College acceptance letter day: a moment every parent dreams of. The stress and anxiety of waiting are finally over, the hard work has paid off, and your kid has finally received the letter they’ve been waiting for. So your proud kid jumps up and down in excitement like a kangaroo and you feel as if you were on cloud nine! Congrats!


Then comes the scary piece of the admission process: the award letter. The letter that will forecast your child’s future. And, here you are, standing in the middle of the kitchen next to your blissful, ready-to-take-on-the-world kid, tear the letter open and you can’t believe your eyes when you see thousands of dollars in the tuition line.


You’re upset. It wasn’t what you’d expected. Now, you go into panic planning mode. You have to calculate the real cost of this good news, and how to adjust your family’s finances. The first thing that comes to your mind is student loans. But as an adult – you understand how student loans delay life decisions like buying a home or starting a family.  And as a parent, obviously you want a different life path for your kid. Maybe every joy has to carry a matching regret. So now you intentionally delaying talk about finances, pretending to clean your kitchen table and trying to figure out how you can manage this.


Suddenly, you remember the summer before sixth grade, when the two of you went together to Target a month before the start of middle school and bought all the supplies your kid would need, even a lock for the locker! Having a locker — and being able to manage a combination lock — was such a big deal! With all the school supplies in hand well in advance, you felt so prepared. But now that all seems so trivial, and you wish you could turn back time…



Now Cher’s song is echoing in a sad box in your mind, along with all the things you wanted to do but never got around to, like saving money for your kid’s college. How much money should you have saved by now? What could you have done to avoid you kid having to search “How to Pay off Student Loan Debt? Not a rosy picture.


Most parents of high school students believe saving for college is important, but many end up regretting not saving more, according to a survey from Student Loan Hero. One of the families who plan to send their kids to college, only 47% have a plan to pay for it.  We, at U-Nest, understand why:


  • It costs a lot to open and maintain an account
  • You have to make a lot of investment decisions
  • You think it’s too late to open a college savings account
  • You need to deal with long and confusing application


We live in a remarkable time, when mobile applications are created to simplify our busy lives. As gadget people, we download them to save time, money and even avoid future mistakes. To all parents with children under age of 18: LIFT YOUR SPIRITS! Here is the way to prevent you from regretting not saving any college money.

U-Nest is a great financial app that simplifies the process of creating a college fund, using the most tax-advantaged account (529 plan). A 529 grows interest because it’s counted as an investment. In addition, the account grows tax – free; savings accounts typically don’t grow much (that’s the main difference). There’s a college calculator built in to help you set the right saving goal to fulfill your soon-student’s future. You have instant access to your balances and transactions, which U-Nest will protect using bank – level security.


Every dollar saved for college is one less dollar your child will have to borrow. Think about it now, while your child is so young (or so old). The sooner you start, the less you’ll be wishing you could turn back time.



College Savings Calculator is a hypothetical tool that demonstrates how monthly contributions, age-based asset rebalancing, and tax savings may impact the long-term value of your account, and do not take into account a portfolio’s underlying investment management fees. Calculations assume the private institution cost inflation is 2.8%, public out of state cost inflation is 3.9%, public in state cost inflation is 2.7%. Portfolio is assumed to have only stocks and bonds. Monthly equity returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the stock market (SPY). Monthly fixed income returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the bond market index (AGG). The current college expenses are provided by the Actual account performance may differ due to market fluctuations, changes in recurring investments, and asset allocation. The information provided here is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent actual or future performance of any investment option and is not intended to predict or project the investment performance of any security or index.

Ksenia Yudina, CFA, MBA

Founder and CEO

Ksenia is the Founder and CEO of U-Nest, the first mobile app that makes it easy for families to save for college. As an entrepreneur and finance professional, Ksenia has focused on alleviating the impact of student debt on families across the economic spectrum. Previously, Ksenia was a Vice President atCapital Group/American Funds, the largest 529 provider in the U.S. In this role, she played a leadership role in helping parents plan and manage their finances, with a focus on the future well-being of their children. Prior to Capital Group/American Funds, she was founder of a residential real estate company. Ksenia earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from CaliforniaState University Northridge, and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Mike Van Kempen

Chief Operating Officer

Mike joined U-Nest in September 2019 as COO. He was previously at Acorns, a financial wellness platform, where he spearheaded the analytics and growth initiatives. Mike successfully expandedAcorns’ paid acquisition strategy, adding over 4.5 million investment accounts. Mike began his career in strategy & analytics at Belly, a Chicago-based loyalty startup in 2012. At Belly, Mike led projects that fueled growth across all aspects of the business, growing the customer base from1,000 to over 11,000 merchants, and accumulating a membership of over 2 million customers.Mike holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago.

Steve Buchanan

Chief Technology Officer

Steve has over 20 years of experience in delivering digital innovations in the financial sector. Steve previously orchestrated product architecture and innovation as a Solutions Architect/ Fintech consultant at Union Bank. Prior to Union Bank, he was Chief Architect and Director of Engineering at Calypso, a Silicon Valley startup, where he architected and built multiple financial solutions. He was also Head of Global Integrations at Globe One in Vietnam where he integrated its Peer-to-Peer lending products into core banking solutions. Steve also built the first ever electronic Equities &Equity Options trading systems for Scottish stock brokers Wood Mackenzie (acquired by CountyNatWest). He is a graduate of Edinburgh University.

Peter Mansfield

Chief Marketing Officer

Peter has built an impressive track record in multiple financial industry segments including payments, credit/prepaid cards and lending. He has played an instrumental role at a succession of financial industry leaders, co-founding companies such as Brand3 (acquired by American Express) and PropertyBridge (acquired by Moneygram), and, as the early stage marketing lead at Marqeta (where he was team member number two), BillFloat and WallabyFinancial (acquired by Bankrate).He has helped fast-growth companies reach an aggregate market value of close to $8 billion. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Angila, UK.

Sonya Kidman

Client Relationship Manager

Sonya Kidman is a Customer Success professional with a decade of experience in advocating for consumer through user research and genuine empathy. Sonya specializes in user behavior and regularly attends national and global training sessions in wellness and people analytics tools. Sonya is a true global citizen was born in Russia, grew up in Israel, lived and worked in Canada and NewZealand. That global expertise along with an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Tel AvivUniversity have helped to shape a bullet-prof Sonya's framework to develop a winning customer strategy.

Frank Mastrangelo

Board Member

One part banker and one part technologist, Frank spent his early days with the Annenberg Foundation and PNC Bank. His career path led him to Jefferson Bank, where he led the build-out of its electronic banking platforms, and where he would forge a powerful alliance with The Bancorp co-founder Betsy Z. Cohen. As President and COO of The Bancorp from its inception in 1999 Frank played a critical role in helping the organization become an industry bellwether for branchless financial services and a global leader in payments. For this, he has become a widely respected fintech expert, and thought-leader. Frank was recognized in 2013 by Banking Innovation, a leading industry journal, as an “Innovator to Watch.” and as one of the innovators shaping the future of banking. Frank is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.