Benefits Spotlight Series: Origin

Employee benefits have never been more important. And as companies adjust to the new reality brought about by COVID-19, employers and employees alike are beginning to identify gaps in their benefits programs.

There are a multitude of vendors in the marketplace that offer niche, yet important, benefits to consumers. In an effort to bring these vendors to the forefront, Namely launched a Benefits Spotlight Series to help your company learn about the many options available when it comes to strategic additions to a benefits offering. 

Our next partner in the series is Origin

Origin’s mission is “to bring financial planning to every employee, everywhere.” Employees using Origin’s platform can track financial milestones, receive professional advice, and take action towards reaching their goals. Origin’s intuitive platform makes it easy to pay down student debt, build emergency savings, and understand equity.

Matt Watson, CEO of Origin, took some time to discuss with Namely how Origin is making everyone more fiscally aware and responsible during these financially uncertain times.

1. What is the “origin story” of Origin?

I almost went broke starting my first company. In 2015, I quit my job working on Wall Street and moved to San Francisco to accomplish my lifelong goal of building a company. Weeks of ideating and “figuring it out” quickly turned into months. Every investor I met with said, “not interested,” or worse. 

With $42 left in my bank, we got lucky; an investor decided to take a chance on us. Then, I remember the stress of having no idea what to do next; at times it felt crippling. As I worked out of my financial hole, I slowly built savings and put a budgeting strategy in place. Eventually, we sold the first company that I had founded, Indio Technologies.

Reflecting on these experiences, I knew that I needed to find a way to help others solve the same problems I had faced. Financial stress is a global problem, and my story is not unique. We all know the school teacher struggling to figure out how to reach the dream of owning a home, the new graduate starting their career saddled with student debt, and the senior manager trying to figure out if they have enough savings to retire. But traditional wealth managers and retirement advisers are only interested in the 6% of Americans who have enough assets to cover their high fees.

So, we built Origin to bring financial planning to every employee, everywhere.

2. What is your target market in terms of employer size, industry, etc?

Origin’s sweet spot is companies with anywhere from a few hundred to 10,000 employees. Just like how we can serve any employee from the new grad to the senior executive, we are also able to serve any employers across any industry: from media to construction to technology.

3. COVID-19 has forced employees to take a hard look at their finances. What are some of the common services employees are utilizing Origin for during this time of COVID-19?

Before COVID-19, 60% of employees said finances were their #1 source of stress. Today, that percentage has almost certainly increased. As such, we’ve seen a large increase in employees asking us to help them reassess their life goals – whether that be a wedding or a first home they had planned. In many cases, this has meant adjusting an investment portfolio or looking for new opportunities to pay down debt or finding a better insurance policy and applying those savings elsewhere.

That’s what Origin is here for: to help employees set goals, reach them and be ready for whatever life has in store for them along the way.

4. What is the future of Origin? What are some services you currently do not offer but plan to offer in the future?

At Origin, our mission is to enable people to lead happier, healthier lives by helping them feel confident and certain about their financial future. As such, we plan on being the easiest, fastest and most transparent way to receive and act upon financial guidance to improve your financial future. As for what future products we have in store, you’ll just have to wait and see!

5. How does Origin distinguish itself from other financial wellness vendors in the market? 

Leaders in the benefits world have long been familiar with the concept of financial wellness. Solutions in the space have been around for so long and have been executed so poorly, that most yawn when they hear it mentioned. Early, and most current, financial benefits solutions consisted largely of employee workshops and educational resources that are so-so for everyone and great for no one. They aren’t personalized, which leaves employees with more questions than answers. The young college graduate with $75,000 in student debt has different needs than the 50 year-old manager putting her third child through college while looking towards retirement. 

Current solutions don’t allow you to actually do anything. On the off chance that an employee learns something from static, generalized financial materials, they don’t have a place to execute their financial plans!

This is where Origin comes in. We’re the first platform that combines human financial planners with bleeding edge financial technology that both educates employees and allows them to create, execute and track their own, personalized financial plans. 

If you would like to learn more about Origin, Namely’s Managed Benefits Pro offering, or how Namely's Managed Benefits Team can help you pinpoint impactful additions to your employee benefits package through our proprietary employee benefits survey, please do not hesitate to contact me at! You can also click here to schedule a demo. 

Check out our previous installation in the Benefits Spotlight Series with JOON here. 

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