Meet The Beans

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When our founder and CEO, Melissa Pancoast, was a teacher, she noticed that her community’s stress, from the teachers’ lounge to her students’ parents, had financial roots.

When our founder and CEO, Melissa Pancoast, was a teacher, she noticed that her community’s stress, from the teachers’ lounge to her students’ parents, had financial roots. She was bothered that many of her friends were working long hours and not able to enjoy their hard-earned income. 

It’s probably not surprising that money is currently ranked as the number one cause of stress in the U.S., surpassing health, family, and even work. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey, despite lower post-recession stress levels, many Americans continue to feel substantial stress about money.

After teaching, coaching, and working in education policy, Melissa followed her concerns to graduate school where she studied financial behavior at The University of Oxford. Upon graduating, she joined a team of researchers designing and testing programs that aim to reduce stress for families. Working with a talented team under Dr. Lucie Cluver, Melissa proposed and developed a series of “Economic Strengthening” workshops to address the financial weight families feel. These workshops combined strategies tested in communities around the world with a new component—Visual Financial Planning.

This new component was inspired by the time Melissa spent as a math teacher. Visual Financial Planning uses creativity and visual representations of money to make financial planning more interesting and accessible. 

Melissa saw that the Economic Strengthening workshops were popular and effective. She hoped to make the experience accessible to more people, and realized that it could be done at scale with technology while maintaining a human touch. 

At the time, San Francisco was the best place to start a tech company. Melissa moved there and lived on a friend’s couch, “with no money, no network, and enormous student loans.”  The Beans was born amidst managing her money in a new city. The company is named in honor of the dried beans used in Visual Financial Planning and serves as a reminder of her time in South Africa. 

Since leaving Oxford, Economic Strengthening has been tested in numerous RCTs and has been proven effective in reducing financial stress and abuse in families. It is now part of an intervention that has been rolled out by the World Health Organization and United Nations to 400,000 families in 22 countries.  

Who We Are

Today our mission stays true to The Beans’s founding philosophy: Simplify the path to financial balance through design and technology, so that people can stress less about money and focus on what they love. 

“Psychology and technology are used in marketing to get us to spend money, in ways that don’t help us achieve financial success. We’re flipping the script so people can protect their own best interests and find financial balance,” Melissa explained. 

Maybe you’re a teacher who wants to save more but is held back by high costs of living, or a young doctor struggling to pay off student debt. With The Beans, you can manage your monthly expenses and achieve your financial goals.  

What We Do

Research shows that having a plan, having some savings, and saving and spending according to your values are key steps to financial wellness. We used these proven, evidence-based solutions to build The Beans. 

We build personalized, visual financial Plans and help you stick with them through positive, proactive messages. As you reach financial milestones, your Plan will evolve to support your efforts toward savings, debt pay-off, and growth, to strengthen your relationship with your money. 

The Beans is a simple, effective way to manage your money and follow your passion. 

“We get more joy for each dollar we spend in alignment with our personal values — that’s what we want, we want you to get more joy per dollar,” Melissa said.

How It Works

To get started with The Beans:

  1. Download the app and create an account for free.
  2. Answer a few questions about your lifestyle/goals and securely connect your bank accounts. 
  3. We’ll create a personalized Plan designed around principles proven to improve financial wellness.
  4. You personalize your financial Plan, commit to it, and we’ll back you up with positive, proactive support.
  5. Check in, as you and your finances evolve, so will your Plan.

We’re with you every step of the way so you can stick to your Plan and continue spending on things that bring you joy. Ready to get started? Download The Beans app and start stressing less,  spending smarter, and doing what you love.