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A Community-Based Approach to Financial Decision-Making

Communal decision-making and future goal realization for affecting change in current, individual financial behavior.

Photo of Naman Mandhan

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?

This idea is designed around young professionals, in their mid-20s to 30s, who have have recently started financial planning for retirement or are looking for ways to save for their future.

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:

  1. What can be done to educate individuals about financial services?
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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?

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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.

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The idea

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. The website/app then automatically tracks the individuals spending habits (see Mint).
  4. 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.

  5. 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).
  6. 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)
  7. 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.

This idea emerged from

  • An OpenIDEO Outpost or Chapter

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Photo of James Carter
Team

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Photo of James Carter
Team

Good Day Everyone,

Are you a business man or woman? Are you in any financial mess or Do you need funds to start up your own business? Do you need a loan to start a nice Small Scale and medium business? Do you have a low credit score and you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks and other financial institutes? Our loans are well insured for maximum security is our priority, Our leading goal is to help you get the services you deserve, Our program is the quickest way to get what you need in a snap. Reduce your payments to ease the strain on your monthly expenses. Gain flexibility with which you can use for any purpose from vacations, To education, To unique purchases.

We offer the following types of loans:

* Car Loan
* Home Loan
* Mortgage Loan
* Investment Loan
* Commercial Loan
* Construction Loan
* Debt Consolidation Loan
* Business Loan [secure and unsecured]
* Personal Loan [secure and unsecured]
* Student Loan and so many more.

We offer a wide range of financial services which includes: Business Planning, Commercial and Development Finance, Properties and Mortgages, Debt Consolidation Loans, Business Loans, Private loans, Home Refinancing Loans with low interest rate at 2% per annul for individuals, Companies and corporate bodies. Get the best for your family and own your dream home as well with our General Loan scheme. Interested applicants should Contact us via

Email: info@financiallnservice.com
Text or call: +1-210-556-0342
Website: financiallnservice.com

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Photo of Tammy Robert
Team

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Photo of Nicole Lopez-Conti
Team

Hi Naman,

Super interesting ideas. I love the ideas of using data to influence behavior and the idea of being able to track along the continuum toward completing goals.

@katerushton Thanks for sharing your Pinterest goals. You've inspired me to do the same. Previously, I've only used Pinterest for specific projects but you've broadened my thinking to using it as a vision board for life goals too.

Naman and Kate - I wonder if there would be a way to piggy back on existing credit union technology and implement a way to use data and track toward goals, similar to the way Halifax in England did?

Naman - I've spent some time in credit unions and I'd love to continue to riff with you on how credit unions might benefit from and further your ideas. What might be the ways you could foresee them making this real?

Photo of Naman Mandhan
Team

Hi Nicole!

Thank you for your questions. They definitely got me thinking and here are some of my thoughts.

I think that an interesting aspect of credit unions that make them so unique is that they are very community-oriented in the sense that members of the credit union having something in common in terms of a place of employment, geographical location, school or other affiliated organizations. I think that this proposed platform could prove to be especially beneficial for credit unions since it offers individuals an incentive to affect change in their community, which in turn can lead to benefits for these individuals. 

For example, while signing up, users can join a community based on their common affiliations, which in this case could be a credit union where each member who is part of this community shares a common bond. The users can then see how their spending compares with that of the other members in their community and help them forecast how their personal decisions and those of others can affect the community as a whole. If each individual has an incentive to affect his/her financial behavior in a way that positively impacts the community, this could mean higher benefits from the credit union that this community is a part of.

The data to track this financial behavior can be made available through the credit union itself, where administrators can track the behavior of the members of the community, giving them a real-time picture of their current financial situation but also a projection of what the future may look like.

What are your thoughts?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Naman!

I hope you are having a nice weekend. 

I just want to highlight an idea in a previous OpenIDEO challenge on financial empowerment by Kristiaan Gumley - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/feedback/you-me-finance

What do you think of the use of community proposed in this idea?

Photo of Naman Mandhan
Team

Hi Kate!

Thanks for sharing! I love this idea! I think that there is a common theme between these two ideas. In addition, I also looked at your Coach.me idea and see potential for a combination between the three.

I think the concept of using your peers/community to help set goals and influence financial behavior is great. I know that I for one would benefit from knowing how the people around me are making their financial decisions so that I have a basis for comparing my financial decisions. Moreover, it would also give me the opportunity to establish "best practices" or a "do's/dont's" list when it comes to financial decision making.

Is there a way we can take all of this data that we are collecting about people's financial decisions and use it to develop a system that serves as a decision-making tool? Would it be beneficial to provide users with a way to establish a direct relation between the financial decisions that are being made in their community and their personal financial goals?

What are your thoughts on this?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Naman! Thank you for responding so quickly!

I would personally like to be part of a community with similar goals to myself.

If it helps my goals are on this Pinterest link - https://uk.pinterest.com/krusht/my-goals/

I also mentioned them on Andrea Zelenak post on https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/ideas/financial-goal-app 

I can see some similarities between both of your ideas. 

I found this article on Bloomberg about peer influence on finances - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-07/look-how-much-your-peers-are-saving-for-retirement-you-loser-

"With Empower's tool, retirement savers can compare their contribution rate and balance with the average for people of their gender and their age and income ranges. They can also see how they stack up against the top 10 percent of their peers, which Empower says is the real point of the exercise.

In a sample of 30,000 savers Empower tracked, 5,000 changed their savings rate while using the tool, bumping up their contribution, on average, from a starting point of 7.3 percent of salary to match the top savers' average rate of 9.1 percent, for a 25 percent increase."

I think with things like Mint (https://www.mint.com/how-mint-works) on the market it is possible to compare day-to-day spending habits. I am not sure of the rules around the use of the data. 

It would be interesting to have the perspective of the 50-65 age group. Do you have some friends, family members or relatives that might be able to give their input over the holiday season?

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

I have also found some information about an initiative run by Halifax (a bank in the UK) where people could compare their spending habits with people similar to themselves across Great Britain using its new ‘People Like You’ tool.

"’People Like You’ provides tailored insights showing the spending habits for the chosen demographic, meaning people can also look at comparable data for what their spending and saving may look like when they are older or if they are considering moving to a different area. Users can navigate around an interactive personalised results page to see information on the holidays taken, financial products, personal finance and employment status of people similar to them – even down to what devices are owned, hobbies and typical pets kept."

http://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/Media/Press-Releases/2016-press-releases/halifax/see-how-your-spending-and-lifestyle-stacks-up-with-halifaxs-people-like-you/

Photo of Naman Mandhan
Team

Hi Kate!

Thank you so much for sharing that research! I think it's amazing that tools like this exist today and I am curious to learn about how successful these tools have been in terms of attracting new users as well as seeing positive effects among users who already use them. It will also be interesting to understand the different age groups that use these tools to give further insight into how early or late people start thinking about their savings.

I personally use Mint to track my spending/savings and I think that there is a lot of potential for using that data to track financial behavior patterns within communities; like you, however, I am unsure about how that collected data can be used.

Your goals on Pinterest are amazing! I think having some of those personal goals is great, with maybe a status bar that shows how close you are to achieving that goal? Users can potentially also look at 'What if?' scenarios. For example, if I was trying to save $5000 for a trip to Europe by 2020 but then realized that there was a potential for me to save/invest some money, I could look at three or four different scenarios to check how quickly I could get to my goal and if I'm better off investing this "new" money into a different goal.

I hope to gather information from some friends and family this break to see what they think!

Thank you so much for all of your input!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Naman!

Great idea! I really like the role of the community in this idea and how an individual's actions affects others. 

Have you seen these ideas?

Ange Zelenak Financial Goals app - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/ideas/financial-goal-app - I noticed that she is a member of your team. 

Crystal 's group's Gamifiying Savings - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/ideas/gamifying-saving

Is there a way to pivot your idea to take the 50-65 year-olds or people just under this age bracket in order to be more aligned to the challenge brief:

"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."

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Also, is there any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Naman Mandhan
Team

Hi Kate!

Thank you for the constructive feedback! I think those are all great insights! 

I was able to read through the ideas from Ange and Crystal and see a lot of opportunities for integrating our three ideas together. I think that the basic premise of instant gratification and showing users the immediate effects of their financial behavior can be implemented in several different ways, which makes it all so exciting!

Building on your suggestion of tailoring this to the 50-65 year old range, I think a good way of potentially doing that could be to have a 'previous roadmap' and 'future roadmap'. When a user signs into the website, a question could be 'How old are you?' or 'What age group do you lie in?'. Depending on what age group the user selects, the questions that follow could be different for different age groups and help in building the roadmap. This is something I hadn't considered and your suggestion has definitely given me plenty to think about with regards to tailoring this idea to different age groups.

Uploaded a picture! I appreciate your feedback and look forward to more interactions in the near future!

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Naman!

I like the picture it really demonstrates the individual and the community.

I really like the idea of the roadmap showing you where you were; where you are' and where you are going. This is something I would like to have in my life. :-)

I just want to highlight a couple of posts from the research phases that might help you in taking your idea forward.

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/research/coach-me

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/research/the-right-kind-of-post-retirement-bucket-lists

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/research/bought-by-many-example-of-innovation-in-fintech

What is the next step for you? What help/guidance/support would you like from the OpenIDEO community?

It would be interesting to know all of the cultural groups in the 50-65 age category in the US. I noted this on the research link you posted: ‘ empirically test their hypotheses using a customer database from a multinational financial services firm based in the United Arab Emirates, with customers originating from 34 countries'

Have a lovely weekend!
Have a nice weekend!

Photo of Andrea Zelenak
Team

I think this is great!  1. I was listening to a podcast yesterday by Suze Orman and she was talking about at the age of 25, you should already be investing a huge amount in stocks, even more so than someone who is older than you. This blew my mind so I see the need of this even more.  2. The younger generation loves this sort of format of an online quiz- so I think this is great!  3. Where can student loans or debt come into play? I think that could be added to number 2. I'm in this boat right now where it give you a suggestion of how much you should be paying per month, but it doesn't really change based on how much money you have or how much you could be paying per month. 

Photo of Naman Mandhan
Team

Hi Ange!

Great suggestion! I think including student loans, mortgage payments, car finance charges and other types of debt would definitely help in painting a clearer picture of a user's current financial situation and help construct a better roadmap.

Thank you for sharing! I look forward to seeing you at our next chapter meeting soon!