Women’s History Month with Frida Leibowitz and Rachel Lauren
- Frida Leibowitz and Rachel Lauren are the two women founders behind Debt Debbie, the first debt to wealth platform in the United States.
- Frida and Rachel have already launched a beta version of Debbie, an app that rewards you for paying off your debt and building healthier financial habits.
- Frida and Rachel met in New York while studying at NYU, where they both experienced financial difficulties. After a few years of working in the financial services industry, they realized they wanted to make a bigger impact by starting a debt-to-wealth company together.
An Introduction to Debbie and the Women Behind the Company
Debbie is the first digital platform that helps people pay off their debt, build better financial habits, and financially reward them as they navigate their debt-free journey. Debbie’s mission is to help borrowers transition into wealth builders. After experiencing debt and financial insecurity with little support, Frida Leibowitz and Rachel Lauren founded Debbie. To celebrate their entrepreneurial journey as two women, we asked them a series of questions about their path to building and launching Debbie.
When did you know you wanted to become a Fintech entrepreneur?
Frida: Growing up, money was a taboo subject, probably because most of the time, we didn’t have much of it. I was raised by an immigrant single mom who had no higher education and no access to financial literacy. As a young adult, I fell into the same cycle and struggled with debt and poor money habits.
I wanted to make a difference in this space, so I joined one of the leading consumer digital banks to help build out better products. I was quickly frustrated by the lack of empathy that the financial industry exhibited towards those in debt. That’s when I decided to start Debbie- built for borrowers by borrowers.
Rachel: My parents shielded me from conversations about money for most of my life, up until I got to college, and it became too difficult to do it anymore. College was incredibly expensive, and my father, the breadwinner, lost his job during my freshman year. That’s when I realized my parents were mostly paying for college out of their retirement savings, which were mostly held in stocks rather than less risky investments.
Not only that, but my father had basically invested the equivalent of my college tuition ($250k) into my uncle’s failed alternative energy company, a sum of money we could not afford to lose. When you realize your parents don’t have it all figured out is really scary because not only do you now have to fend for yourself, but you also have to make sure they’ll be in an ok place.
My parents gave me everything I could hope for, but building generational wealth was not something they were able to accomplish.
What challenges have you faced on your entrepreneurship journey?
Frida: Getting started was by far the hardest part. We spent months working on our idea without seeing any results. We would put together websites, slide decks, zoom events, and most of them initially failed.
Sometimes we would even take breaks for weeks at a time. But we got back up and got back to it. The trick is to find a very strong source of motivation and be laser-focused on the mission- when you really believe in what you’re doing, you will find a way to make it happen!
Rachel: Hiring! Finding the right people to work with and rely on is both one of the hardest and most rewarding things. People move the company forward more than ideas or markets.
How can women become fiscally savvy and prioritize their financial health?
Frida: You have to face your fears and crush them. For me, my childhood taught me to be afraid of money, to avoid checking my bank accounts, and generally to deal with it as little as possible. After a long healing journey and a lot of hard work, I learned that I can be in control of my money destiny, and I am no longer afraid!
Rachel: I think women are more naturally risk-averse than men, for the most part. This also means we're more prone to save, not invest, not try to shoot for higher heights. It does mean our lows aren’t as low, but even getting started investing in low-risk or easy/diversified assets (like the SPY) can make wealth-building more accessible to women.
Why is it vital for you to help other women learn about finances or access financial resources?
Frida: As someone who’s worked in the financial services space, I’ve learned that the majority of our financial products are designed and built by men. I’ve started exploring more and am slowly meeting more and more boss financial expert women who are bringing a whole new fresh perspective to this space. That perspective is driving more innovation, and better products for so many people- the more women we have, the better off financial services will be!
Rachel: Look at all the Superbowl ads this year! Everything finance-related was about crypto, or what I call solving champagne problems (i.e. finding new cool assets to invest in). Most women are trying to get their house in order, their budget, and cash management plan - we want to help them crawl, then walk, and then run.
Crypto-investing is great, but we want to help uplift women from a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle first.
The Future of Debbie
Debbie doesn’t believe in quick fixes concerning debt elimination. Studies show that more than 50% of people who consolidate their credit cards end up in the same level of credit card debt in less than a year. But, if you’re looking to build better habits and get rich slowly, Debbie can help you.
Therefore, if you are looking for a product that understands the debt cycle and supports your debt-free journey, Debbie may be right for you. Debbie’s waitlist is open for new members to join today!
Recommended Read: Should I Consolidate My Credit Card Debt?
What do you think about women building the future of financial products? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.