Being great with money is tough, requiring discipline , habits and systems.
To create a configurable multi dimensional player map for financial services we need first to agree some high level, generally agreed principles, on the challenges faced with money and the skills and habits required to overcome them.
With these in place we can then set the field and begin defining success, rewarding, encouraging and support it.
As banks and Fintechs build empathy with customers and serve them better, the incorporation of financial fitness at the centre of the digital value proposition separates those that get it and those that don’t.
More than a race to the bottom on speed it requires a race to the top on emotion based on:
Gratitude – for all customers have done, all they have earned, spent, saved and invested
Empathy – for how difficult money is for everyone
Support – for staying at it and not giving up
Timeless lessons on money help us identify some of the complexity and principles
Money needs to be experienced before it can be understood. Everybody’s money story is unique, based on their experiences of money and the markets, our history , our pride and what motivates us. This doesn’t make anyone’s view better or worse than anyone elses’s just different.
Luck and timing has a major part to play in how well or badly we do, with the line between “inspiringly bold” and “foolishly reckless”, a millimeter thick. If it wasn’t this way, someone would have written the making money algorithm and we’d all be rich. Whilst a lot of how we judge oursleves is measured in moiney, recognising the large amout that luck and timing has to play, keeps our feet on the ground.
Whilst habits are more important than goals, goals help us establish whats enough and what we arent prepared to risk for more. For so many today there seems to be no limit to what enough entails and that’s not healthy. We do well to set some “enough to be happy” goals, be aware of too much social comparison and remember that reputation, family, friends, freedom, health and happiness are worth preserving in the hunt for more money.
Warren Buffet is credited to have begun investing at the age of 10. If he had waited until he was 30 and then retired at 60 like everyone else, yet invested as he did during that time, he would only be worth $10s of millions as opposed to $10s of billions. Whilst his skill is investing his secret is time. A lot of money success comes down to starting as early aas you can and staying in the game. Its not timing the market but time in the market, whereby growth compounds over time with much of it unnoticeable. Thats ok.
Once you realise that no one else cares how big your house is, how new your car is or how flash your outfit is, because they are too busy worrying about their house, car and outfit, you release yourself from their perceived opinion and can get back to what matters for you
Few plans survive enemy contact and with the world becoming more uncertain the important part of good plans is that they plan on the plan not going to plan. Locking in and protecting strong foundations are important. Along the way expect failure. Markets are volatile and just put those moments down to the price you pay for being in the game
The world is a chaotic place, characterised by long passages of failure and non events punctuated by a few dramatic successes. Out of more than 21,000 venture financings from 2004 to 2014, 65% lost money, 0.5% made 50X and produced the majority of the returns. From 1980 – 2014, 40% of all Russell 3000 stocks failed. Success has often been determined by just staying in the game and dollar cost averaging to ride the failures and pick up the occasional wins.
Money allows you to chose what you do, with whom, for how long. Thats the prize and the highest dividend money pays, allowing you to spend time on things with those that matter.
Building wealth has a lot to do with your savings rate, the daily struggle against the instinct to extend your peacock feathers and saving not for things, but as a hedge against the inevitable likely hood of life to surprise the hell out of you at the worst possible moments. The most powerful way to raise your savings rate is to lower your humility and your spending
Making fully rational decisions requires a lot of data and a lot of research and even then the analysis will likely be incomplete. In face of this its making reasonable decisions that keep us in the game and doing the things that make life worth living. Some reasonable ideas like investing in things you know and love, balancing your portfolio across a range of risks and time, make reasonable sense
Historians aren’t prophets. The future will largely be dependent on a small number of outliers, people and events , that shape the course of the way forward as it has in the past. As 7 people and events shaped the 19th century, its likely a similar number will map the next 100 years, none of them predicatble. There will be more surprises.
Given the likelyhood of surprises having the largest impact we should expect such and protect the things that matter from catastrophic risk. Whilst the odds are reasonable you’ll be fine, the loss is not worth taking the risk. Expect it all to go badly and maintain that room for error. Everything that will go wrong probably will. The best way to avoid massive pain is to avoid single points of failure – spread your risk.
We all want to be special and for it to go well. Yet the more we want something to happen the more likely we are to believe a story that overestimates the odds of it being true. This is confirmation bias at work. Despite 85% of active mutual funds underperforming the benchmarks peope still invest in them . People stiill keep falling for get rich quick schemes. Beware. The higer the stakes, the wider the margin for error should be.
All going well we will all change who we are, what we want, what we believe in and so we should – its growth. This makes long term planning hard because theres a lot of change. That said, building in moderate amounts of everything; money, free time, fun, family and friends and you’ll probably do ok.
As you create that plan, recognise we’re all playing different games with different amounts of resource, risk and timelines. Recognise the race your playing and stay in your swimlane without getting caught up in others.
Core Behaviour and Habit Set
By collapsing these principles into a core set of habits and behaviours, a set of financial player maps can be created that look out for these behaviours, encourage and reward them. They are configurable by our clients to adapt them for their markets.
Financial Fitness Codified
Odyssey tracks clients progress of these core behaviours with you across time, space and momentum to create a set of coordinates, that consolidate as a score. They are blended in a way that recognises their success as well as their contribution to yours , encouraging individual progress as well as loyalty. Points allocate and decay across the three core parameters. As well as being used to measure their financial fitness they can be used to rank clients across loyalty tiers in a much more intelligent way than previous card loyalty schemes that largely rewarded bad behaviour. All parameters are selectable and configurable within the broad money philosophy
Measuring the length of the relationship as well as the time within a mission.
Measuring the spread and depth across the various missions, are they saving, spending, investing, lending and to what level
Pace is a metric of all fitness, and so with money the measurement of the monthly cadence of saving, spending, investing and debt management is a critical success factor