These 22 sketches make complicated financial concepts simple enough to fit on a napkin

Napkin FinanceThe sketches explain everything from interest to insurance.
  • Napkin Finance is a multimedia company that aims to break down complicated financial concepts through text, video, and illustrations.
  • It covers topics like insurance, stocks, debt,student loans, crowdfunding, estate planning, and even bitcoin.
  • Every explanation is simple enough to fit on a napkin.

Tina Hay doesn’t think in numbers.

In 2002, enrolled in a finance class while pursuing her MBA from Harvard Business School, she realised that her classmates who came from the world of banking and consulting were acing the coursework without a problem, while she struggled to master the concepts foreign to her liberal-arts background.

So, she started to draw.

“I think more visually,” Hay told Business Insider. “I’ve always put numbers into illustrations and understood them that way, especially finances and money.”

Hay didn’t stop sketching, and today, her business-school drawings have turned into something bigger: Napkin Finance, a multimedia company that aims to introduce people to complicated financial concepts through videos, text, and of course … napkins.

We’re not talking about bar napkins with a few pen strokes on the back but rather digital illustrations that go through months of development between former bankers, financial advisers, and an illustrator to nail the perfect visual intro to nuanced concepts such as compound interest, student loans, and credit scores. The Napkin Finance team has even collaborated with Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room initiative to create a course on navigating the financial side of college admissions.

Below are 22 of the most popular and beloved explainers from the Napkin Finance team:


Compound interest


Building credit

Bull and bear markets





Paying for college

Student loans



Risk versus reward

Long-term care insurance

Estate planning

Breakeven point

Napkin Finance

Remittance transfer

Internal rate of return

Napkin Finance


How to finance a startup


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