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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Thompson

My parents struggle became my mission

by Stephen Martiros

My dad emigrated to the United States as a child, and neither of my parents went to college, so making financial decisions wasn’t easy.

They didn't know what questions to ask.

The terminology was confusing.

There were too many choices.

Fees were hard to understand.

And the paperwork was a burden.

My parents didn't know who to trust and couldn't afford an advisor. Over the years, I became a sort of shepherd to guide my parents and other family members on their own financial paths.

My early exposure to helping my parents with their personal finances influenced my entire life. I earned an undergrad degree and MBA from Babson College with concentrations in finance. I started my career as a stockbroker. Eventually, I had an opportunity to manage a private knowledge network for family offices, and I currently serve as an independent consultant, trustee, and board member for several family offices and foundations.

Over the last decade, I’ve taught personal finance to a wide range of people. From college students figuring out their future, to formerly incarcerated people re-entering the workforce, to highly successful executives working on their next chapter, I have found one thing in common: a consistent lack of knowledge about personal finance and investments.

Regardless of someone’s education, income, wealth level, or family circumstances it’s hard for people to feel confident making financial decisions if they don't have foundational knowledge. The financial service industry is just too complex. There are unlimited choices, all kinds of rules and guidelines, specific mathematical concepts, and highly technical language and terminology.

On top of all that, financial education comes in many forms from a wide variety of sources, some of which are in the business of selling financial products, advertisements, or user data. Therefore, it can be hard to know what to trust, how to connect the dots, and how to put everything into context.

So, going back to my roots and remembering the challenges my family faced, I decided to create a source of unbiased financial knowledge to help people navigate their own financial lives. It's called Kindros, which is a combination of the words “kindred” (a group of related individuals…like a family) and “logos” (the Greek word for logic or reason).

After many years working on Kindros in the lab (ok, more like in my basement, the Sherborn and Natick public libraries, many Dunkin' and Starbucks locations around greater Boston, and on zillions of Zoom calls), we finally began piloting our online financial knowledge platform with a handful of colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

What we discovered was an amazingly collaborative and engaged group of administrators and students all willing to offer guidance and feedback to help make the Kindros platform better. We also learned that both the problems, and the opportunities for change, are far greater than we expected.

So, rather than feeling like we finally launched, I feel like we just got started. I am very grateful for everyone's patience and support, but especially thankful for my wife and children, who allowed me to pursue my passion (and who listened to my endless ideas) without question or judgment. 


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