Earning, saving, investing. These are the three critical financial lessons every parent is expected to have taught their child by the time they leave the nest. Mechanisms such as pocket money have historically been used to teach young people the value of the change in their pocket. In a time where access to information, and the prospect of misusing money online, are greater than ever, there comes a moment to ask whether traditional parenting tactics are fit for purpose. Moreover, these idealized nuclear family-like arrangements are often argued to be unrepresentative of the economic reality for many Americans.
Put simply; some families don’t have the money to adequately cope with the cost of living, let alone financially empower their children. Daricus Releford, the founder of StoreCash, believes these underrepresented communities are let down by the lack of investment and financial literacy among their people. If the working adults in a group are not practicing those three key acts of fiscal responsibility, how is the next generation ever going to graduate beyond their social class and achieve their potential?
Earning is, of course, the first step, but not the one that the majority appear to be having difficulty with. Saving, however, is the primary lesson that StoreCash aims to teach and incentivize. At first glance, it’s a bank like any other, but neo-banking affords accessibility that brick and mortar fails to provide for many. Currently only available to some 50,000 applicants on its waitlist with a nationwide launch anticipated, StoreCash allows anyone over 13 to save on its platform. Users are also sent cards in the mail to perfectly replicate the independent experience of traditional banking.
Incentivization is where StoreCash begins to differentiate itself, though. In a move aimed at Millennials and Generation Z, the app offers up to 15% off at some of the nation’s most popular stores, including Sephora and FootLocker. Seems straightforward on its face, but actually, this form of passive income is ideal for galvanizing the younger generation into financial education. “StoreCash allows underbanked people to save money in places they already spend that they can then use to invest,” Releford summarises.
The investment aspect is where users have the most freedom. By that point, StoreCash intends for them to have learned lessons in financial responsibility and make educated decisions. An exemplification of this comes by way of Daricus Releford’s journey with StoreCash. While working in a prestigious role at a top tech company in Silicon Valley, Releford was contacted by his nephew, Wil, in need of some funds for a laptop, which Releford found he could not provide due to Wil’s age. While this spurred the birth of StoreCash, it also proves the thesis on which it was founded: young people can make intelligent decisions with money. They just need the tools and the funds to do so.
Releford is keen for StoreCash’s toolset to expand beyond simply the platform, too. “We want to provide underbanked people with the analytics and suggestions required to mark smart, financially literate decisions,” he outlines. This use case forms the basis for the team’s ambition to reach two million users in the next two to three years. If Releford can ensure that each user can make at least $50 a month from the platform, he’ll generate $1.2bn a year in wealth for others. And, it follows, he’ll be a happy man.
Furthermore, Daricus Releford’s background before founding StoreCash is inspirational evidence for the wealth-creating potential of young black people. With a mother in the military and a father suffering from a drug problem, Daricus and his brother made the decision to help out the family’s finances. Their initial business generated $3800 in its first summer, followed by $5200 in its second, eventually leading to a concession stand and then a multimillion-dollar chocolate-covered strawberry business – all valuable credentials for founding a start-up off the back of Silicon Valley employment.
The only point left unaddressed is Releford’s deep connection to the African-American community. They, like young people, are systematically underbanked and form much of the basis of StoreCash’s motivation. Releford knows that the community needs two things to escape its financial constraints: trust and capital. He aims to represent them in a way that brick and mortar banks currently don’t, in the hope that that will evoke trust and encourage access to the perks that StoreCash provides.
StoreCash, it seems, aims to exert nobility and generosity in a way the broader American public no longer believes is possible in a traditional bank. By proving to young people that there is a benefit to saving their money, Daricus Releford hopes his app will lift the social barriers young and underrepresented populations face in a future-proof way.