Taking the Fear Out of Finance
We believe that financial wellness starts and ends with you.
CentSai helps you navigate the myriad of financial decisions you’ll need to make as an adult – whether buying your first home to determining what type of insurance you need to negotiating a better salary – we bring actionable, relatable advice via first person accounts.
The seeds of CentSai – a play on the Japanese word sensei, or martial arts teacher – were sown after the 2008 financial crisis. Cofounders Arindam Nag and Doria Lavagnino, former journalists, saw the drastic impact of the ‘fine print’ economy on every day people. Understanding your money should not be so hard. We give you the tools to empower yourself.
We believe that storytelling is the most effective way of teaching about personal finance. That’s why our blogs, written by fellow millennials and experts, will resonate. Our robust team of writers, contributors and editors is only the starting point of the conversation.
Our unique round up of experts, or financial ‘senseis’ will give you another perspective on your finances. And our videos and quizzes are fun. Consider us your 24/7 money friend.
If you need to buy a financial product, we consider ourselves an honest enabler. You will find recommendations for mortgages, student loans, credit cards, robo-advisors and the like on our resources pages.
For full disclosure, we do receive a small commission if you decide to buy a product through our affiliates or our sponsored content. We only include products we can stand behind, and hey, we need to keep the lights on!
We are as much about the wellness part of the equation as the financial. Here you will not find spreadsheets or formulas, but real life examples of how your money mindset can help you reach and surpass your goals. Check out our forums, ask questions, and get started!
If you have an idea for us, we’d love to hear from you.
Arindam started his career as a sports writer in his teens in Kolkata where he grew up. Once out of college (St Xavier’s College), with a business degree, he joined The Economic Times in India, spending three years as an editor and a reporter.
He joined Reuters news agency in Bombay in 1994 and the next 12 years he moved to New Delhi, London and then New York where he wrote on a variety of business and finance areas. In 2006 he joined the Dow Jones group in London, writing the Heard On the Street column for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. He subsequently moved to New York as a deputy managing editor, launching new products for investment bankers and consultants. After a brief stint of over year as head of content at consulting firm Greenwich Associates, Arindam started plotting his entrepreneurship track, researching on how finance and economics could be simplified for the common man. Months later, CentSai was born.
Arindam holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, post-grad degrees in Applied Economics and Journalism, and is also a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.
Doria was raised in a family of entrepreneurs. While her mother holds an MBA and a Masters in Taxation and is a Certified Public Accountant – it was her father – who immigrated to America from Italy after World War 2 – who lived the quintessential American dream. He came to America, rented a cheap room at the YMCA in New York City, and sold a soil erosion product that became widely used in the Americas.
It was through the grit and determination of her parents that Doria learned about financial wellness, commitment, and that anything was possible through hard work and determination. After all, her mother worked a full-time job and went to night school to become a CPA and her dad, well, he just hustled.
Doria graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Scripps College and holds master’s degree in journalism from New York University. She spent most of her career working as a journalist for women’s magazines such as Glamour and Working Woman where she reported their annual salary survey – the first time she became acutely aware of the complex issues women faced in the workplace. She realized, unlike herself, many girls and women were not financially empowered – both in the US and abroad. This had to change.
After running the NYC Marathon in 2013, Doria knew she wanted a new challenge. Doria joined Arindam to conceive CentSai, and worked on the ’CentSai voice’: The first person account that breaks down the nuances of finance through real life events and not a bunch of jargon. As CentSai’s director of editorial Doria is responsible for all things content on both CentSai and CentSaiEducation.
Chief Information Officer
I’ve worked for and advised media, information, and financial services firms for many years. That includes time as the general manager and product chief for a full-service marketing, education, and creative agency owned by Standard & Poor’s, primarily focused on creating personal finance content, financial literacy materials, and consumer-facing newsletters for large firms including Fidelity, Bank of America, eTrade, TD Ameritrade, Edward Jones, LPL, SunTrust, and others. I was also vice president of marketing for S&P’s investment services division. At Reuters America, I spent a number of years as creative director and vice president of marketing communications and branding, directing large-scale advertising and marketing campaigns; one of the more exciting projects was conceiving and overseeing a $23 million video wall, still operating on the North American headquarters building in New York City’s Times Square. I’ve headed product marketing and management for Scholastic’s education division, and during the dot-com era, I was vice president of marketing, branding, and research for GetMusic/RollingStone.com, a digital-music division of what was once called Vivendi Universal.
In 2008, I cofounded ESE Advisory Group, LLC, now Mirahol, LLC. We’ve advised on sales and product development for fintech and financial services firms, created marketing strategies, created content (blog posts, digital videos, animations, magazine articles, analytical content, and more), consulted for advertising and marketing firms, negotiated a number of business agreements, and created and executed business plans, market segmentation strategies, and product rollouts. I’ve also published a book of fiction, written two more, and written songs, on which I’ve accompanied myself playing less-than-mediocre guitar. And I adore my two daughters.
When I got a call from Arindam, one of CentSai’s co founders, asking me to lead their product development, I was nervous, a bit scared and also excited. I have handled many overseas projects but this was a big one.
I came on board right from the start. The time difference between Mohali and Brooklyn meant my life needed some adjustments. My wife Ekta, who handles SEO for many U.S. clients and runs her own business, helped me get organize. My 3-year old daughter learned to adopt Doria and Arindam as part her own family, she saw me so frequently with them on video screens.
I love building products (I have a Masters’ Degree in Computer Science) but I fell in love with online education when I helped build WizIQ, a an online platform and virtual classroom tool for students and educators.
At CentSai I am responsible for market research, overall product strategy and corresponding roadmap, business and product planning, user experience, business intelligence and analytic, user base growth planning. I lead CentSai’s product management team and and working with the core design/ engineering teams to ensure the success of the product. If you have any questions or just want to say hi, its Sandeep@centsai.com
I ran a successful financial planning practice for 17 years, advising a diverse group of clients and also training and developing financial advisors. A few years ago I realized that while helping individuals with their finances had its rewards, my sphere of influence and contribution to people’s financial well-being could be bigger. I sold my practice and went back to school to obtain a Ph.D. in Management in Finance. By working as a researcher and consultant in the areas of financial literacy and corporate social responsibility I feel I can potentially contribute to improving people’s financial conditions on a much greater scale. And have more fun at the same time!
I have loved language and storytelling from a young age, and there are few things I enjoy more than grammar. (I will happily argue with you at length over comma placement or tell you the history behind the different spellings of “amuck.”) As such, I have always been an avid writer and editor. But at age 15, I discovered another form of storytelling that I had never thought to explore: video. I fell in love almost immediately. This newfound passion followed me out of high school and into college. I found myself studying film at Oberlin, with a minor in Rhetoric and Composition (or, to put it in normal terms, “communications”). Being an Oberlin student meant always having an adventure – from directing theater shows and joining the circus to studying abroad at Prague Film School. And now, after graduating in 2014, I hope that I can help bring readers (and viewers) on small, informative adventures on CentSai, both through written word and through videos.
I have just moved to New York City from Ireland after graduating from Trinity College, Dublin with a double major in English literature and French. It turns out not to be as useless of a degree as it may seem!
Having served as Literature Editor of my college newspaper, the University Times, I have a passion for journalism and current events, particularly relating to the hardships of immigration and the difficulties of translating Irish slang into American English — topics which, sadly, I know all too well.
I was surprised and delighted to find that my skills could be integrated with a medium that focuses on financial education. I'm an extravagant, live-beyond-your-means millennial who could (and should) become CentSai's greatest student of all. When I'm not spending money on things I don't need, you can find me penning short stories and sarcastic tweets in a hipster café that is far too cool for someone who's favorite sport is speed reading.
Jadyn joins us as an SEO consultant with experience optimizing sites for large global brands as well as small local businesses. He is a complete geek and loves anything to do with technology. He recently married and has a 5 year old son named Arlo. When he’s not working, Jadyn spends most of his time outdoors hiking, camping, and getting lost.
You can call me whatever you want, give me a variety of titles, entice me with anything, but I will always be a web designer. When I am not working I am surfing around to see the best fonts and colors in vogue. What are millennials looking at? What’s a good design? What’s a great design? These questions point at me all the time. I am always trying to seek answers. I started my professional career as a web designer 7 years ago with a company near Chandigarh, India. I was able to dabble around with a variety of technologies.
After spending almost 4 years in that company I decided to start freelancing on full-time basis as western corporations increasingly started to outsource critical creative work to India. I learned how to better manage projects and get even more creative.
For me CentSai has been a great experience in terms of trying out new things. It’s more than a website, more multi-dimensional platform that will have its own community. Fun stuff.
Currently I am working on providing a fine user experience (UX), interchangeably using a variety of tools such as User Interface Design & Development (UI), Responsive Designs, HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, Twitter Bootstrap, Wireframing, Branding and CMS Theme Integration.
I am a software engineer with a master’s degree in computer technology.
I have experience working with PHP and WordPress-based websites. I am always looking for ways to integrate my skills with my interests.
I had no idea how challenging my work at CentSai would be when Sandeep, one of CentSai’s co-founders, spoke to me about a position while I was at my brother’s wedding. My life changed permanently from the first day—working in a fast-paced environment where I am learning new things constantly. I enjoy being a part of the financial education industry and a dynamic team.
Before CentSai, I worked for Live Satyamtech as a team leader. There were 10 members in my team, and we were directly responsible for developing new websites and maintaining them.
I am a back-end web developer and I am responsible for server-side web application logic and integration of the work front-end web developers do. I usually write web services and APIs used by front-end developers.
I am a Front-end developer and I am working on the structure, design, behavior, and animation of everything you see on the screen when you open up websites, web applications, or mobile apps.
I recently moved to the United States from Ireland after I graduated from college with a bachelor of business studies degree in marketing and management. The development and growth of a business has always interested me.
At CentSai, I’m so excited to not only be a part of such a fast-paced business environment but also to learn how to manage my personal finances through the site’s teachings.
I am currently a graduate student at Baruch College and I major in Financial Risk Management. Growing up in China and having been in the US for over five years, I frequently travel between the two countries.
Coming from a family with both parents as teachers, I am interested in education and teaching by breaking down complex concepts into cogent and more easily digestible pieces. I really enjoy working for CentSai, as this opportunity allows me to combine both my interests in finance and education together!
Prior to CentSai, I worked as a commercial banking relationship manager in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where I familiarized myself with businesses in the Greater China market. I graduated from Cornell University with double majors in Economics and History. My hobbies include music (piano and singing), movies, and food (if eating counts as a hobby)!
I was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S. in finance. My journey into the world of finance began when I was 14 years old. I was given a book called “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, which lead me to explore finance as a career. Since then, I’ve dedicated my life to finding innovative ways to inspire other young people to engage with investing and the financial services industry.
As a recent college graduate, I am a perennially optimistic millennial with a passion for rowing and words. I am responsible for nurturing our social media accounts, and I'm happy to say I've been more successful in this endeavor than I was in keeping my Tomagotchis alive. I am also involved with our business development, primarily related to CentSai's web presence and expansion. My blogging work focuses on millennial finance, including student loans, homeownership and budgeting. I have two Scottish Fold kittens, despite hating cats, and I enjoy hazelnut lattes with my financial education.
I am the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, my writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media. I am also the founder of www.catherinealford.com, an award-winning personal finance blog that I created in 2010 and the innovator behind the web’s most comprehensive course on how to Get Paid to Write for Blogs.
I like to learn about money the easy way, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my fair share of slip-ups. I’m a mama, fluent writer and a creative who’s determined to work my way out of debt accumulated from my journalism degree and have my cake it eat it too when it comes to my finances. I’m passionate about helping others evoke change in their finances and improve their lives. I chronicle my debt journey and my progress toward achieving a more balanced life on my blog, MyDebtEpiphany.com.
Hi, I am currently a freelance writer in Atlanta looking at financial issues that affect everyday life of millennials. I was an idealist for most of my twenties, completing a term with the AmeriCorps in in St. Louis that somehow led to me landing a job to teach English in an Ethiopian-Israeli community, south of Tel Aviv, Israel. I met my partner in Jerusalem and she surprised me with a proposal while we were overlooking the city and got married in Los Angeles in 2014. I have a BA in History & Women’s and Gender Studies and a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in non-profit management.
I’m a normal English ‘dude’ who loves to save money – especially with coupons! I’ve had an interest in personal finance since I was 15 and it helped me get my family out of rough times by money-saving and clever financing. This has led to doing a few crazy things… including getting $1,000 worth of groceries for just 10 cents and even flying over 1,000 miles roundtrip to a different country to save just $14 on train fares. My hobbies include eating, travel and seeing the look on a cashiers face when you hand over 500 coupons… it’s a picture!
I founded The Frugal Feminista to help women radically transform their relationship with money and themselves. I want to break the silence and shatter the taboo that shrouds how women think about wealth and worthiness.
Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in Kansas, USA. She graduated from an in-state university in 2012 with a little over $8,000 in student debt. The rest of her debt came from my terrible shopping habit and the purchase of her first home. Her desire to get out of debt is what first interested her in writing about personal finance. Now her passion for personal finance has become her full-time job! You can join Kayla on her journey out of debt and clutter by following along with her blog, Shoeaholicnomore.com.
Hi I’m a personal finance blogger and founder of MoneyManifesto.com. I hold a Certified Public Accountant license issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Together with my wife, we have paid off over $80,000 of student loan debt in less than three years. I aim to share as much financial knowledge as possible to help others move forward on their financial journey and avoid the debt trap. When I’m not writing about personal finance, I can be found taking a short trip to the local beach.
I am a 20-something new mom, dog lover, and freelance writer/solopreneur living in Chicago. When I returned from my honeymoon, I was devastated to learn that my husband lost his job. We were also in debt. But we have been fighting back to get in the black while learning how to make great financial decisions for the future. You can find my personal story at fitnpoor.com and my site for parents wanting to raise money-smart children at everylittlecent.com.
Kim is a Texan native who has lived in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband and daughter for almost five years. While she loves being at the beach and traveling, she spends her days as a full-time virtual assistant and mother. Balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood isn’t always easy, but she’d take that over a desk job any day. You can find her at The Entrepremomer, where she shares her journey and talks about how she juggles it all!
Pia Catton is a freelance writer and editor. In 2017, she launched the startup Dance.com, where she is the editor in chief. From 2010 to 2016, she was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, covering nonprofits, performing arts, and sports. She has served as the features editor of Politico and the culture editor of the New York Sun. In her six years at the Sun, she served as a reporter, dance critic, and features editor before editing the arts coverage. She has written for numerous publications, including Playbill, the Real Deal, Biography.com, the New York Post, the Baltimore Sun, ArtNews, City Journal, and the Weekly Standard.
I grew up in what many would consider to be a poor household. My family has been homeless at least twice in my 20-year lifetime. Those hardships have uniquely shaped the way I look at financial issues. I have a vast knowledge of public programs for low-income and homeless people, as well as a passion for personal finance. Due to my family's financial situation, I was awarded several grants that have allowed me to attend college debt-free if I so choose. I am currently enrolled at Northern Kentucky University, where I’m majoring in organizational leadership. My goal is to break my family's cycle of poverty using one of the few things that nobody can take away from me: education.
Armed with $5, I skipped down to the local bank to open a savings account. The bank manager gladly accepted my money. I was just 10. It was my first foray into the world of personal finance. The experience empowered and taught me that I can be in control of my money – and it’s a philosophy I’ve carried my whole life. Money should never control you. But for many people, young or old, poor or wealthy, and educated or not, money is their overlord. Most are ill-prepared to make the right choices about their finances. That’s why CentSai’s mission to promote financial literacy is so crucial. As CentSai’s first columnist, I’m here to demystify the complex world of financial products and services, while providing simple, easy-to-understand tips, tools, strategies and solutions to help you be the master of your money. My love of all-things personal finance is backed by decades of journalism experience in broadcast, digital, newswires and print. I spent the bulk of my career with the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal as a reporter, editor and manager. In my free time, I enjoy playing my Telecaster loudly as well as biking and hiking with my wife and two young boys.
I’m the quintessential start-up and growth-marketing professional. For three decades, I’ve been involved in a notable sequence of early-stage-company ventures and successes. My in-the-trenches experience makes me invaluable in assisting new ventures realize their market potential. I’ve helped fast-growth companies such as PropertyBridge, Wallaby Financial, Marqeta, Xircom, and Gearworks reach an aggregate market value of close to $5 billion. Beyond my strategic role as a consultant chief marketing officer, I’m actively involved in branding, user acquisition, partner development, social media and content, public relations, and channel programs. I also help early-stage companies raise funding through an active network of angels, venture capital funds, and institutional investors. My current roster of clients includes Bankrate, UrgentPoint, The Build Card, and inerTRAIN.
I am an attorney and have been in the start-up space for years. My early dreams of becoming a public defender did not go the distance after the 2008 economic crisis. I took up the role of a general counsel for a new company and fell in love with working new firms, their energetic owners.
In 2014 I started my own firm, focusing on start-ups. A year and 50 clients later I met Doria and Arindam and have been working with them since. I believe CentSai provides sorely needed information and support, especially to young adults. I have seen them grow and how they have been developing their platform and I am have no doubt CentSai will be a household name in a short period of time.I live in Jersey City with my wife Carol and and our pet rabbits. In my coveted spare time I enjoy running, gardening, and hoping against hope that this will be the year the Washington Redskins will make it to the Super Bowl.
It’s hard for me describe myself with full clarity because I am still in beta, meaning: still learning. Over the years I have seen many people make wrong choices about money or are confused. For me to be associated with CentSai was a no-brainer. I have a day job at a bank but I spend much of my free time looking at education platforms, designs, and mulling over creative ways to help teach. By nature I am a builder. I love to create websites, build cars, even help craft furniture. Despite a career in banking, my friends call me creative, whenever I can I try to infuse a bit of art in everything I do. I began my career in financial services, working for Greenwich Associates where I met one of CentSai’s cofounder Arindam.
I am working on the visualization of data and various widgets that find their place on CentSai’s platform. If you have any suggestions on how to further improve some of our functionalities or introduce new ones, drop me an email at keenan@Centsai.com
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Plain Language; Educational Purpose.
CentSai’s purpose is to promote financial literacy. Experts should assume site users have little or no financial background. Blogs and postings should be written in plain language appropriate for an audience with little or no financial knowledge. Complex financial terminology and jargon should be avoided. Terms other than very basic terms should be defined.
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Experts must not offer any advice or make any statements that could be construed as advice. Experts must make clear that any information posted on the site is educational and/or informational in nature, and that users of the site should consult a professional for individualized advice.
Soliciting is prohibited. Users may choose to contact Experts if they wish to do so. Under no circumstances is the Expert allowed to directly ask that a user contact them.
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Experts may repost elsewhere blogs submitted to CentSai not sooner than 48 hours after posted on CentSai, proved that they include the tag “Originally posted on centsai.com” with each and every reposting.
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