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Tanya Menendez and Pamela Martinez shared two things in common that led to them launching the Snowball Wealth app back in 2022: Both women had over a decade of experience in tech and finance, and they were both part of immigrant families.
Snowball Wealth, a financial tracking and education app with an emphasis on bringing people together, set out to bridge the gap in financial literacy for historically underrepresented communities. Not only does the app give users a clear picture of their current finances by letting them monitor linked bank accounts, but it also provides educational tools and money challenges to help them build a better future.
The soul of Snowball Wealth lies in its community-driven chat feature, which allows users to connect and talk about all things money. "Pam and I both were excited to create a platform that made wealth building exciting and accessible," Menendez tells CNBC Select. "We found that the community aspect was a key piece in reducing shame [and] anxiety, and we saw that our community members were more inspired and feeling less isolated."
Below, we take a closer look at how Snowball Wealth was created, what the app offers its users, plus app details like pricing and availability.
Menendez and Martinez drew on their firsthand experiences when creating Snowball Wealth.
Martinez, who immigrated from Mexico, remembers helping her parents with basic personal finance tasks such as applying for a credit card and getting a mortgage. Menendez recalls her parents facing similar financial challenges after they immigrated from Central America. And although Menendez's parents managed to purchase a home, they didn't invest anywhere else outside of real estate.
"I've noticed in my coaching that the most confident investor is the person that says, 'I'm just doing what my dad did' or they've been thinking about investing since they were two years old," Menendez says. "That just isn't the experience of the majority of people, but that also doesn't mean we can't change that."
Before sparking change, however, Menendez and Martinez knew securing funding would be a hurdle. According to a 2022 report by SomosVC, only 1% of checks written by top VC firms were funded toward Latino/a entrepreneurs between 2007 to 2017. Menendez and Martinez pursued fundraising and partnership opportunities with schools and companies such as the University of California San Diego and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
Snowball Wealth offers an array of features typical of finance apps, but it stands out for its community feature. Users can connect with others, as well as the founders or other specialized experts.
Once you open the app and click on the "Community" tab, you'll find a forum filled with various conversations depending on which communities you join (some examples of communities include "Latinx Wealth Builders" and "Ask the Expert").
If you have a financial question, such as savings strategies for short-term goals, you can create a post in the "Ask the Expert" tab and get an answer from the founders or community members qualified to share some expert insight.
Other tools Snowball Wealth offers include:
- Net worth tracker: By linking your financial accounts, you can track the fluctuation of your net worth.
- Money challenges: You can participate in any of the monthly or yearly money challenges. For example, if you're looking to save money, you can track your progress with the "September savings" challenge or the "save $10,000 in 2023" challenge.
- Educational courses: These courses include stories of other community members who've gotten out of debt or who've begun investing for the first time. This feature is only available for the digital subscription, which costs $3.99 per month or $24.99 annually if you want full access.
Here's some further information on the Snowball Wealth app.
For no fee, users can access the in-app community, net worth tracker and money challenges but will have to pay $3.99 per month or $24.99 annually for the digital subscription, which includes full access to the digital courses.
Availability and ratings
The free app can only be downloaded for iOS iPhone users in the Apple app store, however, the website is also mobile-friendly and works on all devices. Snowball Wealth has a 4.6 out of 5 rating (21 reviews) in the app store at the time of writing.
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Snowball Wealth uses a sense of community and other basic finance app features like linking to bank accounts and tracking progress to help people build wealth.
Another finance app aimed at helping underserved communities is the SUMA Wealth app, which is designed for Gen Z Latinos and utilizes gamified tools to make financial planning both engaging and accessible. For no fee, the app allows users to connect their bank accounts and track their expenses, while learning the significance of financial terms like "emergency fund." You can also subscribe to SUMA+ for $9.99 per month and get access to more premium features like personalized A.I. insights and master courses.