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We’re living longer than ever before. How might our financial services and products reflect the changing needs of this longevity?


While our “halfway point” of life was once considered to be 35 or 40, we’re now looking at 50 years of age as a turning point. What’s the impact of this longevity? On one hand it means more time to learn new skills, travel, be with family, and lead a rich life. Alternatively, enjoying longer lives with changing needs has become a compelling healthcare, housing, and economic challenge.

For our Challenge, we’ll keep the focus narrowly on the economic impact. Specifically, the importance and increased relevance of financial services as we get older. Did you know that consumers over 50 represent 35% of the US population and collectively hold 83% of total household wealth? When we hit 50 our life in some ways is just starting – we might be growing our careers, paying off a house, planning for retirement, and thinking about how to save for those big dreams we still wish to accomplish. Many over 50 are also transitioning from being the primary caregivers for their children to being caregivers for their elderly parents. Our 50s are a reflection point for a lot of us. Will we have enough money for our expenses? How will we pay? Do we prioritize certain expenses over others? What will we be able to pass along to the next generation?

We’ll be focusing on financial products and services for those 50 and older, coupled with the impact that successful financial management has on our communities. As this age group works toward financial security, we’re interested to see and hear how improving the financial health of those over 50 may also benefit our communities as a whole. For this Challenge, we see credit unions with their member centric missions as a key lever in our search for solutions. Credit unions are member-owned and exist to serve their members and be a safe place for saving and borrowing. They’re focused on community and often linked to local organizations. We believe there’s huge potential in starting here as we design financial services for longevity. Let’s create solutions that provide security and joy to those who are older and their families. Curious to know more about credit unions? Learn more.

Within the 50 and older population, we're most interested in solutions that meet the needs of those 50-65. At a certain point past that age, we stop adopting new technology. 50-65 is a time when we're still eager to adopt products and services that will meet our needs, and we're reflecting on where we've been and where we want to go. Let's create solutions for this sweet spot full of potential.

This is an opportunity that requires attention, creativity, and collaboration, and our OpenIDEO community is a perfect place to build and discover innovative solutions. We all have an important role to play in ensuring our future – and the future of our loved ones – is financially smart, simple, and secure.

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We're calling a global community of all ages to action – to share your stories, reflections, interviews, and findings related to financial services for those 50 and older during our Research phase. Then – collaboratively during our Ideas phase – we’ll create solutions that make services smart, simple, and secure for older adults.

With help from our challenge sponsors, we’ll create a shortlist of submitted ideas that will move into our Refinement phase. During the Refinement phase all ideas are encouraged to continue progressing, while the shortlist represents ideas that are most active and aligned with our Evaluation Criteria.

After an iterative Refinement phase we’ll announce Top Ideas from the challenge - a set of solutions that represent innovation and impact in the topic area.

Evaluation Criteria

Our evaluation criteria come from themes that emerged during discussions with our challenge sponsors. We’re excited to see these themes represented in the ideas posted during the Ideas phase and ultimately in our Top Ideas. We’re looking for ideas that…

  • Are designed for 50+. Financial services and products that reflect the needs and dreams of those 50 and older are at the heart of this challenge. How does your idea tackle this issue with potential to drastically improve the lives of those 50 and older? We’re excited to help you embrace your creative instincts to create fresh solutions on this topic.

  • Are innovative. We're eager to think beyond the current structure of financial services and products. Does your idea bring something completely new to the field or ignite existing efforts in a new way? How is your idea unique to similar efforts in the field and what is the specific value-add

  • Stay simple. The most impactful ideas are often the ones that start from a focused and simple place. Think about the needs at the center of this topic and one basic step that would change the way we think about finances for those over 50. Could you give someone else the blueprint of your idea to go test in their local community? Then you’re probably onto something special.

  • Consider scale. Starting local can be really powerful – but how might your idea be transferable to a larger number of people? How might you balance both scalability and replicability? What are the clear next steps for your idea and how will they become real?

  • Are human-centered. This is at the heart of OpenIDEO’s approach. Lead with empathy by talking to potential end users, developing prototypes and collecting feedback from those you’re designing for.


Most of the discussion around financial services is around millennials. However, we know that the 50+ generation is driving more financial activity and has a higher growth rate in digital channel use. With this challenge, we’re especially excited to see technology and experiences that are designed with older people in mind – specifically those who are 50+. At the end of our process, we’re looking for ideas that are actionable by financial services providers (like CO-OP and Mastercard) and credit unions. We’re keen to see both products and experiences that you might be working on or thinking up.

OpenIDEO has partnered with CO-OP Financial Services and Mastercard for The Financial Longevity Challenge. All the stakeholders in this challenge are eager to see the radical conversations and unexpected collaborations that come from this effort. Opening this topic to a global community with a variety of experiences, cultural backgrounds, and areas of expertise holds great potential and rich learning opportunities.

Ideally, this challenge will yield tangible solutions that our sponsors are excited to support. CO-OP Financial Services – with the support of Mastercard – will be awarding their $10,000 THINK prize to one or more Top Ideas from the process. As the challenge unfolds, we'll share more about our goals and post-challenge opportunities so you know where we're headed.

As always, we encourage everyone to take your ideas forward and implement them in your own communities. On OpenIDEO we strive to be a place where good ideas gain momentum – both from the community and from our sponsors and partners. For more information check out our Guiding Principles for tips on how our community collaborates.

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CO-OP Financial Services is a financial technology company that supports a vast network of credit unions across the United States. It was founded on the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people,’ and uses technological expertise and thought leadership to provide innovative tools and services to credit unions across the country.
Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is a technology company in the global payments industry. They operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.

Want to learn more? Check out AARP's report on Financial Longevity and OpenIDEO's Human-Centered Design Toolkit for Credit Unions.

Do you want to get involved in this challenge?

We follow a process with phases. Currently we are in the Impact phase. You can participate by adding stories on the impact of this challenge.
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