a different phase of life, which I would think about as decumulation. So all of a sudden it’s less about saving for, but it’s about spending down your savings and retirement. And also understanding the financial consequences of a lot of decisions you’re about to make. So, your election of social security, huge financial decision. Interestingly enough, your decision around healthcare, a very financial decision when healthcare costs on average, a couple $280,000 over the course of retirement, healthcare in America is a financial issue for every single retiree.

So what I think is really different about how we approached building for this consumer is the first is that we’re purpose-built for decumulation. So we’re helping you in that run up to that retirement decision, and then helping you as you start to draw down your funds. The second thing is that we’re built for what I would think about as modern retirement. So in the old days you know, you had a pension, you had income for life and you actually probably were only living until your early 80s today. The vast majority of our customers don’t have pensions, they will likely live into their 90s. And so really developing an ecosystem that’s much more holistic to help the customer we think is really important.

So when I think about our customers, if they’re in an offline world, they’re talking to a financial advisor, an insurance agent, a Medicare broker, they’re going to the social security website, they’re talking to a real estate agent, they’re talking to a lawyer. There’s no one person pulling all that together for them. And so what we think about as the real opportunity here to simplify and empower these customers is actually to be that digital landing spot that pulls all the pieces together for them and can really act as their general practitioner. It creates a lot of anxiety for this customer to have to be the GP as they make all these decisions. But the existing ecosystem of incumbents is really set up to give you an advice on a sliver of the problem and really leave it to the consumer to make the decision.

Craig: I like how you put that, the existing ecosystem of incumbents.

Rhian: It’s a lot, and look, I came from an incumbent. So I understand which is, I often describe what we’re building as this intersection of consumer tech, InsureTech, FinTech, health tech. Find an incumbent who wants to be in all those buckets. It’s like, why would you want to be regulated like that? Right. So we have the opportunity because we’re building from scratch to really think about how do we build an ecosystem that’s built for modern retirement? But if you’re a bank that’s already regulated at the state level, do you want to now add insurance regulators to the equation? Do you want to add Medicare to the equation? There’s just a level of regulation and scrutiny that if you’re an incumbent, you probably say, look, I’d rather just stay really good at what I am and solve this piece of the puzzle. But again, I think the challenge for the consumer is that with this shift from DB to DC would just keep pushing more and more decisions to the consumer. And that’s what the app is really intended to do is recognize that all these decisions have frankly been pushed to the consumer. Now, how do we help bring it back together and help empower them?

Craig: That’s something you don’t hear a lot about pushing decisions to the consumer. I think people, assuming that politicians were doing things for the right reasons, which is a a tough leap to make, that maybe people aren’t equipped to make these decisions with all the other decisions they have to make. You think that you’re empowering people by giving them more control, but is that what you’re saying, that you’re overwhelming them with decisions that they’re not equipped to make?

Rhian: Well, look, I would just say for the average consumer, the math of social security is complicated. And so it’s no surprise that the vast majority of Americans elect social security at the earliest point possible, which is 62. But as Americans are living into their 80s and 90s, that may not be the best financial decision, particularly if you don’t have a pension or an annuity. So I think about social security as our customers’ largest retirement asset. For most of them it’s the only asset that they have that has lifetime income or longevity insurance. And the reality is that most financial advisors don’t talk about social security with their customers. It’s viewed as a government benefit rather than a financial asset. When it’s more than half of our customers’ retirement income, it’s, it’s a financial asset and it has to be included.

Craig: But isn’t it both the government benefit and a financial asset?

Rhian: I would argue you’ve paid into it. It’s a savings program and you’ve paid into it. And the funds are there for you as you retire. But the mentality of it being a government benefit, I think changes the way people think about taking that election. And so it feels that there’s this risk that it feels like a handout rather than this financial decision you’re making. And so our goal is to help you understand that it’s a financial decision without overwhelming you. So how do we expose and help you see the power potentially of delaying social security? It doesn’t make sense for everyone, but it may make sense for you and help you understand how that impacts your financial plan. But do that in a way that doesn’t require you to read 300 pages, right. That’s just not realistic. And look, there’s a ton of great content in those books, but those books are written for the 1% who, frankly don’t even need social security. It’s not written for the other 99%.

Craig: Indeed. Moving back to the app a second. I really like it. I signed up, so I’m a customer or a user, as you might describe. How are you gaining customers for the app? What’s your most successful channel for acquiring customers?

Rhian: Our customers are really tech savvy and they’re online. And so as an early brand, we do a lot of our acquisition online. we do that through partnerships. We’ve partnered with Katie Couric in particular to develop a content series focused on women in their 50s and 60s and some of the unique situations they have around navigating Medicare and social security. We’ve partnered with local news channels, our customer is very engaged with and aware of local news. And then through social media, our customers may not be on TikTok or Snapchat, but they’re absolutely on Facebook. And so what we have found is, meet our customers where they are and what we know is our customers are online.

Craig: “Meet our customers where they are”, exactly. Yeah. I think I spend way too much time on TikTok and Snapchat. I’m just technically a baby boomer, but that that’s just me. One thing I like about the app when I signed up and went through the process, I liked the weekly reads and stuff. So are you using education to gain market shares? What are most of your user base finding most valuable about that?

Rhian: So what we’ve seen through our customers both for the user research, but also through their behavior in the app is that they’re definitely on a research journey. I describe our customers as very financially savvy, but let me unpack that a little bit, which is, I wouldn’t say it’s financially savvy that you’re trading stocks and you’re on Schwab monitoring your stocks every day. There may be some of our customers that are doing that, but that’s not the core base. When I say financially savvy, this is someone who’s in their mid 50s who’s probably had one or two mortgages. They’ve had several credit cards over their adult life. They’ve oftentimes put their children through college, they’ve saved for 529 plans. They’ve made a lot of financial decisions, and while we see this customer understands that there’s a fair amount of research to do before they make this next set of decisions.

And so the idea behind the content in the app is to really help our customers do their research. We know that they’re on this research journey. They want to get educated. They want to be informed. They want to do scenario analysis, and with the combination in the app of this free retirement plan with a score that tells you how long your money is going to last plus the content to help you make your decision is to really help this customer with this research journey that they’re on. And so what you’ll see is, in this moment of time, we’re in the midst of healthcare enrollment season. And so if you’re pre-65 and maybe you’ve left your full-time job and you’re moving towards a part-time job and you need to enroll in an ACA plan, we can help you with that. If you’re 65 or older and you’re enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling in Medicare, we can help you with that. So we try to be kind of timely of the moment but also recognize the other decisions that our customers are making. So for example, a lot of our customers will downsize over the course of retirement. When you sell your home and buy a new home, you’re going to need new home insurance. And so what are these decisions that the customer is going to be making? How do we help educate them and then get them access to the best price, products, and services that are out there.

Invest In Others

Insurance, Life Decisions and Financial Consequences

Craig: Interesting points. So I noticed there’s a store, a retirement store, are you planning on offering insurance and other financial products through your app?

Rhian: Yeah, so we have a series of partners already in the app that are helping our customers do things like access, health care plans, get online wills, home and auto insurance. What we think about is that there are a number of decisions this customer is going to make that may at certain times feel like life decisions, but they also have financial consequences. So if you look in the store, what you’ll see is we help our customers understand what the impact on their score is of their home insurance. So let’s say our partner Matic can save our customers on average $550-600 a year on their home insurance. That over 25, 30 years starts to add up and that could add five or six months onto your retirement score. So the goal is to really help our customers not only get access to great priced products and services, but also have them see how these decisions are also helping them with that big goal, which is make sure that my money lasts as long as possible.

Craig: Although there’s more to insurance than just the premium costs, right? There’s the ability of them to pay out, the other services when you use New Jersey Manufacturers in New Jersey, and I found it to be way better than even a lot of the lower priced insurance. I don’t know anything about the one you’re working with, but how do you build in those other aspects of insurance that are more than just the premium costs?

Rhian: Yeah, no, it’s a really good question. And actually, I think this really comes to light when you think about your choices around healthcare insurance. So low premium in healthcare does not necessarily mean low costs because it could be that you have a low monthly out of pocket, but you have a lot that’s uncovered. So we actually did some research recently with Katie Couric around this specific fact. And we looked at individuals who remained healthy during retirement, but in contrast to that, to an individual who had an acute illness, and what we found was that if you had chosen very low cost plans and you got ill, that that could actually be financially devastating. And so we looked at an individual who had had cancer. And what we saw was that the choice of a lower premium plan actually ended up costing them four years of their retirement savings because they didn’t have as much coverage. It is not just about price. It’s really thinking about what’s the right amount of insurance. And in particular, when it comes to health insurance, one of the trends that I’m seeing in the market right now is this push towards low premium plans. And I personally worry that that is leaving customers potentially under-insured. And and we’ve spent a lot of time really trying to help customers understand that it’s the total cost of healthcare, not just that monthly out-of-pocket cost.

Craig: Indeed. I hate getting political, but one of the big issues I found with the Affordable Care Act was that it pushed a lot of people into high deductible, high out-of-pocket plans. People think, look how wonderful, people have insurance, but if they can’t use it, that insurance isn’t very valuable to them.

Rhian: Yeah, and this is around like, how do you educate the consumer around what they’re paying for? And so this is where as we think about calculators over time, you think about scenario planning that allows customers to both look at monthly expenses, but also out-of-pockets and really start building more sophisticated analytics into that scenario planning.

Silvur Onboarding Process

Craig: Wow we’ve got so much to talk about. I used the app, set up myself up, I went through the process. I told you I was gonna ask you this, I wanted you to be prepared. Why is the onboarding process so long? It seemed to me like there was so many questions, which I don’t mind answering because I do this all the time, I’m constantly testing robo-advisors and other tool so I’ve got this stuff off the top of my head, but I can imagine most people who are in their mid fifties may not, or they may bail out. Do you see a lot of abandonment with this long onboarding process?

Rhian: Actually on the contrary, what we see is a very different behavior in an onboarding process from baby boomers versus millennials. So I would imagine if you’ve downloaded a millennial app recently, the first thing they do is they ask you to connect your accounts, and you probably connect one account, you connect your bank account, and you move on. The reality is that most baby boomers have actually not connected their accounts. So we’ve built an onboarding flow that allows a customer to connect their account, or self-report.

Importantly, let me just kind of build on that, connecting one account, you and I both know that if I’m going to create a retirement plan for you that helps you see how long your money is going to last in retirement, connecting your bank accounts, isn’t going to do anything for you. You probably have money sitting in 6-8 different accounts. If you’re married, it might be more than 10 accounts. So the reality is that this consumer’s financial picture is much more complex.

What we have found is that there’s a delicate balance around the number of questions to ask, you mentioned drop-off, but also embedding trust. So as a tech company, we have access to a tremendous amount of data that can help us both personalize advice for customers, but also build out financial scenarios based on let’s call it people like you. What we have found is this consumer does not trust that data unless they’ve entered it themselves. So, interestingly, over the course of the six months that our app has been live, we’ve actually been adding to our onboarding journey rather than taking away, because we have found as we consistently get feedback, I’ll give you one that we added most recently was pensions.

We had the ability to much deeper in the experience to add a pension to your financial profile, and we kept having customers asking, why was this not part of the onboarding process? So again, this is where really listening to your customer, designing for them, obviously you’re going to have different types of customers with different types of expectations, but we do a tremendous amount of what’s called user research, where we’re both testing within the app, but also doing in-person testing. And we take that feedback and loud and clear we heard the feedback from our customer base was these are important decisions, they are willing to commit time, and they were surprised if we didn’t ask enough questions. Again, we’ve we’ve built out this experience to meet them where they are, which is they wanted to add their pensions. They wanted to tell us whether they were divorced. They wanted to tell us whether or not they were working full-time or part-time, these questions were very important for them feeling like the output of the plan was accurate for them.

Craig: Yeah, that’s cool. I love that type of information where you’re gathering stuff that comes up that’s completely unexpected. Not unexpected, it’s counterintuitive. You’d expect fewer questions would make people more interested, instead it’s the opposite. They really want to feel like they put more information in, and that even though you can get that data elsewhere, they put it in, that means what the output is more trustworthy.

Rhian: This is something that happens over and over again as we build for this demographic, which is that the playbook that works for millennials does not work for this demographic. So what I get really excited with is we’re building a brand new playbook for a demographic that hasn’t been purpose built for. What it means is that you have a lot of trial and error trying to figure it out in the early days, because you probably start with the millennial playbook and you realize it’s not working, and you kind of keep iterating until you figure out what the playbook is. That’s what I I get really excited about our team. You know, we’ve built the playbook for designing for this customer. We’ve built the playbook on how to digitally acquire them. We’ve built the playbook on how to retain this customer, and I think if you really want to build for your customer, there is a tremendous amount of white space here, but you cannot come at this believing that you can just slap boomer questions on top of a millennial user design. Like that’s just, it’s just not gonna work.

Craig: That’s a great sound byte. Don’t just slap boomer questions on a millennial app. That’s not gonna work. Okay. That’s brilliant. So I liked the app. What I hated was, and this is a joke, I hate the retirement countdown. Get that off the screen. I don’t want to know.

Rhian: And why was that? Did that create anxiety to you?

Craig: Yes! I’m very anxious now, I open the app and I see “this many years to retirement”. No, no, don’t tell me!

Renaming “Retirement”

Rhian: So what’s been interesting for us as we talk to customers, what we hear people really focused on is this joy about what this inflection point can actually bring, so it’s interesting for you it sounds like it’s creating anxiety. I think for others, it creates this aspiration of like, I need to get these things done. And when I get these milestones past, like I’m gonna be able to live my best next act. And I think the reality is that that next act looks very different today than it did 20 years ago. So 20 years ago, retirement was more sedentary. It was you were sitting at home, you might’ve been just out in your local community, spending time with grandkids. You know, what we’re finding today is that even the word retirement doesn’t make sense anymore.

It’s this transition from full to part-time work. It’s finding a new purpose as you, as you think about the next 15 year, 20 year period of your life and then what we hear is people feeling kind of unshackled being able to do what they really wanted to do. And sometimes, you were talking a little bit about kind of this kind of part-time work construct, what we are seeing over and over again is consumers embracing part-time work. Sometimes that part-time work is financially critical, other times it’s actually about finding purpose in your day and finding joy in your day. It might be starting a new business, one of my most favorite facts is that women in their 50s and 60s are the most successful hosts on Airbnb. So people are finding ways to create new businesses and that like being a host on Airbnb has this joy that comes with hosting and creating community, sharing your life experiences, but it has the added bonus of actually giving you a cash flow, which again, extends the life of your money in retirement. And so I get really excited about what this new narrative is, I don’t think we’re ready to step away from this word “retirement” yet, it’s so common phrase, but we do think about the next act. What does this next act look like? And that next act is not your grandmother’s retirement. That next act is being empowered to do what you really wanted to do the last 20 years.

Craig: Yeah. Let’s get rid of the word “retirement”, we’ve got to come up with a better word, something different.

Rhian: Exactly. So the “next act” is what we’re going with for now.

Craig: So I’m going to give you more feedback, cause we’re running out of time. I want to give you more feedback on the app. Obviously I’m in your demographic, which is perfect for you, right? I want a goal for weddings.

Rhian: That’s fair.

Craig: I’ve got three daughters. One just got married, but two more are probably going to get married at some point and I need a goal. Also, there are baby boomers who have younger children. I mean, my youngest happens to be 17, so she’s going to college next year, but that would affect my savings, or rather my spending for the next 4 years or 5, she’s going to be in a five-year program. That’s 5 years of expenses. So there’s no goal for that, although I’m not saving for it because it’s coming up now, but it’s going to change the next 5 years of expenses. But some people I know are who are our age, have children younger. So they would have a goal of education, which you don’t have on here.

Rhian: Yeah. So one of the ways that you can create some of these goals today is if you’re in the homepage, you can go into Add a Goal. One of the categories is Create My Own Goal, and in there we have some pre-selected options, like travel, home improvement, buying a boat, an event, or other expenses. And so what we find is a lot of customers will choose and event for their children’s weddings.

Craig: You can use Buy A Boat, but enter in “Wedding” where it says Type of Motor.

Rhian: Yeah, exactly. Well, hopefully, hopefully the wedding won’t be sinking as much money as the boat.

Craig: Ha! I think more.

Rhian: If you select events, you can put in how much you want to spend when you want to expect it, and you can actually give the goal a name. So you can have each of your kids’ weddings put in there. If you’re going to play the game over which year they’re going to get married. And that I think what we know is that there are these lumpy sums and the other thing may be that you might be actually getting an inflow and maybe that you’re inheriting money. Being able to actually add an inheritance and it’s something that you can also do through the goal experience.

Craig: Ah, if only I had an inheritance, that would be nice. If you have an app to match people up with people who want to give money away?

Rhian: The new marketplace, right? Yeah.

Craig: I want that kind of marketplace where you’re looking for somebody to give you money to, sign me up. We’re running out of time, but I want to throw in one more question. We talked about the app enough, so are you partnering with any wealth management firms, financial advisors? Do you see that as being a benefit? Because you’re bringing in a lot of information from clients, customers and they may not have a financial advisor. It seems to me like if you were to partner with advisors, you could provide that sort of deal flow to them. Is that something you’re considering?

Rhian: Yeah. It’s something that we would absolutely consider in the future. I think today, what we’ve really been focused on is actually helping this consumer pull together the picture outside of the money management. What we find is that they are getting a lot of inbound calls, direct mail around asset management, per se, but what’s been left behind is this conversation around the full plan, this conversation around Medicare, social security. And so our goal right now is really empower this customer with a solid financial plan so that they know where they stand. They know the different moving pieces. I think today as an industry and I’m thinking about financial services broadly, I think we over emphasize the money management conversation and underemphasize these other decisions that the consumer is making about retirement date and social security and healthcare costs and spending. And so my goal to start with is let’s level the playing field. Let’s empower this customer on these other decisions. And then over time really think about who are the partners that we can bring to the table to work with us on the asset management side of the business.

You Shouldn’t Have to be a Rocket Scientist to Figure Out Retirement

Craig: Yeah. It seems like a likely next step for you guys. I’d love to see how that plays out, because one of the hardest things for financial advisors is lead generation. So an app like yours, that’s focused on modern retirement and has a great customer base, I think would be very valuable to them. In a previous interview you said you “shouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out retirement”. What do you mean by that?

Rhian: So I’d go back to this book on social security 300 pages to figure out how to elect your government benefit. When I read that book, not only did I fall asleep and get a little bit anxious about the complexity of the math, it also really inspired me as we were starting the company to really think about the core values that we were building. We have very, very powerful technology that we’ve built around financial planning. Our retirement score, it takes the data you give us plus over 3000 other data points around taxes and government benefits and projects out how long our customers’ money is going to last in retirement. But we expose that, I think very elegantly in one number, which is your retirement score. So for you, Craig, you said you had a great score, which was 99 years+ what we’ve done is we’ve really met our customers where they are, which is 50% of our customers are afraid of running out of money in retirement.

We knew over and over again, they kept coming back to this, like, am I going to be okay, will the money lasts my lifetime? So we exposed these 3000 data points with one data point, which was the retirement score. That decision to not have lots of charts, not have lots of Monte Carlo simulations exposed gets to the heart of one of the core values of our company, which is how can we be human in a world that sees numbers. Those of us that grew up being really good at math or working in financial services for a very long time, are very comfortable looking at charts, looking at Monte Carlo simulations, understanding probabilities. That is not the average American, and our goal here is to empower the average American. So if I can take 3000+ data points to give you one number, which tells you how long your money’s going to last in retirement, we’ve accomplished our goal of really helping you understand, are you okay?

There’s obviously a lot of devil in the detail, but that first point is that that number of are you going to be okay? And I think for what we see over and over again is customers are saying to us for the first time, I truly understand whether I’m in the right zip code or not. And that I think is a sign that we’ve actually met our customers where they are, which is giving them that confidence. You know Craig, you got a good number, a lot of our customers are not going to start with a good number, but we are then giving them things. Instead of saying to them, let’s hope the market is going to be up 10% for the next year. And we’re going to put you in an 80% stock portfolio. We’re giving them things that they can truly achieve, which is, think about changing their retirement date. Think about adding part-time work, thinking about reducing your spending. These are all things that customers come back to us and say, well, I actually think I can do those things. When we talk too much about markets, it’s out of this customer’s control. But again, being human in a world that sees numbers. A lot of us in this industry are very comfortable with financial lingo, with numbers, with charts, with simulations, that is not your customer. And the minute you realize that you think about designing the outcome for the customer, very differently.

Craig: Rhian, you’ve been a fantastic guest. I could have gone on another hour but we’re gonna have to wrap, and I’ll have to have you back on, because I’ve got a whole bunch more questions to ask. can you please tell the audience where they can find the Silvur app?

Rhian: Yeah. So you can either find us in the Apple app store under Silvur, if you go to our website, You can download the app directly from the website.

Craig: Fantastic. And I recommend anybody who’s thinking of retiring to download the app. I like it. I think it’s fantastic. You’ve been a wonderful guests, thanks so much Rhian for being on the program.

Rhian: Okay. Thanks so much, Craig.

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The Wealth Tech Today blog is published by Craig Iskowitz, founder and CEO of Ezra Group, a boutique consulting firm that caters to banks, broker-dealers, RIA’s, asset managers and the leading vendors in the surrounding #fintech space. He can be reached at