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On the importance of financial literacy to Mainers

If you’ll allow us to peel back the curtain a bit, StashUp is based in Maine and our leadership chose Maine for a reason. There’s a grit here that forges great entrepreneurs and a do-it-yourself attitude that informs how Mainers view finances. We want to put the tools to create economic freedom into the hands of our friends and family, while also building the trust we need to ensure them that their futures are safe with us.

Maine is a state that faces considerable economic challenges. A changing global economy has put pressure on the incomes of our neighbors, whether the cause is the continued decline of the lumber industry or pressures on our fisheries. In Maine, the median household income is $55,602, which has declined year-over year by 1.2%. This is compared to the national average of $61,937, which increased 2.65% in the same period of time. We also are seeing an explosion in the price of housing in the state, which is leaving wage increases in the dust.

These developments require a new, and simple, approach to money management.

Financial literacy is a crucial component to living a comfortable life, yet there is a huge opportunity to improve upon it in our home state of Maine. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which conducts frequent Financial Capability Studies, 45% of Mainers lack a rainy day fund and a further 18% spend more than their income in a given year.

Without a rainy day fund, defined as three months living expenses, Mainers are at greater risk of serious financial repercussions of illness, job loss, or economic downturn. The on-going COVID-19 pandemic makes each of those three hardships more likely than ever. We at StashUp are constantly asking ourselves “how can we help put Mainers on a clearer path to financial freedom, and what tools will help them help themselves?”

While our app is centered around the power of budgeting and payments, our product roadmap aims at something larger. We want to put a financial planner in the pocket of each of our customers. That means powerful budgeting controls, of course, but it also means partnerships with community financial institutions to empower smarter saving and investment. It means creating educational opportunities to teach financial fundamentals, like avoiding credit card debt and creating sustainable spending habits.

It also means making all of our decisions with the goal to build the trust between us and our users. Maine needs StashUp, and we need Maine. Let’s build this future together.

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