Phroogal Helps Millennials Live their Dreams

Thirty-day road trip spreads the financial education gospel.

July 21, 2015

Jason Vitug was a rising star at a Silicon Valley credit union when he realized he was living life without a purpose.

He resigned from his job and took off on a 20-country backpacking trip around the world in 2012.

It was during that trip that he had an “a-ha” moment: Give millennials financial information in bite-sized, easily absorbable pieces to help them make better financial decisions—and live their dreams.

When people lack access to personal finance information, they often make poor choices, “preventing them from living their dream lifestyle,” Vitug says.

In October 2013, Vitug created Phroogal, a digital platform that crowd sources and curates financial information to help consumers make better financial decisions. Nearly 600 people worldwide contributed $78,501 via a crowd-funding website to launch the initiative.

Although the website is geared toward millennials, the information it provides pertains to all consumers.

Vitug says Phroogal is built on a philosophy of helping consumers live out their dreams by prioritizing what they love and need over wants and likes. It encourages people to live life by being savvy with their money as a result of having better access to financial information and making better financial decisions.

At Phroogal, users can find answers to financial questions, search for financial products and find tools to connect with trusted resources or experts.

Phroogal recently concluded a 30-day “Road to Financial Wellness” road trip that began in Portland, Maine, June 1 and ended in Los Angeles June 30.

The goal: participate in 30 events in 30 locations nationwide over 30 days to start a national conversation about financial well-being.

While each stop was slightly different, Vitug says the goal remained the same: To partner with community and financial organizations to provide financial education to consumers.

“I knew that in order to get 20- to 38-year-olds interested in money and connect it to how they live their lives, we needed to do something pretty drastic and epic,” Vitug says.

At each stop, Vitug told his personal story of recovering from financial ruin and the resources and tools that helped him do so. There is also a seminar focusing on identifying a person’s relationship with and views on money, as well as a portion that allowed attendees to share their stories.

Plus, representatives from community and financial organizations were on hand to address questions.

“This event was important because it highlights the nature of credit unions to be involved with their members on a personal basis by collaborating with community resources,” says Helen Gibson, vice president of marketing and education for Denver Community Credit Union, which helped sponsor an event.

At a stop in Cheyenne, Wyo., Vitug saw first-hand how financial education doesn’t pertain solely to millennials. 

Six hundred people attended the event, which was held as part of Warren Federal Credit Union’s annual meeting.

Most people in the crowd didn’t fall into the demographic Phroogal targets, but Vitug says he heard from many how the financial tips he gave helped them to either prepare for retirement or enjoy it more.

“It was the oldest crowd we’ve spoken with, but they connected to our message,” Vitug says. “That made me realize the message about achieving the dream lifestyle and access to financial tools crosses generations.”

For additional resources, review CUNA's marketing and member education page.