Building on the research phase of this challenge, this idea was developed keeping in mind the persona of a mid-20 year old young immigrant, looking for ways to tailor his financial behavior so as to secure his future goals of maintaining good health, staying relevant in his profession and ensuring that he could take care of his family.
His fear? Are there opportunities available to me right now that I am not taking advantage of to help me secure my future?
This led to the questions:
- What can be done to educate individuals about financial services?
Another component of this idea came from the notion of how an individual's financial decisions affected their community as a whole. Is there a way to affect changes in financial decision-making so that the community benefits as a whole?
Keeping these two questions at the core of the brainstorming process, an idea was developed for a decision-making tool that translates individual financial decisions into tangible, future financial goals while presenting a method for optimizing financial spending within the community as a whole.
- Users sign into a website/app that asks them questions about future financial goals. These questions serve the purpose of translating qualitative goals (I want a house, high-end SUV and one vacation to a foreign country every year) into quantitative goals (pension income, savings, retirement income).
- The website/app creates a roadmap for an individual, including information such as investment opportunities, how much money should be stashed into a savings account versus how much money should be invested in stocks/bonds and provide assistance on how to create short-term budgets.
- The website/app then automatically tracks the individuals spending habits (see Mint).
- Periodically, the individual gets immediate feedback on how his/her current financial habits are affecting his/her future goals. Will I still be able to afford my high-end SUV at the age of 67? Could I take my spouse on a trip to Italy when we're both 75?
Here's where it gets interesting. Can we take this idea and replicate it to reflect the decisions made by the community that an individual is part of? Let's build on that.
- When the users sign into the website, they get the option of joining a community based on their locations and common affiliations (such as university attended, credit unions).
- The financial behavior of each individual in the community is then tracked and each decision made is translated into a real-time effect on the community as a whole. Did Samantha make a financial decision today that is likely to drive my credit union to lower interest rates in the future? Are there cultural differences between communities that can drive how my future looks? (an example of studies conducted on the role of culture on financial behavior can be found here and here)
- In addition, the website also suggests steps that each individual can take to optimize the benefits to the community as a whole.
With the role that smaller communities of people play on credit unions, this idea could serve as a model for how individuals can leverage the dynamic decisions made by those around them to maximize their potential for future financial stability in order to meet their goals.