Our goal is to eliminate financial illiteracy, one reader at a time.

Photo of Samuel Choi
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Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

CleverMoney | IG: clevermoneycontent Ciaran McKay | IG: cmckay01 | snap: cmckay22 Samuel Choi | IG: samuel.choi1999 | snap: samuelchoi1999

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

During my time in middle school I was given the opportunity by my dad to read a book about investing and personal finance. To pique my interest, he promised to pay me a dollar for each page read. I would also have to give him a report of what I learned. Soon after reading this book, I became very interested in the world of investment. It excited me to gain knowledge which before seemed to be reserved as a subject of adult conversation. As I began to absorb more information on the principles of personal finance, I discussed with my peers what I was learning. It seemed to me that no one my age was interested and that almost no one else was taking action using these crucial skills. I did some research and my suspicions were confirmed: only about 7% of individuals under the age of 18 start saving for their future. I saw this as an opportunity to educate my fellow peers on these vital habits.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

One of the biggest problems that faces the youth of today is financial illiteracy. In a world where fiscal responsibility is becoming more and more important, the majority of teenagers in America do not know the basics to make sound financial decisions for their future. Our generation is not properly equipped to navigate the financial quagmires of tomorrow. We want to educate our peers on how to take control of their future.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The problem isn’t that people aren't doing enough to make teenagers financially literate. A plethora of resources are available to educate and equip our youth to become fiscally responsible. The problem is that not enough students are aware about these resources or interested enough to learn these crucial concepts. Student loans, credit card debt, retirement savings — these are all concepts that everybody should be educated about at an early age in order to navigate the increasingly complex financial landscape of today. We want to create a content-based platform that helps educate our peers on being financially responsible. We want to distribute engaging content that will continue to be an informative source of financial advice and news, from the perspective of teenagers. We want to present users on a constant basis with practical money advice and content that will provide a fresh perspective on current financial events and issues. We will be a lens through which people can become financially secure and educated. The end result? An entire generation of youth empowered to make sound financial decisions.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Initially, we want to get users to subscribe to our newsletters. We would do so through word of mouth, promotion at our schools, and efforts to raise awareness online through social media and advertising. Once someone subscribes, they would start receiving an informative, engaging newsletter. Our end goal is to allow users to get engaged with the entirety of our platform. Through our email newsletter, we can promote our mobile app and website through which users can catch up on past newsletters, engage with other members of the community, and view curated content that gives them step by step instructions on things such as opening an IRA account. We want our users to consistently return to us for constantly updating financial insight and advice.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our emphasis is sustainability. To create a consistent user base, we will strive to present informative content which engages users and encourages repeat consumption. We believe that personally interacting with our users is just as important as producing quality material. Our end goal is to attract users to not only the valuable information in front of them, but to also to engage directly in the content creation process. Other programs similar to our service do not provide the entertainment factor of having palpable and interactive personalities directly presenting content to them.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Going back to the personal experience that was previously discussed, the impact that learning financial skills have made on me is quite extensive. I worked throughout high school and managed to save a few thousand dollars. I became self-taught on how to properly budget my expenses and invest most of my savings for my future and developed confidence in my future. I established a long term approach to my expenses and costs and have tried to apply a "cost-benefit analysis" when approaching any decision involving my money. I try to see the future dollar value of my purchases in terms of what they'd be worth if I would've invested the money instead of spending it. There is much more I would like to share and my hope for CleverMoney is that other individuals will be able to effortlessly gain the knowledge that I learned gradually and painstakingly over time.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

In conjunction with our efforts to promote our newsletter and to grow our reader base, we will also focus on cultivating our digital footprint through the creation of an app and website. If the newsletter is a service that provides condensed, bite-sized content, the website and app would provide in depth information and how-tos on topics such as investing and student loans. Users would be able to submit questions, comments, and feedback. We would address user input through our newsletter and media content hosted on our platform. One of our top priorities is to engage users as much as possible. Whether it be through articles, videos, and livestreams on our website, app, or newsletter, we want users to feel engaged.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Our primary sources of funding will initially be from family, friends, and ourselves. We will eventually pursue sponsorships from different institutions as well. Our platform is sponsorship-friendly and we plan to collaborate with a variety of different funding streams. Our goal is to become an organization that is sustained by user donations and company backing. We also foresee the possibility of conveniently implementing ads as a source of revenue when our user traffic becomes heavier and more sustained. We want to aggressively pursue not just monetary sponsorships, but also media coverage from organizations interested in promoting our cause.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

At its heart, CleverMoney is service that aims to constantly educate, inform, and engage an audience of young adults interested in taking control of their financial future. We want to create a large and active user base that not only are avid consumers of our content, but are also active contributors to our platform. CleverMoney is about content creation. Our aim isn’t just to craft and promote our own narrative. We want to give a voice to many other men and women with brilliant ideas that can change the world. The CleverMoney platform can be used to easily promote the movements and ideals of other young changemakers all around the world. Our advantage lies in the constant flow of content that we will be outputting. Our goal to empower and inform our readers, not just financially, but in every aspect of their lives. Whether it be a program that promotes healthy living, or a movement dedicated to empowering women in STEM fields, CleverMoney is ready to promote, contribute, and encourage the many movements that seek to change our world for the better.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 42.9%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 28.6%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 14.3%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 42.9%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 28.6%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 14.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 42.9%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 28.6%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 14.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 33.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 71.4%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Armani Simmons

I definitely see a few intersections where our projects can collaborate. I am on a mission to help the less fortunate become more financially and technologically literate and I see that you have similar values. Kudos on all of your accomplishments.

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