Evan Samek's Portfolio

Retirement Explorer

HelloWallet, 2012-2015



Product Management
UX Direction & Wireframes
UI Design Direction
Initial Rapid Prototyping
JS / HTML / CSS App Dev.
User Testing


Create a standalone, innovative new take on a retirement planning app that:

  • is exploratory in nature; allow users to explore how small financial changes today can have massive impacts to their retirement "picture"

  • empower's people to discover the consequences/benefits of some key retirement decisions with simple interactions and clear data visualizations

  • Product KPI's: Increase Retirement Plan Contributions, Increase Retirement Planning Engagement (QAU - Quarterly Active Users), Positive Feedback from Qualitative Research


This product is currently released and replaced flagship retirement systems of AonHewitt, Vanguard, Morningstar Inc., and possibly others.

Some users who were close to retirement even reconsidered their plan to retire early to save more. 

Overall, the product was deemed a success and was a factor in HelloWallet being acquired by Morningstar, Inc.

Shortly after I left HelloWallet, Retirement Explorer won Best in Show at Finovate Fall 2015 - the main annual FinTech conference. link

Georgetown High Level user flow diagram.png

Early requirements, Initial Design thinking & WirEframes

The original design of Retirement Explorer was much less visual and interactive. Initial thinking was to create a simple calculator that optimized your income allocation.


Ultimately, user testing showed that the optimization feature was seen as just another calculator. Users wanted to learn more about what the optimizer was suggesting, and wanted to have more control.

After many talks with key stakeholders, I was given the go ahead to provide a more visual playground – something that was more “interactively educating”.


Life simulation visualization

I decided that the new experience was going to settle around something more familiar than what was initially envisioned. I wanted to design a graph that would show someone not only the results of their current retirement planning/saving, but how exactly non-decisions would affect their retirement picture.

Below you can see some of the variations that were tested along the way.


After more User Testing validated the new, more interactive experience...I lead the UXD Team (User Experience/Design Team) in developing revised wireframes, and a more polished UI.


Initial Wireframe

In order to power the underlying graphic engine, a lot of information about an individual was required. We came up with a mobile-menu design paradigm in order for users to navigate different inputs. It was important to have all inputs proximate to the graphed life simulation UI - preserving the "play & explore intention of the product.

Design Direction of Main UI

Users could slide the two 'lollipops' to see just how powerful retiring one year later can be (blue circle is the age at which they retire and magenta square is the age at which they accept social security). Also possible, sliding the social security lollipop to see affect on retirement savings and changing the 'income allocation' numbers on the left rail.

Demo at Finovate 2015

I left HelloWallet to pursue other opportunities in May 2015–one year after we were acquired by Morningstar. Shortly after I left, HelloWallet demoed Retirement Explorer at the Finovate financial technology conference, winning Best in Show 2015. Below is a video of the demo that was performed by the product manager that took over the product after I left. The ideas expressed were some of the design principles and goals that I created designing, testing, and iterating on the product when it was in development.