The Lifetise story
Stories are important. They help us make sense of who we are and where we’re going.
We want you to feel confident when you look into the future, and when you think about the next big decision in your life. Too often financial decisions can make us feel a bit lost, or that we’ve somehow fallen behind where we should be, or we’re not sure what we should be doing. The thing is, pretty much everyone feels the same way – we just don’t talk about it enough.
That’s why we build tools to help you understand your money better and make plans that will let you afford the things you want in life.
Stories are at the heart of it for us. We talk a lot about wanting to help our members create their life stories — so here’s ours.
Where it all began
As Eighties kids, when we were thinking of ways to help people figure out how to afford their lives, we naturally thought of the Game of Life.
For anyone who’s never played it, this is a board game where you move your little peg people around in a car, all the time making life choices and coping with random life events happening to you. The winner is the player who makes it through to retirement with the most money.
That seemed a perfect model for what we were trying to do, but of course it needed to be brought up to date. So we had the idea to create a fully interactive game simulating life – something like The Sims for your real life. A world where you can play out different life scenarios and see how they impact your finances and your happiness.
Perfect! The only problem was that it would have cost $100 million to develop something on that scale. For some reason, no-one wanted to hand over that kind of budget and there wasn’t enough money down the back of our sofas. Instead, we’ve used that inspiration to make fun-to-play-with tools that help you with specific life decisions.
We don’t shy away from a challenge, so we started with the hardest problem first. How can we help more people afford to buy a home?
For most people, buying a house is the single most expensive purchase of their lives, so it’s a pretty big deal. We know from our own experience, and our friends, that the idea of getting on the property ladder can feel out of reach for a lot of us. No-one really talks about how long it takes to save for a deposit, or how much mortgage they can borrow. So it can be difficult to know where to start.
We deliberately designed Homefinder to feel like an exploration, to give a sense of hope and possibilities. We want you to play around with the numbers and the map, to see what your options are. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to take you a few years to save enough for your deposit, or if your first choice area is too expensive. The only thing that matters is that you’ve created a plan for yourself and you’ve taken that first important step.
We don’t have kids, but lots of our friends have young children. In most of the families we know, both parents work, which means that they need to find childcare. We hadn’t quite appreciated what a huge cost childcare can be – particularly when children are still babies. We wanted to build a tool to help calculate the costs at different stages of a child’s life.
Again, we want to help you explore all your options. So we don’t assume that one parent will work full-time and the other will work part-time. Maybe both of you want to do 4 days a week?!
We’ve also included grandparents as a childcare option. You’d be amazed at how many of our members have used both Homefinder and Childminder together to see how much they could save if they moved near the grandparents and got some free help a few days a week!
You’ve asked for more, so we’re building it.
We’ve just released our new dashboard for Homefinder, which walks you through all the steps in buying a home. From getting a mortgage in principle, to paying your stamp duty all the way through to exchange and completion.
A mobile version of Homefinder will be ready soon, so you can do more life planning without having to leave your sofa!
Then we’re working on something that ties everything together. It’s under wraps right now, but it will help you understand how multiple life decisions affect your finances. So you can map out the life you want and we’ll show you how to afford it. If you want to see it before we release it to the world, become a Lifetise member and you’ll get early access.
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A final word from us
2019 was another fantastic year for Lifetise. We graduated from the Accenture Fintech accelerator, where we met lots of banks and insurance companies. Talking to them about the financial help that people need and looking at ways to partner, so that you get can get access to Lifetise tools through your bank.
2020 is about growth and building even more tools for you, to help with things like paying down debt, planning for bigger purchases (holidays, cars, festivals, education).
We’re excited about all the plans we have this year and we’re grateful for your continued support.
Caroline and Nick