Help 250 Million Speak "Finance"
"My daughter wants to invest in the stock market with her savings. She is 19...."
Financial firms have an amazing opportunity to help us all get out of the COVID recession, and they need to start by educating us. According to a recent study, Americans’ financial literacy is declining, not increasing. The firms that teach the best, could win BIG. Starting with educating our kids!
GenX Is Craving Your Services
My friend said to me yesterday “My daughter is 19 has saved a little money, and now even during COVID, instead of buying herself something like a new iPhone, she wants to invest in the Stock Market. She asked me how to start.” This is a sign of a new generation who WANTS to be educated. My daughter, 12, asked me to get her a business license for her birthday. I look at her expensive school and remember: managing finances and making investments is not taught as a requirement to the general public in educational settings. I didn’t take a good course on business until I had to try to RUN a business - that was my course.
Language is a Challenge
COVID has made us all aware that we SHOULD have had more money saved. But not for a rainy day (like my mother said), but for a Pandemic. Now more than ever it is imperative that that support organizations such as financial services and others speak directly to family and business needs.
Yet, when I go to most financial and Insurance websites, I am greeted with words that require that I practically have a financial degree: Annuities, High Yield, Diversification…etc.
“Americans are struggling, and at times they’re clueless — and that’s a disaster recipe right there,”- George Barany, director of the America Saves initiative at the Consumer Federation of America.
American’s don’t understand many financial terms and don’t understand Risk. In a recent survey, only 37% of Americans got basic questions right regarding risk and investments. I suspect some of these wrong answers were because we forgot how to do algebra word problems.
A question from a college entrance exam math section that uses investment language might give us perspective on my “math” and language theory: Can you answer it?
Investment A will deliver a return of either 10% or 6%, with each outcome equally likely. Investment B will deliver a return of either 12% or 4%, with each outcome equally likely. You can expect to earn more by investing in which?
It is a trick question: the expected return is the same, at 8%. Only 31% of Americans got it right in the latest annual financial literacy survey conducted by the TIAA Institute and the George Washington University School of Business Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC).
Let me ask another question of the Financial marketing leaders: When you go to a nice restaurant (Well, ok, soon when we all get to go to one!), does the Chef ask you to know complex culinary terms so that you order the right meal? Do you have to know it was a Coulis that started the sauce and that the meat was cooked En papillote? Only those of us who obsess over the cooking shows know a few of these terms. So, that leads me to the next misfire on financial sites: Product Language.
Product Names are Another Challenge
Please don’t simply promote your products and services that require me to memorize the ad agency’s handy way of naming your investment tea: When I call you, I actually have to ask for the “SMIG TEAM”? (Um, embarrassing!) After 10 web pages of pictures of pretty families running in the grass, I still don’t know why, who, or which number to call.
Does your website communicate how you can help now and in the future? Do your explainer videos provide potential clients with the information they need to make wise financial decisions?
A new generation of investors is watching this pandemic fall out and is already seeking to ensure they have the financial instruments in place for their future security. How can you help them understand how you can help?