Over the course of the last month Cleo’s Chief Spending Officer (CSO), Rana, took on the adventure of a lifetime - living a month free of financial decision making. From Michelin star meals to morning coffees and luxury spa treatments to subway rides, each major spending decision was determined by public vote in Cleo’s app, with the general public asked if the CSO should accept AI-powered personal finance recommendations or spend freely. We put the social experiment to a test: check out how it all went on TikTok here.
What was it like to be Cleo’s CSO? Here’s what Rana had to say about her life-changing experience.
Cleo: How do you feel about handing over your financial decision-making to AI?
CSO: Honestly, a part of me feels a sense of comfort just because I know the AI is probably going to be more responsible and reasonable then I will when it comes to spending. I often lose track of my spending, so knowing that there's something in the background guiding me towards making more logical decisions makes me feel more secure.
Cleo: Was it weird to spend someone else’s money based on decisions you didn’t make?
CSO: YES! It felt nice to be able to treat myself and not feel too guilty about it. As I was getting my massage I came to the realization that splurging is necessary every once in a while - especially when it comes down to things like taking care of yourself and your health. Using someone else's money made it almost feel like a free trial.
Cleo: Why do you think young people are so anxious about money?
CSO: Honestly, because of the lack of conversations and education around personal finance. I recently graduated in May 2023 and conversations around money in college and at home felt like taboo. Especially as a first-generation daughter, there is a lot of knowledge that my parents didn't really have that I am just now getting as I am entering “the real world” and now as I'm learning and growing, I’m finally able to share it with my community.
Cleo: How do you think an app, like Cleo, can help people manage their money better?
CSO: I think Cleo does a good job at being consistent and engaging. For budgeting, I've used Mint in the past, but it wasn't as motivating to use! I’d often forget I had the app downloaded or get too lazy to update my expenses. But Cleo is a lot more fun and interactive which I really appreciate and I think it resonates well with my generation.
Cleo: Are you worried about your financial future? If so, why?
CSO: With the current economic climate, I'm a little worried but for the most part I feel confident. I am taking the initiative to become more financially literate and I feel like that will play in my favor in the future.
Cleo: What have you learned about yourself and your financial habits?
CSO: I have learned that I tend to mindlessly spend sometimes, especially when it comes to things that offer me convenience. I am coming to learn that this might not be the best approach for me long term - especially considering I am still very young and have to start building better money habits now so that they last when I'm older.
Cleo: What are your overall thoughts on the experiment?
CSO: Overall this experiment has taught me three things. The first being it’s okay to treat yourself to nice things once in a while and reward yourself for the money you have earned. The second thing I have learned is that you can enjoy yourself while being on a budget. It might take more work to find things and experiences, but all in all it'll be worth it if you share them with the right people and who knows how creative you'll get! And finally, budgeting is essential for setting yourself up for future financial success. At the end of the week when I realized I had saved $370 and still went out every day throughout the week and enjoyed myself, it put things into perspective. That money can now be set aside into my savings account, and if one week I end up splurging or have an emergency at least I'll have some money saved up to fall back on!
Big thanks to Rana for being our Chief Spending Officer, and for all of you for voting each day. To get a recap of the TikTok videos, visit the playlist here.