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Meet Nikos, CEO of Quirk

Quirk Team
Meet Nikos, CEO of Quirk

Hi! Could you introduce yourself?

Hey! My name is Nikos Melachrinos and I'm one of Quirk's co-founders and the company's CEO. I’m originally from Athens, Greece in case my name didn’t give it away! I have an undergraduate degree in Economics and Psychology. I also love football, boba tea, and talking to people about personal finance!

What personality type did you get? Did you find the results to be accurate?

I am an “Optimizer”, and it’s definitely a very accurate description! I’m very detail oriented and love researching the latest and greatest around money management. I also agree that the Optimizer mindset can sometimes be anxiety-inducing so I try to not obsess about things too!

What inspired you to start Quirk?

I always felt that financial services are not well designed to help people, and was worried that even with an Economics degree there were a lot of things that were hard to understand when it came to my personal finances. I remember the day that customer support at American Express couldn’t even explain to me how their own fees work. I knew we could have something better that is based on transparency, good design, and good use of technology.  With my background in tech, economics, design and with a very capable co-founder to get into building a company, I was inspired to start Quirk.

What is your relationship with personal finance? - If applicable, how has that defined your current pursuits? What changes have you made that have helped? How has it changed over time?

Financial literacy I think is a big missing piece of our education today and when I realized my own gaps in knowledge, I started educating myself as much as possible, because studying Economics was quite different to managing my personal finances. Currently, I’m fully committed to building Quirk and making that journey of financial education more accessible and enjoyable for others too. It’s core to our lives, but we don’t get enough support right now. 

What are some things that worked for you for maintaining balance and managing your spending?

I love the old school method of “envelopes” so keeping money separate whether it's through totally different accounts or just using pots in Monzo, spaces in Starling, vaults in Revolut to keep money in different “envelopes” based on their purpose. And then I force myself to think that the money doesn’t even exist unless it’s on my spending account. That pretty much does it.

What do you most enjoy spending on? Or any guilty pleasure you can share.

I love boba tea. I also generally enjoy when I spend on technology, but probably because those are in-frequent and it's a big event in my life to get a phone or a computer. 

How have you been spending your time through the pandemic? How does it feel to be on the cusp of normalcy?

Building Quirk has been my main activity! Last year was exceptionally busy while we were starting the business, building the app, and trying  to fundraise on top. I was also consulting and doing freelance design work on the side to pay the bills! One thing that has come up through the pandemic is having more time for myself and trying to take care of my mind and body. While excited to have an outside life again, I hope I can keep a good balance between work, self-care, and socializing!

How often do you check your finances?

Investments I check nearly every day (which I really shouldn’t) and budgeting at least weekly. Once in a few months, I’ll take a look at all my finances and see if I need to change anything. 

For someone who is starting completely new to personal finance, how would they get started? What specific tips would you have for newbies?

  1. The most important rule is spend less than you make. Do anything you can to fix that balance first. 
  2. Follow some of the amazing content creators on IG, YouTube, or TikTok that talk about financial literacy. You'll learn a lot!
  3. Use technology to get a clear picture of your money and spending - personal finance apps like Quirk (or others!) really make a difference. Try out a couple of them and see what works for you.
  4. It’s never too late or too early to start investing. Educate yourself and get into it as soon as you can. Investing is not gambling, as long as you don’t treat it as if it were.

What’s your stack? (Accounts, credit cards, apps or other tools)

Current accounts: Monzo, Lloyd’s

Savings account: Marcus

Credit: Amex everyday cashback, Tymit

Loan: Student loan with student finance

Investing: Stocks & Shares ISA (with Fidelity for ETFs), Freetrade (for stocks), Gemini (for cryptocurrencies)

Other: TransferWise for money transfers/currency exchanges

Finally I use Quirk to keep track of all the above(!!), and generally stay on top of my spending. 

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Meet Nafeesa, Co-founder of Quirk
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