Genevieve Ryan Bellaire, Realworld Founder and CEO, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss her platform that provides step-by-step instructions on navigating five major adulthood topics: finance, healthcare, work, government, and life - with a subtopics that range from opening a Roth IRA to paying taxes.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Turning our attention to something far more pleasant, and that would have to be the adjustment that people make into becoming full-blown adults, managing the debt, the stresses of the work world, as well as figuring out-- as we're doing right now here at Verizon Media Group-- our health care options. It's not easy.
So we bring into the stream right now to discuss millennials and their money-- and those of us who are Gen X or Gen Z or whatever-- Genevieve Ryan Bellaire. She is the Realworld founder and CEO, joining us from New York, New York.
Gotta tell you, your realworldplaybook.com platform might be targeted for younger people, but for those of us who are 50-plus, it's a godsend. Because even though I've done it for 30-plus years, choosing the options in health care, what a nightmare. So where did you get the idea to do this?
GENEVIEVE RYAN BELLAIRE: Thanks so much, Adam. Thanks for having me today.
I mean, like most startups, Realworld really began with the personal experience of the problem. So I was really lucky to have an amazing education. I'm a lawyer by background, so I actually went to grad school and got my JD and my MBA. But I found that when I actually started working and had to choose that health care plan, had to set up my own finances, figure out my taxes, I was educated, but just totally unprepared to make those different decisions. And so was pretty much everybody else I spoke to. It was kind of this generational problem
JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, although, as Adam points out, it's definitely not limited to a particular generation. What are you finding people need the most help with? What sort of sectors on your site get the most traffic and the most questions?
GENEVIEVE RYAN BELLAIRE: Yeah, it's a great question. You know, when we built the product initially, we actually sat down and talked to thousands of recent college grads and people who were figuring out these different questions across their health care, their finances, and we really identified five major topic areas that were really most in need. So finances, health care, work-related questions-- like employment paperwork-- understanding government obligations, and then sort of your living situation most generally.
And within there, since we launched, what we've really seen is, people just want to know how to budget. They want to know how to deal with employer paperwork, these documents they get from their job. So a lot of the basics that, if you get it right, can be really helpful for you, but, if you get it wrong, can be really devastating. So starting there.
ADAM SHAPIRO: And you present this in a video kind of form on all kinds of topics, create a budget, a mental health check-in, your health insurance options. Who does the videos? Are they one-minute kind of things, or are they more in-depth, 5-, 10-minute kinds of things?
GENEVIEVE RYAN BELLAIRE: Great question. So we really wanted to create a format that resonated with Gen Z and resonated with millennials. And as you know, this is the TikTok generation, so it's all about short-form content. We found that what was out there already were lots of documents and sort of long-form articles that just didn't really resonate. So we created these really pithy, short-form, 30-second to three minutes or so animated videos that actually went through each of these different topics. And we built them all in house across all those topics I mentioned before.
But what we found was that-- you know, we initially were really focused on educating people across these topics, but the need and the desire was so much more about taking action here and actually figuring out, OK, it's great to learn what credit is and how credit cards work, but how can I actually get one? How do I decide the right one for me?
So we evolved our product over time-- in addition to those videos-- to really create this sort of function we call playbooks, which are basically step-by-step, logic-based flows that, in addition to educational information, include vocabulary, documents, vetted service providers across categories, benchmarks, and really provide everything in sort of a step-by-step manner to really resonate with this generation.
- So it sounds like you have a lot of self-directed, self-paced learning on your site, but you yourself trained to be an expert advisor. So if I go through the site and I get to the point where I'm like, well, now I actually need a lawyer, do you guys provide that as well?
GENEVIEVE RYAN BELLAIRE: So, right now, we're really focused on the fundamentals for young people as they're starting out. But our vision, to your point exactly, is really to be that one-stop shop for every life moment and every sort of adulting question you may have. So whether that's finding a lawyer or an accountant or wealth advisor or really even figuring out some of those bigger-life moments-- like buying your first house, getting married, having kids-- where there's so many questions to ask and you might not even know where to start, our vision is really to be able to incorporate those experts along the way.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Sounds like a great platform. I'm just thinking here that for the 50-plus, as they go through the first rounds of divorces, you might want to do [? an ?] [? open ?] platform. I'll keep my day job, and I won't go do humor. Genevieve Ryan Bellaire, Realworld founder and CEO, thank you so much for joining us.