Phin Upham Talks About the Biggest Challenge Today’s Consumer Faces

By Phin Upham

According to Phin Upham, the biggest challenge that today’s consumer faces is one of access. Over half the population, Upham argues, doesn’t have the kind of access to data they need to properly manage their finances.

In a world where a supercomputer is in most people’s pockets or backpacks, technology has not been able to keep pace with demand.

What’s at Stake?

If consumers don’t start saving, they are likely to face a future of borrowing for services at crippling interest. The poor already pay steep fees for late payments, and their credit takes a hit too. Amplify that and add twenty years to it. That is the challenge economists face today.

Possible Solutions

Phin Upham and others at the Milken Institute Global Conference floated around a few ideas that could solve this challenge:

  • Legislation: AKA regulation, this solution is a double-edged sword. Regulation has strengthened bank reserves, but the need to keep that kind of savings has reduced liquidity. As interest rates rise, banks literally cannot choose between saving and lending. Something has to give.
  • Deregulation: Perhaps rolling back some rules will help, but which ones and can we afford to wait long enough for the government to react? Also, if deregulation is pushed too far there are consequences for that too. Like unchecked corruption.
  • Investment: Perhaps the soundest approach is a continued investment in FinTech. Something needs to change, or the middle class will continue to erode. The solution is technology, but big banks are slow to respond. Smaller startups need money for a “sandbox” environment they can use to experiment and grow without fear of reprisal.


As with any investment, FinTech is risk but it’s a controlled risk with a massive potential reward. If FinTech wins, everyone grows.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.