Have you ever been emotional about money? Almost certainly the answer is yes.
Whether the emotion is stress, anxiety, elation or relief, money and our well-being go hand in hand.
Financial planners already know this very well. They are at the forefront, seeing first-hand the impact their plans have on the lives and health of their clients.
I never get tired of stories floating around my desk from happy end clients.
Recent examples include: She had nothing when she was younger and wanted me to understand the importance of it. But managing my money was difficult.
We connect with consumers and don’t do enough of what matters to them
“I was in my second professional job when I started feeling incredibly stressed. I had no savings and was spending everything every month. I thought, but I didn’t know what to do.
“My employer at the time suggested meeting with a financial coach. I was able to talk about my concerns and she overwhelmed it all. You can now control your money.
“Being able to make a plan with a few small changes has greatly improved my mental health. I feel happier and more confident in my situation.”
It’s incredible to see the impact of financial services in such a short exchange. But the financial services industry has a lot of work to do to help society with money.
Sadly, too many people feel left out of our industry, especially among the younger generation.
A big part of the problem is that we don’t do enough to connect with our consumers and do what’s important to them.
Getting more people interested in their money is more than just providing information and guidance
Providing information is not enough because money affects our emotions. We operate in an industry that has responded to regulatory challenges by drafting smaller print.
Consumer obligations impose greater requirements on all of us to set the standard of engagement and understanding instead. Currently, nearly half of consumers do not read financial information.
The first opportunity is for managers to realize the social impact of their investments. It helps build emotional and tangible connections for investors.
I’ve found this easier when investing in private markets. Sitting at a boardroom table is a very different opportunity than attending an annual meeting. We were able to see the real impact companies were having and communicate that to the final investor.
We have found that people are actually involved in investing because they can see how their money has impacted the world around them.
We have helped companies sell products that truly change lives. Quit Genius, for example, is a digital solution that helps you quit addiction. People who use the company’s apps and services have a 53% quit rate compared to 27% with his traditional one-on-one treatment. Since launching in 2020, Quit Genius has already reached over 700,000 people worldwide.
Our job is to touch the hearts and minds of consumers.
Another example is Elvie, a pioneer in women’s technology. We design and manufacture women’s wellness technology, including silent wearable breast pumps. We serve a market that has been neglected for too long. Not surprisingly, the first batch of breast pumps sold out within minutes.
A second opportunity to connect with consumers is to spend money to expand access to personalized support.
This is a point I emphasized in my previous column. Getting more people to care about their finances is more than just providing information and guidance. You want engagement and personalization. To make these big financial decisions, we ultimately want to talk to someone who understands our needs.
This has become a strong passion of mine and my mission for the next few years is to help more people access financially personalized support.
In my four years as CEO of Octopus Investments, the biggest things I’ve learned are:
Ruth Handcock is the former CEO of Octopus Investments.