The fintech Curvo was created to serve a niche community. The idea behind the financial independence and early retirement, or FIRE, movement is that luxuries are less valuable than freedom. So if your income is high enough, you can live more frugally than your peers and save a large percentage of your income. Then, after a decade or so, you can quit your job and live off the returns from your investments. FIRE is a sizable movement in the United States and there are websites like Mr. Money Mustache that go into great detail about how the process works. But there’s not as much information available about early retirement in Belgium, and that’s why Curvo is useful.
What Curvo Does
Curvo is a Belgian roboadvisor that’s similar to Wealthfront or Betterment in the US or Nutmeg in Britain. Like other roboadvisors, Curvo automatically invests your money in low-fee exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and provides related services such as portfolio rebalancing. Curvo is making this service available in Belgium, which is not a straightforward task because Belgium has different financial regulations than the US or Britain. For example, as Curvo explains, Belgium does not charge capital gains taxes. So Belgian investors don’t have to set up special accounts like Roth IRAs to avoid paying these taxes.
In exchange for these services, Curvo charges a 1 percent management fee. This is on top of the fees charged by the ETF managers BlackRock, Vanguard, and BNP Paribas, although these firms charge very low fees on their passively managed index funds. Curvo has a FAQ section on its website that justifies this fee and that’s good content marketing. Its target customers are members of the FIRE movement, after all, and they’re paying close attention to management fees. The startup also uses content marketing to do a few other things.
Promoting the FIRE Movement
One of Curvo’s most popular pages explains how FIRE works in Belgium. The page that’s bringing in the most traffic is written in Dutch, but Curvo also offers an English-language guide to FIRE in Belgium. This page also includes information about investor communities for early retirement in Belgium on Reddit and Facebook. That’s effective content marketing because Curvo’s fans may visit those groups and tell other users about the app, so Curvo isn’t just relying on search traffic from Google for distribution.
Comparing Investment Strategies
Curvo’s top-performing page explains why its investment strategy is different than the strategy that European FIRE investors typically use. European FIRE investors typically buy shares in the Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF, or the VWCE. This is a tracking fund for the FTSE All-World Index. This is a market-weighted fund so its top holdings are US-based technology companies, but the fund provides a great deal of exposure to stocks outside of the country as well.
Many international FIRE investors only plan to buy shares of this fund and aren’t considering other assets, so Curvo has to explain why its investment strategy is better. Curvo’s explanation is similar to the advice that many financial advisors would give to their clients. Financial advisors consider it very risky to invest 100 percent of your portfolio in the stock market because you may need to withdraw funds in the short or medium term. If the market crashes, you might have to sell shares of an ETF at a much lower price than what you paid for them.
Because of this risk, Curvo also purchases bonds for its clients, even though this may reduce overall returns and can result in additional taxes in Belgium. The roboadvisor feels that this trade-off will still be worthwhile for many investors. While some of Curvo’s users plan to keep their money in their accounts until they retire, others may need access to their funds in a few years. And like other financial advisors, Curvo provides a questionnaire to its investors to help them decide the appropriate level of risk.
Curvo also has a web page that explains how its investor questionnaire works. Like US-based roboadvisors, Curvo provides a questionnaire to its investors so they can decide how aggressively to invest the money in their portfolios. It’s likely that many investors will fill out the questionnaire and decide that going 100 percent into stocks is too aggressive, so Curvo can select a lower-risk portfolio for them such as 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds.
Many of Curvo’s users are young professionals in Belgium. These investors may not have owned stocks when the market crashed in 2008. And if they’re working in the technology sector, which many high-income young adults are, they might also have been too young to work in earlier years when it was very difficult to find technology jobs.
Translating Financial Concepts
Another fintech content marketing strategy is translating an investment concept into another language. For example, Curvo explains that dollar-cost averaging would be known as euro-cost averaging in Belgium. But euro-cost averaging is not a widely used term, so the Curvo article primarily uses the term dollar-cost averaging to explain the concept.
With dollar-cost averaging, you invest the same amount of money in your portfolio every month instead of trying to time the market. This is another process that the Curvo app automates for its users, and it’s very useful in Belgium because many brokerages in the country charge high minimum fees on stock purchases.
Curvo’s content marketing is highly focused on its target audience, investors who are interested in early retirement in Belgium. Its top-performing page explains why its investment strategy is lower risk than the strategy that most European FIRE investors are using. Another popular page explains the concept of FIRE to a Belgian audience. With this narrow focus, Curvo can attract young, high-income investors in Belgium while avoiding highly competitive keywords that major financial institutions are targeting.