CAMBRIDGE, Mass., January 26, 2022 (Newswire.com) - Today, Sagewell Financial announces the launch of the first online banking platform dedicated to helping older Americans better prepare for and manage their money in retirement. Sagewell Financial offers a host of new financial products built for seniors, access to a Retirement Advocate, and a personalized service model designed specifically to address the needs of older adults who are often overlooked in the online banking community.
Sagewell Financial recognizes that older adults face increasingly complex choices to achieve financial security — including understanding Social Security and fixed-income sources, maximizing retirement account investments, selection and funding of healthcare expenses, and tapping into available senior savings and benefits. Sagewell Members have unlimited access to a dedicated Retirement Advocate to help them navigate their financial choices, in addition to the fairest online banking features: a checking account with no monthly fees, no minimum balance, free electronic checks, over 55,000 free ATMs, and advanced fraud protection. Sagewell Financial has been built from the ground up to be the ideal financial services partner for seniors. Guided by WCAG and WAI-ARIA best practices for website accessibility, the Sagewell Financial team worked with accessibility experts who helped build healthcare.gov and others to design an inclusive and accessible financial platform for all members.
Get a Paycheck in Retirement
Sagewell's first product MyPaycheck is a complimentary, exclusive solution that provides Members with their retirement income more consistently — and up to two weeks sooner — than they normally would. MyPaycheck consolidates a Member's fixed-income streams such as a pension, Social Security, and insurance payouts into a regular, bi-weekly check, providing both peace of mind and better cash management for Members.
Access Untapped Seniors Savings
There are $30 billion of unused seniors savings available through government or social services benefits. Sagewell Financial is continuously thinking about how to save our Members money by renegotiating rates for services, insurance, and other fixed costs, implementing proactive fraud detection, and facilitating applications to available benefits.
Your Personal Retirement Advocate
Local bank branches are closing at a record rate during COVID-19, with more than 3,700 local offices shutting their doors in 2020. The Federal Reserve has said that "physical bank branches may serve as important channels for soft information and pre-existing relationships,"1 and seniors are among the communities most impacted by the loss of trusted personal banking resources. Sagewell has created a unique customer service model that pairs each Member with a dedicated U.S.-based Retirement Advocate. The Advocate supports their checking account needs, finds saving opportunities, and provides support for Medicare, Social Security, and other topics essential to older adults.
Customers can connect with their Advocates through video or audio chats as much or as little as needed but can always count on having a single source of support for their specific goals. Retirement Advocates are trained to assist Members with many of the common financial challenges they face, including:
- Access to Medicare options
- Setting up and managing their fixed-income stream with MyPaycheck
- Uncovering money-saving state or government programs
- Hassle-free insurance quotes from the company's trusted insurance exchange partner
A suite of additional new products and services is slated for rollout in the coming months.
"The vast majority of older Americans do not have a financial plan or access to financial expertise to ensure their financial security and independence. Moreover, online banking tools built in Silicon Valley are just not being built for people over 65, and banks are closing local branches and introducing fees, ending decades-long personal financial relationships that matter to older adults," said Sam Zimmerman, co-founder and CEO of Sagewell Financial. "Seniors have needs not met by the online banking revolution, and we've seen this firsthand with our parents and during the hundreds of hours we've spent interviewing seniors. The same stories continue to emerge — retirees have bills that could be reduced, or they miss savings opportunities and are confused and concerned about spam or fraud emails filling their inboxes. We are solving those challenges with Sagewell Financial."
Leadership and Experience
Sagewell's Boston-area founders bring a unique understanding of the challenges facing seniors and the experience to truly implement change. Zimmerman is a repeat entrepreneur who has worked at the NASA Research Center and served as an advisor to financial services environmental startups RisQ and Energetic Insurance. Most recently, Zimmerman served as CTO of PathCheck Foundation, the world's largest nonprofit open-sourced project for COVID-19 contact tracing and vaccine passport solutions. It has become the official app in five U.S. states and territories and is supported by over 3,000 volunteers around the world. Previously, Zimmerman co-founded and was the CTO of Freebird, a unique consumer travel insurance startup acquired by Capital One in August 2020.
Co-founder and COO Jeff Wright has spent nearly two decades developing financial products with Liberty Mutual Insurance and Plymouth Rock Assurance. He also served as the VP of Usage-Based Insurance for Cambridge-based startup TrueMotion (acquired by Cambridge Mobile Telematics.)
"Ten thousand Americans turn 65 every day and one in three boomers have no retirement savings, yet for some reason, retirees are not a priority for the technology or financial industry. With Sagewell, we hope to change that by leveraging the convenience and speed of digital banking and combined with a rich set of features customized to meet the specific needs of this underserved, rapidly expanding population," said Wright.
Sagewell is backed by Primetime Partners, 25Madison, PJC, SixThirty, TTV, Clocktower, Crossbeam, and Gaingels and has recently closed the largest seed round of financing in the senior finance space.
"Social Security checks are being pushed later each month, the CPI adjustments are lagging behind, and prices are rising rapidly. This is creating a perfect storm for a real cash-management challenge among millions of seniors. Sagewell Financial is helping to stem the tide by helping older adults stretch their income, optimize their savings, and avoid penalties and fees," said Abby Miller Levy, Managing Partner and co-founder at Primetime Partners. "For many seniors, a service like Sagewell may make the difference between maintaining their standard of living and falling behind."
"I've been a Sagewell member for a while now. My Retirement Advocate, Danielle, really cares and has been very helpful in answering my questions. I enrolled in MyPaycheck because I love getting my social security payments early and more regularly." — Randolph C., 62, South Carolina
About Sagewell Financial
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sagewell is a team of technology, insurance, financial services, and operations professionals passionate about changing the financial landscape for older people in this country. Its members have created new products for some of the world's biggest banks and insurance companies and spent careers building and implementing technologies for nations, states, and even NASA. Now, they're using that experience to solve one of the most glaring problems of our time — the financial crisis faced every day by nearly 60 million Americans.
Elizabeth Yekhtikian for Sagewell Financial
1 Bank Branches and COVID-19: Where are Banks Closing Branches during the Pandemic?
Source: Sagewell Financial