Before it became the name of our company, Tomorrow was simply an idea my partner Dave Hanley developed after Deloitte acquired his last company. After the difficult and unexpected loss of both parents, Dave was thrust into an antiquated world of financial and legal processes and paperwork, costly lawyers’ fees, and intense personal anguish. An accomplished CEO and digital entrepreneur, he knew there had to be a better way.
In May 2016, he invited me on a journey to bring estate planning into the future, and to put it within reach of every American family.
Shortly thereafter we brought Josh Heckathorn on as our VP of Financial Services. Josh's father passed away from stage IV colon cancer when Josh was just 19 years old, leaving behind a devastated family of six. His father had wisely taken the time to create a Will, a Trust, and had secured a sufficient amount of life insurance in place to protect his family from financial trouble.
That life insurance policy paid off the mortgage on the family home and the loan on their car, and allowed Josh to finish his undergraduate degree without being saddled with a large amount of student loan debt. His mom had time to grieve instead of worrying about how the next month’s mortgage would be paid. She had piece of mind that far too few Americans have.
As a team who is intimately familiar with loss, we believe that more people deserve this peace of mind, but as we dug further into the world of estate planning, the stats we found were sobering: 78% of Millennials don't have a will, 74% of all Americans don't have individual life insurance, and 50% of all millennial households would have immediate trouble paying their bills without their primary wage earner.
We knew these families needed something better than what was currently available, so we set a goal to build it for them.
How we went about accomplishing that goal began with a conversation we wanted to have with people, many for the very first time. We felt we couldn't lead with the loaded term estate planning, as that could end the conversation with many people we hoped to reach before we even began. We needed something better.
So, after a dedicated naming process, we decided to call our product...Tomorrow
Building Your Tomorrow
The name had all the qualities we valued, now we just needed to figure out an ideal product experience that could turn financial and legal chores into something fun. We even gave ourselves the challenge of hiding all the legal complexity and creating something simple, delightful, and beautiful that you could do from your phone.
We believed that Tomorrow should be...
1) Small enough to fit in your pocket.
2) Fast enough to do these legal and financial chores in minutes, not months.
3) Flexible enough for families and life situations of all shapes and sizes, even if they change over time.
4) Smart enough to turn your life decisions into legit legal documents.
5) Strong enough to protect your family's financial future—just in case something happens to you.
As Dave sums it up, “Our mission is to knock down the barriers that stop most American families from getting the kind of legal and financial protection they need and deserve. The Tomorrow app simplifies historically difficult tasks like starting a trust fund, creating a will, and buying life insurance – and makes them accessible to everyday people, not just the wealthy. Now, families can finally take this off their perpetual ‘to do’ list – in a way that is aspirational, social, and even enjoyable, right from their phones.”
But doing something this complex and far reaching was not without significant challenges:
Challenge #1 - Everyone's Family is Unique
First on our list was to really unpack the idea of family. And not everyone has a traditional family structure. So we knew to do this right, Tomorrow had to let people define their family exactly the way it is, so that in the background we could design a system that learns from you as you use it. Tomorrow will take exactly what you tell it about your family and only recommend what's right for you—no more, no less.
Challenge #2 - Few People Fully Read Legal Documents
Lawyers tend to use words most people aren't familiar with, not because they like to over-complicate things, but rather to make sure they aren't misinterpreted. This is why lawyers are paid handsomely to choose the right words—it can be more expensive if you get the words wrong. Tomorrow makes it easy to make important life decisions without making you navigate a document you don't fully understand.
Challenge #3 - The Solution is at the Intersection of Finance, Legal and Insurance
All of these industries are incredibly complex, and building something that bridged them together effectively and legally would be a huge challenge...but absolutely necessary. Making the right decisions for yourself and your family at the intersection of finance, legal, and insurance requires coordination that today involves multiple people but could be done more efficiently with software. We were up for the challenge: we wanted to make those tasks easier and more accessible to each and every American, not just the wealthy.
We knew we couldn't do it by ourselves, so Dave quietly raised a $2.6m seed round from an awesome group of investors. We've built out an incredible internal team—now 13 people strong—as well as top notch advisory boards covering key areas of the business such as legal, inclusion, and marketing.
The road to launch has been longer and more complicated than we could have anticipated, but we're proud to announce that we've found a way to solve these key challenges, and as of right now Tomorrow is live in the app store.
Best of all? It's free. Gratis. You can use the app to create a will or form a revocable living trust, and we don't charge you so much as a penny to do so. We believe that everyone should have access these things regardless of their financial circumstances.
So what are you waiting for? Go check out the app and start building a better tomorrow, today.
We hope Tomorrow helps you and your family to build a stronger financial footing. If you love the app as much as we do, please help spread the word!