“Financial literacy opens doors for young people”: how GoHenry founder Louise Hill made financial wellness feel better

Discover how Louise Hill, the visionary founder of GoHenry, transformed financial literacy into an empowering journey for young minds.

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Meet Louise Hill, an entrepreneur who has revolutionised the financial wellness industry with her innovative company, GoHenry: a game-changing prepaid debit card and financial education app designed for kids aged 6 to 18. 

With her innovative approach to fintech for children, Louise is making money management fun, accessible, and empowering for mostly young minds – but there is a wealth of wisdom in her business moves for the small business owners of today as well. 

“We pioneered a new category not only in kids’ finance but in financial education overall,” Hill explains, “and that’s something I’m very proud of.”

Here, Startups discovers how Hill shook up the banking status quo by offering her specifically-tailored fintech services, and how financial wealth could be key to future generational wealth.

Starting early with young entrepreneurs

Hill's inspiration came from her own experiences as a parent, struggling to teach her children financial responsibility in a digital world. She explains: 

“I started chatting with other parents about how topping up iTunes and games accounts was getting out of control and how I had started pinning iTunes receipts to the fridge door to explain to my children why their £4 pocket money was now only 50p.” 

From there, she co-founded GoHenry with two other parents after realising that there was nothing in society that could help teach her own children how to be good with money in an increasingly digital world. 

Financial literacy is essential for everyone, and data suggests an early start is essential.   Hill highlights a significant research study by Cambridge University showing that children develop a large part of their financial habits by the age of seven, shaping their financial decisions well into adulthood. From GoHenry's own independent research, she also found that: 

  • Around 60% of children still leave school without any money management skills
  • Children need hands-on experience with money to truly understand how to manage it effectively. 
  • Adults in the UK who didn't receive financial education as children are more likely to face unemployment or earn lower incomes.
  • Parents generally lack the confidence or resources to teach financial literacy.

Hill firmly believes in learning by doing, emphasising the importance of hands-on experience with money to foster effective money management skills, as good financial practice in youth leads to:

  • Better decision-making: children exposed to financial concepts from an early age are better equipped to make informed decisions about money matters throughout their lives. Understanding the value of money, budgeting, and saving helps them avoid impulsive spending habits and fosters responsible money management.
  • Better financial security: financial literacy provides a safety net against unexpected economic challenges. By learning about insurance, emergency funds, and investments, individuals can protect themselves and their businesses from unforeseen circumstances, reducing financial vulnerability.
  • Increased entrepreneurial opportunities: financially literate individuals are better positioned to identify and seize entrepreneurial opportunities. 
  • Reduction of financial stress: with a strong foundation in financial literacy, individuals are more likely to avoid or manage debt responsibly and ultimately have a better quality of life.

“We can't learn to swim by simply being taught the theory behind it; we need to get in the water and practice in real life,” insists Hill. 

“I think it’s important for fintech companies to continue using language that is easy for everyone to understand. Complex financial products like overdrafts, mortgages, and savings accounts can be daunting, so using clear and simple language can encourage good money habits. 

Many fantastic players in the fintech industry such as MoneyBox, Nutmeg, and PensionBee are already addressing this need by offering budgeting tools, investment platforms, pension management apps, and more.”

Startup insights: a financial wellbeing journey in stages

From childhood to adulthood, each stage offers unique opportunities for learning and growth. 

In this section, we wanted to include a few key milestones SME owners and entrepreneurial minds can use to measure their financial success, from laying the groundwork during childhood to strategic execution during your children’s entrepreneurial journey in adulthood. And who knows? You or your kids could become the next big ‘finfluencers’.

Childhood: 5-12

Parents, guardians, and educators play a crucial role at this stage in introducing basic financial concepts, such as money counting, saving, and delayed gratification. Encourage children to:

  • Manage small allowances
  • Set savings goals
  • Participate in charitable activities to cultivate financial responsibility and empathy.

Adolescence: 13-17

  • Open a bank account for them and teach them how to manage their finances independently. 
  • Introduce budgeting techniques and involve them in family financial discussions.
  • Encourage entrepreneurial-minded teens to explore part-time jobs, side-hustles and small businesses, fostering financial independence and other valuable skills.

Young adulthood: 18-25

  • Educate young adults about student loans, grants, and scholarships to make informed decisions regarding higher education financing. With higher education, graduates can demand higher salaries (whether or not their employers like it).
  • Teach responsible credit card usage and educate about credit scores, emphasising the importance of debt management.

Adulthood: 26-35

  • Establish short-term and long-term financial goals, such as buying a house, starting a business, or saving for retirement.
  • Introduce the concept of investing and explore various investment options to build wealth effectively.

Entrepreneurial journey

GoHenry goes global

Louise's commitment to financial education goes beyond her company. Looking ahead, Louise is eager for more fintech companies to work together: 

“Financial literacy opens doors for young people, providing them with the opportunity for a bright and prosperous future. However, this is not a challenge we can overcome alone. To help address this gap, I serve as a Trustee for The Centre for Financial Capability and also work closely with MyBnk: two charities focused on increasing access to financial education for kids and teens from all backgrounds.” 

She’s also set her sites further by joining forces with US Fintech company Acorns. By combining Acorns' leading saving and investing app for adults with GoHenry's leading financial education app for children and teens, the plan is to create a comprehensive financial wellness system for the whole family, both here and across the pond.

“By bridging the financial capability gap together, we can make a significant impact and save the UK billions of pounds annually.”

Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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