Why we started Abacus

Why we started Abacus

September 25, 2019

In a world where people don’t seem to agree on much, one sentiment most of us can get behind is that we wish we learned about money earlier.

Most of us weren’t taught how to use, think, or talk about money. And when you’re not exposed to money as a kid it’s awfully hard to manage it as an adult. When we don’t have practice using money and we’re suddenly forced to navigate credit cards, student loans, bills, and taxes it’s not only overwhelming, it’s dangerous.

There’s a saying, "it’s easy to get into debt and hard to get out of it”, and unfortunately most of us know that’s true from experience.

The lack of financial literacy in our society is a problem and it’s contributing to the mounting debt levels and decreased savings rates. There’s a lot of tools, services, and apps that have been created to try and help us correct our bad habits. There are all kinds of coaches, advisors, podcasts, blogs, and books that can help you improve your relationship with money.

We think that’s great—we even started building our own budgeting app a few years ago that some of you might remember, Spendwell—but we thought rather than create something else that corrects bad habits late, what if we built something that helps kids build good habits early? What if we could help our kids avoid the mistakes we made?

Enter Abacus.

We’re committed to teaching kids good financial habits early because we believe that the habits we learn as kids lay the foundation for good money management as adults.

We believe that good money management comes with practice and that the earlier you start practicing, the better. When you start learning about anything, including money, you’re going to make mistakes. Wouldn’t it be better to start making those mistakes young, with a small amount of money, when the stakes are low?

This is the whole idea behind allowances—start giving your kids a little bit of money so that they learn how to live within their means before they're faced with the financial responsibilities of adulthood. The problem with allowances and using frameworks like the jar system to teach kids about the power of saving and planned spending is that they’re getting increasingly hard to manage as a cash system. It’s a pain to have to run to the bank every week to get exact change and kids don’t want to buy things in cash, they want to buy apps and stuff online.

Canadians need a better way to help our kids manage their money and that’s why we’re building Abacus. We’re creating a debit card with an app that will teach the basics of spending, saving, and giving. We're bringing money to life by creating an engaging, hands-on way to learn about it.

The focus in anything we do will always be financial education. A debit card is just a tool that can help kids learn and practice their money management skills, and it's only the beginning of what we have planned for Abacus.

Our mission is to help kids get good with money young so that they can thrive as adults.

Thanks for being here. Together, we’re excited to see the change we can make.