Getting the Most out of Life

An Interview with Phroogal Founder Jason Vitug, Creator of #TheRoad to Financial Wellness

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Jason Vitug, the creative mastermind behind Phroogal, is a man with a vision: to democratize financial education.

From June 1 to June 30, 2015, Jason went on a 30-day, 30-location tour all across the nation to spread financial education. Jason and the Phroogal team met with people from all walks of life to discuss money, which many people still consider to be a taboo topic.

I spoke with Jason about his inspiration and the key takeaways from #TheRoad to Financial Wellness.

What inspired you to pursue #TheRoad to Financial Wellness?

Although more people are beginning to talk about personal finance, money is still a taboo subject. I believe in order for people to learn about money, the conversation must be started. I wanted to break the last social taboo about money in an epic way, and a road trip fit the bill.

In my experience, people understand how important it is to know more about personal finance, but typically the financial education is far removed from the point in which a person makes a financial decision. I wanted people to connect the dots like connecting the route on a road map. I wanted millions of people to understand that financial knowledge leads to better financial decisions, leading to living their dream lifestyle. Living your dream lifestyle without the worry of money is how I define financial wellness.

How can others start pursuing financial wellness?

I created a process I called ACT: Awareness, Creating a Plan, Taking Control.

Financial wellness begins with knowledge. I suggest for people seeking to become financially well to start by understanding their personal financial situation. I call this part Awareness. Awareness is important because it makes people understand where they are today and envision where’d they truly want to be in the future.

Many people start with creating financial plans when we need to focus on a life plan. The Awareness process helps you identify and confront your past mistakes that have prevented you from living the life you wanted to live. You need to know where you are today for you to create a plan to live financially well.

You just got done with the 30-day trip. What did you learn from this experience?

The trip was very eye-opening for me. I learned a great deal about what’s hindering people from better financial decision-making. It’s the lack of access to relevant and timely financial information and products.

I came into this trip knowing that people needed access to basic personal financial information, which is a main reason I started Phroogal. But speaking to thousands of people in different parts of the country made me realize, to truly impact people’s financial well-being, a better way to discover and purchase the right financial product can be far more impactful.

What advice do you have for others wanting to pursue a big goal in a short amount of time?

I had people tell me how crazy of a goal it was to travel 10,000 miles in 30 days. I truly believe in order for people to pay attention, we needed to do something epic.

My suggestion to those seeking to pursue a big goal in a short period is to have complete focus on the goal. Basically, forget everything else that’s on your plate and use every waking moment to chip away at the to-do list. Find people who share your passion and work ethic and have the experience so you can offload some of that to-do list. This epic road trip wasn’t possible without the help of so many people.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer and passionate debt fighter who writes at She is currently climbing out of $81,000 in student loan debt and is often dreaming of her next adventure. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Rockstar Finance, GoGirl Finance and more. She has her M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU, loves karaoke, is obssessed with the Wizard of Oz, and is a ceviche connoisseur.