This App Will Help You Pay Off Your Student Loans - And Go To Italy

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You’ve heard of budgeting apps, and you’ve probably heard of travel apps, but a new app for women combines the two.

Launching soon, Nav.It will be a platform for women to share and discuss their savings and finances, all with a focus on “true wealth [being] experiential.” “Elevate your life through travel and be prosperous on your own terms,” the website’s homepage reads. “Nav” is short for navigate - as in, the app will help women navigate their life, especially in terms of finances and travel. Erin Papworth came up with the idea for the app, and is now the CEO.

While working in behavioral science and health research for the past 12 years, she learned that women’s access to health services and education parallels a country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). “Young women development became a passion," she said.

In countries like the United States which are experiencing the third wave of feminism, access to health is not necessarily such an issue. "We have more access to rights,” Papworth said. “But now the new thing is financial freedom and having a world we want to live in. This is the issue [Nav.It] wants to address, something that helps women to not only get to their travel goal but also achieve financial savvy.” She is starting with travel as the focus because “it is a key element which represents our financial freedom.” But the app will also help women gain big ticket items, like paying their debt and buying a home.

Photo by Capturing the human heart. on Unsplash

Nav.It will be interactive as well. There is a blog feature written by freelance writers from around the world who contribute content based on their own experiences. At the bottom there will be a “hacks” section and “community feed” where someone could, for example, write about their trip to Greece, share how much they spent, and how they used their budget.

“The whole goal is transparency,” Papworth said. “It’s a ‘practical Instagram.’ Whereas on Instagram you’ll see someone’s vacation photos from Italy but have no idea how they paid for it, when maybe they have thousands of dollars of credit card debt”

The app’s budgeting feature works on some core principles: Don’t spend more than you earn, pay down debt, use debt to build wealth (like a mortgage on a house instead of credit card debt), and be strategic about paying debt. A premium version of the app will let users connect Nav.It to bank accounts.

The app is perfect for college students as well, Papworth added. “Traveling during college age is so much more accessible than when you have kids,” she said. From a travel perspective, it doesn’t take as much money to travel when you’re young. College is when you can get ahead if you know how to manage your finances cause you have so many years to grow wealth, so if you get basics down in college, when you’re 30 you can have great finances and really start a business, you just have more freedom if you start early.”

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

According to Papworth, financial freedom and literacy for women is one of the last frontiers of third wave feminism. She said a lot of financial education and language is centered around men. For example, men are more likely to invest in high risk and high reward (or loss) assets. Those types of investments are the dominant narrative. Women however, are more likely to invest is low risk investments, which ultimately leads to better margins of profit. “We don’t have a vocabulary to talk about this stuff because we’ve never generated copious amounts of our own wealth,” she said.

Overall, the app is redefining what it means to be wealthy. “Women need to have better conversations about independently taking our money and creating wealth,” she said, “and define what true wealth is. Wealth is a new conversation -- we have wealth of community, of family, of travel, it’s not just money. We don’t have to put money in fashion and beauty, we need to talk about what we value.”