Johnny Medina
career outcomes


Bridging financial gaps: An alumnus’ mission to break down financial inequalities

Why it matters:

Johnny Medina’s (Finance ’21) passion for helping others led him to start a financial service that’s bridging the gaps for underserved communities.

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In the finance and technology world–where money and data often take center stage–one startup is bridging gaps by offering financial services to underserved communities.

Johnny Medina’s startup takes an approach that might not be well-known in the industry. The company, nhabla, is determined to make financial planning accessible to everyone. And they’re doing so through transparency and empathy. It’s a venture that’s breaking barriers and reshaping the industry landscape.

nhabla has a three-step process: “connect and discover,” “build your financial foundation,” and “nurture your financial growth.” Each step of the process has an expert financial strategist holding the client’s hand the entire way.

Starting with a scheduled conversation, a financial strategist listens to a client’s current financial situation, goals, and fears to determine how to build their financial plan. Then nhabla helps keep the client accountable to ensure financial success.

Finance, meet empathy

Medina’s business can serve persons with substantial wealth. But he noted that many individuals don’t seek financial services because they can be expensive, and because the concept of “wealth management” scares people away, since the industry’s business model caters primarily to those who already have assets. But Medina wants to change that.

“Those factors deter so many people who truly need the assistance,” he said. “I realized that this industry excludes so many individuals, so I decided to create a business model that is focused on those who are just starting out.”

After a few phone conversations with friends who had similar beliefs, Medina onboarded compliance and operations officers to create the business, now fully staffed.

“We eradicate any potential conflicts of interest both at the institutional and advisor levels,” he said. “Our motivation doesn’t stem from increasing charges or promoting unnecessary services. Our sole purpose revolves around delivering expert guidance and leveraging our exclusive tools at a reasonable cost.”

The platform is designed to address all financial topics. Medina says they do so by educating clients on their financials, helping them understand the industry, and taking their feelings into consideration.

Now with a team that shares the belief that everyone deserves financial care and support, Medina says he listens in on some of the phone conversations as part of company compliance and gets choked up.

“I recently had a client say she felt hopeful again after speaking with us. And to me, that’s everything,” he said. “If we can convey those feelings–because that’s what were here to do is help–that’s the whole purpose of this and it goes beyond finance at that point. For us, it doesn’t matter if you don’t bring any money over. We just hope that we did good by you,” he said.

Unmatched advantage

The business model turns compassion and empathy into a competitive advantage.

Compared to other institutions who charge base rates specific to the assets a client brings to their company, nhabla is subscription-based, charging a flat monthly fee of only $35, no matter what assets a client brings in.

The company also offers all sorts of financial support that larger firms don’t—including budgeting, travel, education planning, special occasion, starting out, and general investments.

Walking into a large institution as an individual who is just starting their financial journey can be daunting. But Medina says nhabla prides itself on being a smaller company.

“We’re built on trust. We’re getting a lot of clients who feel they do not have a place in the industry, specifically underrepresented communities, which is absolutely not the case.”

But Medina says the company’s biggest advantage is its people.

“It comes down to our culture and how our people think of people. It's genuine, and really reminds me of the way Johns Hopkins thinks about its students,” he said.

A specialized degree focused on real-world experiences

What to Read Next

Medina has always known he wanted to create a business. His journey to creating nhabla began while working in asset and wealth management. He was doing well, but decided he wanted a more specialized knowledge, so he enrolled at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. He found standout faculty in finance.

“These are not your average professors,” he said. “In a specialized degree program like finance, it’s nice to know that the professors have real industry knowledge. They’ve been hedge fund managers or are simultaneously working with the federal government. “It’s great to hear them break down the textbooks and give real-world examples that we as students could take back to our current positions.”

Medina says his understanding of financial theory and concepts as well as his confidence in providing financial services has grown significantly since graduating from the program. And Carey’s value of unwavering humanity matches the same values of his business model.

“I give all the credit to Johns Hopkins for helping build my expertise… To help break down financial inequities and offer that assistance makes it all worthwhile.”

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