If you feel like your financial life is a mess, Tina Hay says grab a napkin. Her company, Napkin Finance, sets out to explain even the most complex monetary concepts - not with figures, but stick figures.
"So I'm a visual thinker as are most people,” Hay says. “Visual thinking is very classic concept. Mozart, Einstein, da Vinci, all used visual images to solve problems."
Since launching her first napkin on compound interest, her company has created over 100 more, serving up something for every appetite.
"Debt, budgeting, saving, to ETFs, 401ks,” Hay says.
Simple does not come easy. Once her team chooses a topic, it can take months of back and forth with illustrators to pare the idea down to a simple square.
Of course a napkin can only soak up so much information, so don't expect to earn a pocket-sized MBA. Think of it more as a 101.
"It's a great first step, and there's more options in case you are interested in the next step,” Hay says.
Additional content on the site includes videos, podcasts and an extensive glossary touching on everything from APR to Yields.
While originally geared toward young professionals, the free content has attracted a wide audience of all ages and backgrounds. Even Michelle Obama took note, partnering with the company to create a FAFSA napkin as part of her "Better Make Room" initiative. That set a whole new ball in motion.
"We've grown from the FAFSA napkin to a whole set of courses for paying for college, saving, different options, student loans,” Hay says.
Although they do print some of the napkins, mostly as a novelty, the core curriculum can be found online, with a menu divided by topic or by life events.
For more information visit napkinfinance.com.