Ben meets ikigai

We caught up with Cristina Duta, Marketing Manager at ikigai, to find out how ikigai empowers people to take control and educate themselves on wealth as a form of self-care

Interview Series

⋅ min read

Financial health can often be an overlooked area of wellbeing. The reality is that our finances are connected to all areas of our health yet, for many, wealth management can feel overwhelming, complicated and stressful.

With this in mind, the team at ikigai are on a mission to empower people to take control and educate themselves on wealth - as a form of self-care. Keen to find out more about ikigai, we caught up with Marketing Manager, Cristina Duta, to learn about how their service differs from other apps on the market, how the product has evolved through the pandemic and why financial wellbeing should be important to employers.

Can you describe ikigai in 30 seconds? What do you do?

ikigai helps you grow your money by integrating wealth management, everyday spending and savings into one premium app. The aim is to provide you with a holistic view of your finances and has the ultimate goal to help you invest well, save well and spend well. 

ikigai empowers you to grow your wealth through goals-based investing, meaning you can align your money with your financial and personal goals — whether it’s the holiday of a lifetime, a new home, or time off for a career break.

How did ikigai begin? 

The idea of ikigai came about when Maurizio Kaiser and Edgar de Picciotto, the two co-founders, realised they both shared similar frustrations with their banking services. 

Maurizio felt that as a consumer, he never had a banking relationship he valued nor one that valued him as a customer. At the same time, Edgar wanted to build a platform that would make investing accessible to a wider number of people. He believed the lack of a simple, mobile-first solution was one of the main barriers for millennials who wanted to grow their wealth. 

They ended up merging the two ideas and this is how ikigai was born.

What makes ikigai different from similar apps on the market?

ikigai is the first app in the UK to combine an everyday spending account, a savings account, and personal wealth management services all in one app. The aim here is to give our clients complete visibility of their money as well as high-level access and control over their financial lives. 

Built around the premise of ‘financial wellbeing’, our app allows customers to split their money across their spending, saving and investing accounts, and invest in portfolios carefully curated by ikigai. Each customer also gains access to a personal relationship manager, to ensure an entirely personal experience.

Compared to other digital financial platforms, ikigai is a service built for the young and newly affluent – a demographic of people now entering their prime earning and spending years, who want to do more with their money and have specific financial needs that may be too complex for everyday financial services.

Ikigai app

What is your typical customer profile?

As mentioned above, our customers are affluent millennials entering their prime earning years. 

Crucially, they recognise how important their relationship with money is. Unlike previous generations, they approach their wealth as an act of self-care, rather than avarice, which makes them both more financially conscious and financially cautious. 

They want to approach their personal finances and savings goals from a place of mindfulness and intention, with accumulation no longer the sole focus. And they want their wealth to meet their sense of purpose. 

We built ikigai with these reasons in mind, which partly inspired us to choose this name based on a Japanese concept that means “the reason for being”. 

Have you adapted your product in any way as a result of the pandemic?

Having only launched ikigai officially in March, the past year has seen us steadily building our product and service into something we know our customers will love.

If anything the pandemic has only made us realise more the importance and demand for a product such as ikigai. As Covid-19 has disrupted people’s lifestyles and livelihoods, the need to maintain financial stability and wellbeing has never been more important and people want an easy way to manage their finances. 

On top of this, lockdown has forced us to distance ourselves from others with limited social interactions. As such, we believe that our high-touch relationship managers are a welcome addition for our customers wanting to build a connection with their money and wealth. 

Why should financial wellbeing be a concern for employers? 

Over half of UK employees admit that money matters are the leading cause of their stress, which in turn costs companies an equivalent of 13-17% of payroll due to distraction, absenteeism and attrition. And poor financial health is not about income or seniority: those that earn between £10-30k per year have almost the same level of financial worries as those earning over £90k per year . Regardless of their paycheck, people don’t know how or where to start when it comes to managing their money. 

Historically employers have offered benefits to cover employee physical health as well as mental health but provided little support for employee financial health besides a paycheck and a pension. As the issue and impact of employee financial health becomes more prevalent, leading companies are starting to step up and provide financial support and guidance to boost their employees’ financial wellbeing as well as their team efficiency and productivity - a win win.

We really appreciate Cristina taking the time to chat with us and sharing the really helpful and interesting insights.

If that got you thinking introspectively about your own finances, check out the ikigai website here for more tips and information to nail your own money management. 

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