• Nick Nicolaides

Why I'm Founding Pearler - Nick

Updated: Jul 24

I work hard and get fairly remunerated for my effort, in a society that does a pretty good job of looking after most of its people. I’ve seen from my family’s migration and three generations of subsequent hard workers that, in Australia, upward financial mobility can be a reality — one of the reasons we are a lucky country.

Over the past few years though, I found myself thinking perhaps my generation and I personally was plateauing — meaning we were working hard but not going anywhere. This forced me to get more disciplined with money to make sure I could look back and have built something in my life.

Kate and our little family Kate and our little family

The Catalyst

I was on my way into work 3 years ago, thinking about my super and (probably foolishly) how I couldn’t find an option for someone with an extreme tolerance for risk over the long term. From memory this tangent had something to do with a newspaper article I’d read about a proposed plan to increase the age you get your super i.e. I may as well gamble it because its too far away to worry about.

That morning I started white boarding… and we kept white boarding until we figured out a plan to help people here and now.

The first whiteboard circa summer 2016 The first whiteboard circa summer 2016

The Situation

Housing affordability, negative gearing, royal commissions and fund returns are all good topics to sell papers and for older Australians to grumble about. I see the bigger problem is generations of fully employed Australians not building savings in a world of cheap credit and ever-growing choices for discretionary spending. Whether it’s an annual overseas trip or avo toast around the corner from home, younger people are working just as hard but have formed different relationships with money.

Basically, there’s a lot of people out there who could do better with their money but lack the confidence or discipline. I was guilty of this, always thinking as I earn more in the future, I’ll be able to save more — It took me a while to realise that the more you earn, the more you tend to just increase your appetite to spend.

Part of the reason for this I think is, because of how hard it seems to take control of your money. It’s easy to keep kicking the can down the road in terms of getting serious about saving and investing. For many others the stakes are higher, bad financial discipline results in declining happiness as financial pressure builds and is passed on to the next generation.

Why is Pearler meaningful to me?

I’ve worked in finance for 12 years and as my 30s approached my friends became more engaged in discussing money with me but also more anxious about their direction. The risks of someone misusing conversational advice are high, so I’d avoid these conversations even though I wanted to help and could confidently say what I’d do if I were them. A little selfishly perhaps, I hope that Pearler will solve this for me.

We also want to help people make informed decisions about other parts of life, like debt consolidation, insurance and home loans. Anything friends, parents and children, or close colleagues might discuss could be validated within Pearler’s network of intimate connections, and then implemented immediately through the platform.

When you know what you need but it's still a mission When you know what you need but it's still a mission

My vision is an ecosystem where people can feel equipped to find their own answers to financial questions. If Pearler makes idea-sharing and incremental investing principles mainstream, it could set the standard for a new kind of financial institution where the financial health of customers is the one metric that matters. We would then look to take this one step further and make charitable investing a mainstream activity with the same goal-based incremental approach that Pearler will be built on — this is our Phase 2. We’re hoping to revolutionise the way people perceive and behave with money, and that’s what really excites me about Pearler.

Nick.

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