The site had a very soft launch last summer, but until now has really just been a fairly sparse blog, directed at youngish people thinking about money for the first time in their lives. Behind the scenes, there has been some turmoil, as Rupert Murdoch bought Dow Jones, staffers have left the JV, and ultimately the site has shifted strategy: Rather than focus on generating lots of content on its own, it’s going to be primarily a portal, funded by display ads and lead generation.
So what will look like? FiLife president Dave Kansas, a veteran of the TheStreet.com and the Journal, gave us a quick tour. The primary come-ons are the site’s 8 “stackers” — fairly simple engines that compare your salary, house value, credit score, etc to the general population’s, then offer advice.
You can tweak the results to some degree: Tell the site that your home’s worth $350,000, and it informs you that it’s worth more than 70% of the homes in the U.S.; tell it that you live in the 10011 area code, and it will tell you that by Chelsea/Greenwich Village standards, you live in a hovel. But you knew that already.
This is sort of interesting, but at first glance, not terribly useful: As one offs, none of those metrics mean that much, plus the site is missing some important ones (401k/savings, for instance). Dave says the stacks will get more comprehensive and sophisticated over time. But they’re not supposed to replace a financial planner. They’re meant to be come-ons to lure the site’s potential audience: youngish “folks who’ve spent lots of time on the Internet, but less time looking at their wallet.”
Those who do come will be exposed to a combination of pro advice (via articles from Dow Jones pubs like the WSJ and Barron’s) and use-gen stuff (a forum that aspires to the be the TripAdvisor for financial services). The lead-gen stuff, presumably, comes from the site’s “FiDeals” sections, which we saw the least of. Dave assures us that the site won’t favour IAC products, like LendingTree, in any way.
Check it out*, and tell us what you think. And in the meantime, we’ll offer the free, sage advice of our own Henry Blodget (which echoes most sober financial pros):
Don’t listen to a word of 24/7 bombardment of advice pumped out of Wall Street and the financial media. Just buy low-cost index funds. Over your lifetime, this will save you an astonishing amount of money, anxiety, and time.
*UPDATE: Our readers point out that FiLife still hasn’t launched as 9:09 am this morning. We’ll update when it’s open for businesss. It’s up now.