Tag Archives: Technology

Use technology to deliver Youth Financial Literacy

The comments below have been copied from a response mailed to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada relating to their consultation on a National Strategy for Financial Literacy.

I’ve struggled with the problem that it’s taking far too long to deliver a National Strategy for Youth Financial Literacy in Canada.

I really believe that the problem is not about having enough resources or having enough organizations or experts that want to assist. As a Country, Canada is blessed with all of that. I believe that the real problem is the delivery of a Financial Literacy to Youth and the answer appears at least to me so obvious…

Let’s use technology to deliver Financial Literacy to youth who have grown up in a technology enabled world.

It’s not about generating more financial literacy resources – let’s expedite the delivery of those resources in an efficient and effective way…

bigstock-Financial-Literacy-Road-Sign-I-48133208 (1)

In 2005 the OECD had this to say about Improving Financial Literacy

Financial education can benefit consumers of all ages and income levels. For young adults just beginning their working lives, it can provide basic tools for budgeting and saving so that expenses and debt can be kept under control. Financial education can help families acquire the discipline to save for a home of their own and/or for their children’s education. It can help older workers ensure that they have enough savings for a comfortable retirement by providing them with the information and skills to make wise investment choices with both their pension plans and any individual savings plans

– OECD, Improving Financial Literacy: Analysis of Issues and Policies, 2005

That was 2005 but now it’s 2014 and almost 2015

9 years later…the need for financial literacy education is only more critical in a much more complex & “consumerism” oriented world that we all live in today. On  a personal level, 9 years later, I’m older, crankier and a lot less patient in waiting for youth financial literacy to become a priority. My oldest graduated high school in Ontario 2 years ago and my youngest son is graduating this year and neither can recall any mention of Money Management, Interest, Borrowing, Saving, Investing, Budgeting, Smart purchasing or financial planning in any of their courses outside of Accounting. I’m glad they came up in accounting as they should, but the problem is that not every student feels inspired to take accounting and in fact, accounting is not offered in every school in the Province. (That’s a different problem that I will refrain from talking about here). Both sons have indicated that there has been no hint of money or financial management matters or advice in any “ Integrated Way as the Ministry of Education in Ontario likes to promote.

Let’s just agree. The current patchwork theme of programs & integration into current curriculum that depends on motivated teachers & a variety of different resources & materials doesn’t work. 

My sons happen to be otherwise, lucky. They have taken accounting in high school in order to have a basic knowledge of how to account for money from at least a business perspective and their Mom is an accountant and their Dad is in finance. That leads to a lot of talk about money around the house and we can help make them financially literate. But what about other students?  Surveys show that the majority of families don’t discuss finance and money management at home. A designated financial capability program inside the curriculum across each school board is what’s required for our youth.

It’s critical for youth to have financial literacy skills.. It’s critical because life is a lot more complicated these days, where “consumerism” is rampant, marketing is aggressive & excessive, Credit Card applications are easy to come by and even the Government is in the business of supporting gambling, in the form of tickets, online betting, Bingo & slots. It’s critical for students to learn basic if not intermediate skills, to become good consumers and navigate the good from the bad. But it’s also critical to the future economy of Canada. It’s also particularly critical to have financial literacy skills in place for those 46% of youth who are expected to start a business after graduation.

The results of a study commissioned by the Investor Education Fund for both 2012 and 2009 make the case for how far we have not progressed in the area of  Youth Financial Literacy

IEF 2012 Survey on Youth Fin Lit

The results for 2012 show little if no progress over 3 years. Instead, the results highlight a greater need:

-Only 26% of students felt they were knowledgeable about money & that they made good spending decisions (28% in 2009)

-59% of students felt that schools should provide them with information on managing money after graduation (57% in 2009)

-70% of students thought it was important to learn about managing personal finance (64% in 2009)

And…39% of students felt prepared to manage their money after graduation (38% in 2009)

We are failing our Youth in the delivery of Financial Literacy which is detrimental to them & the economy of Canada long-term.

The question for me is not really about the need for generating more financial literacy resources. There are lots of great and unbiased materials and resources available:

  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides a Financial Literacy database of resources
  • EduGains provides resources for Ontario Elementary & Secondary School Educators
  • The Canadian Bankers Association provides resources for students across Canada
  • Junior Achievement provides tools and games and resources specific to youth
  • The Investor Education Fund provides money resources for students, parents & teachers

The question for me instead is more about those resources not being ‘delivered’ efficiently and effectively for the benefit of our youth in Canada. I think that it’s clear from the lack of progress to date as well as the urgency of the need that we can’t deliver financial literacy education by way of traditional methods for youth in particular.

I believe Financial Literacy education can be delivered efficiently and effectively without any further delay with the help of unbiased professionals & financial organizations using technology that exists today. Technology is changing the way we do everything else in our lives so it seems a natural solution (at least to me)

Leveraging technology enabled E-Learning to deliver a Canada wide Financial Literacy program has outstanding potential to benefit youth who have grown up in a technology enabled world. And while I’m not an expert, I believe e-learning offered in a classroom setting (termed “blended learning”) offers additional benefits. Teachers already have the experience required to facilitate active discussion and learning but the challenge of educating teachers on how to deliver financial literacy education in particular seems to be one of the large obstacles getting in the way of teaching financial literacy education in a traditional way.

I think so many people – myself  included – don’t feel we do this [handle money] properly in our own lives, so we would need the tools to confidently teach the  proper information to our students.

Comment from a teacher Reference: A sound investment-Report from the Working Group on Financial Literacy Ministry of Education-Ontario 2010 

We need to change the way that the delivery of financial literacy education is offered. Research has shown that blending online learning with classroom time is the most effective way to learn.

bigstock-E-learning-and-education-conce-43944544

The Internet is plentiful with examples of  great e-learning providers, opportunities and solutions. Online learning already provides free world-class education for individuals around the world on a variety of topics.

Listed below are some of the significant advantages of using e-learning as compared to traditional learning which I would suggest would apply to a financial literacy e-learning environment geared towards youth.

  1. Quicker implementation. E-learning in most jurisdictions already exists with reputable organizations offering e-learning infrastructures already,  therefore, there would be no  need to invent or re-invent “the wheel”. Learning would not be restricted by the number of trained teachers.
  2. More Cost effective. For a number of reasons including lower delivery costs, less paper and a reduction in learning compression, E-learning is a more cost-effective way to deliver financial literacy across Canada
  3. It’s Consistent, Inclusive & Relevant. Regardless of the Province or the location of the School or the School Board education provided by E-learning would be consistent and equalized thanks to an Internet connection. This is a BIG one.
  4. Better Appeal to a wider range of learning styles. E-learning is facilitated through a variety of activities. A 9 year survey of literature on e-learning states : “Learners learn more using computer based instruction than they do with conventional ways of teaching as measured by higher test scores”
  5. Tracking progress is easier. Standardized testing can be easily included but e-learning lends itself to knowing when a student is having difficulty with a particular topic without them having to raise a hand. This is a BIG advantage over traditional learning.
  6. Less ‘teacher talk’ and more ‘student talk’. Who doesn’t like to hear their teacher talk but sometimes, you can learn more effectively when information is shared between students & ideas are exchanged. Blended E-learning makes that possible. A richer learning experience that is repeatable will help learners learn and retain the course content better
  7. It’s accessible. E-learning can be assessed anytime and anywhere including at home. Parents could also participate more actively (at home) in teaching their children about money and possibly fill their own gaps in financial literacy capabilities

I have provided below, 2 great examples of e-learning options that deliver Financial Literacy Education  that I hope you will take the time to review:

The Khan Academy who has done outstanding work in other areas of education has partnered  with the Bank of America on a financial literacy project they call Better Money Habits. This site has become a great resource for Americans to learn about and better navigate their finances  It helps consumers build their knowledge and understanding of finances through objective and unbiased videos and tools providing the opportunity to help them become more interested in savings and planning their finances.

https://www.bettermoneyhabits.com/khan-academy-partnership.html

MoneySense is a national financial education in Singapore offered by The Institute for Financial Literacy and Singapore Polytechnic & powered by Udemy (another much respected e-learning provider). The free financial education program  offers  an unbiased financial literacy education program to consumers to enhance their financial literacy over 3 tiers: Basic Money Management, Financial Planning and Investment Know-How

https://www.udemy.com/u/alexlum/

These are but 2 examples  of the quality of e-learning that’s already in place for financial literacy education. However,  I think these examples provide an idea of what Canada could deliver with the help of collaboration & cooperation between the various stakeholders:

  • Non-profit financial organizations & financial literacy leaders that have joined together to help move financial literacy forward to date by providing resources
  • The appropriate Federal & Provincial Agencies & Departments involved in Education.
  • Classroom based teachers who would facilitate delivery & discussion in the classroom

For the sake of our youth and our mutual economies, I think we can and must find the room needed in classrooms and curriculum for financial literacy education by prioritizing the critical need that we all acknowledge it to be.  Delivering it by way of e-blended learning inside the classrooms would be effective and efficient.  E-blended learning will eliminate any further delay & avoid the excessive expense that might otherwise be incurred to educate teachers first and/or require the hiring of additional educators across such a diverse and huge Country geographically.

A natural place at least in Ontario, I would suggest would be to add it into the Grade 10 Semester where students currently learn about Careers & Civics which coincides with the time when many youth are getting their first job. Splitting the semester into 3 topics to include Financial literacy education I think makes good sense.. Being financially literate is critical when you have a career and being financially literate involves being an active citizen and a smart consumer; which is an important part of Civics.  I understand that the BC Ministry of Education chose Grade 10 as the optimum

With respect to your specific consultation questions I would like to also offer the following:

  • I agree with the goals set out in the financial consultation paper and the framework proposed to promote a culture of financial well-being
  • The suggestions made above referring to an e-blended learning financial literacy education site for youth are my suggestion to the question of programs or services that are or would be effective for helping children and youth learn to manage their money
  • Surveys suggest that we cannot rely on parents to teach their children about money. A growing proportion of parents are in need of financial literacy education themselves or are newcomers to Canada. An e-blended learning financial literacy education site would help encourage and facilitate learning at home and may also benefit families as a whole

I hope some of the above will be helpful and constructive to your consultation process. I look forward to hearing more from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada with regards to your important consultations on a National Strategy for Financial Literacy in Canada.

 

 

Spur some economic action

Unclaimed funds could spur economic action

A Billion dollars in Unclaimed Funds would make for a nice Economic Action Plan in Canada

Let’s not promote youth working for free…Let’s put the $1 Billion in Unclaimed financial assets that the Bank of Canada is sitting on to work to spur economic action

While it’s great that Governor Poloz recognizes the problem of youth unemployment it’s concerning that the best idea that he seems to have for the estimated 200,000 jobless or under-employed youth is to advise them to work for free. I’m the first to support the value in volunteering but he has gone further than that & supported unpaid internships…so I must disagree.

It seems an insensitive and unsympathetic solution to the problem of thousands of youth many with undergraduate and/or advanced degrees to take unpaid internships. He seems to suggest that it’s ok to subvert “minimum-wage” laws and most specifically to ignore the fact that unless those unpaid internships are part of a college or university program, such positions are actually illegal in certain jurisdictions in Canada like Ontario where he lives and works

Unpaid internships unrelated to academic study devalue the skills and abilities of youth. There’s a more obvious problem as well. How many jobless youth can afford to “donate” their efforts without pay especially those without the advantage of parents who can carry them or those youth who have high student debt loads ?

Unpaid internships may work for the privileged few but let’s be honest…many of those internships are exploitive. They are too often used by employers taking advantage of a tight job market with little or no training in return for free labour and a bump to their bottom line

Unpaid internships are not the answer Governor Poloz is are seeking. But here are some suggestions :

*Gather real input about the kinds of well-trained, younger workers Canada needs to grow our economy.
*Support youth entrepreneurship which should start in high school and include financial literacy education
*It’s 2014. Put technology to work to do a better job of matching required skills and jobs in the short and long term future against current education & training programs. Most successful businesses have 3-10 year plans. Please ask them about those plans. Isn’t Stats Canada in-taking a lot of this information already? If we did a better job of this and if educators were required to listen, perhaps we would not have for example a 7 year waiting list of fresh, young, highly skilled teachers looking for part time or full time positions while at the same time, growing this waiting list each year.
*Unleash the $1 Billion in unclaimed financial assets currently being held by the Bank of Canada in the form of unclaimed bank accounts and savings bonds and spur some real economic action. It’s Canada’s “under the radar, Economic Action Plan in Waiting” that no one talks about
*At the very least hire an unemployed youth or 2 (as I suggested to you earlier this year) to build a searchable database so Canadians can locate $420 Million in unclaimed Canada Savings Bonds that lie buried in the Bank of Canada and promote the searchable database that includes $532 Million in unclaimed bank accounts that does exist.

Let’s not promote youth working for free…Let’s put $1 Billion in Unclaimed financial assets that the Bank of Canada is sitting on to work.

US Banking survey

Banks are searching for revenue growth and technology to deliver it

Building revenue is a critical priority for the Banking Industry

The above statement may not perhaps be BIG news in most industries but it is in US Banking. That’s because the emphasis in the US Banking industry is now in high gear after years where the priority (after the financial crisis) was all about managing risk, cutting costs & meeting regulatory requirements.  But now it seems, the focus or refocus is on Revenue Growth in a big way and they are turning to technology to help deliver better relationships with clients & account holders who will help their revenue grow.

The KPMG 2014 Banking Industry Outlook Survey of 100 senior banking executives reports that revenue growth is expected to be delivered by concentrating on relationship building & technology investments that provide better customer experience(s).  

Building better relationships with customers is key to exceeding customer expectations & driving revenue.

  1. Keep customers at the heart of decision-making
  2. Maintain a dedicated focus on understanding customer needs in various customer segments
  3. Deploy an omnichannel approach that offers superior and consistent client experience

The KPMG survey also highlights the areas where most US banks will look for this additional revenue growth. There is a clear eye on wealth management and lending. That means the wealth management sector is going to see competition really heat up.

 

2014 KPMG Banking Survey

Here’s the survey for your reference KPMG_Banking Industry Survey 2014

 

LegacyTracker

Personal Financial Management tools offer big benefits

Banks already know:

Personal Financial Management tools offer BIG benefits …

Other financial service providers can benefit as well

An article recently from Finextra notes that the number of banks adopting Personal Financial Management (PFM) tools to their clients has doubled in the last 3 years.  Why are banks adopting personal financial management tools and what kind of justifications are there in choosing a particular PFM ? A study of a large number of banks highlighted the following 3 benefits for offering personal financial management tools to clients:

  1. Banks want to defend their market position. Banks see PFM as a tool to differentiate their brand & create a new valuable service for their customers
  2. Banks want to increase customer satisfaction, to create loyalty and retention-Banks see the convenience, control & simplicity & organization that benefits their customers. PFM can help customers succeed in achieving their goals (that’s good for everyone)
  3. Banks see PFM as a strategic tool for revenue generation-PFM creates cross-and-up-sell opportunities and provides the marketing staff with better insight into customer needs

The author of the study sums up PFM as being a lucrative revenue generator.. We agree. But it’s a Win/Win offering with a lot to offer users & providers.

Read more from the Finextra article by Artak Vardanyan of Misys  here 

LegacyTracker helps consumers and clients simplify, safeguard & share their important financial/legal and estate information & documents. LegacyTracker helps provide a 360 degree view of finances with reminders & alerts for what needs to be worked on next. In this way, LegacyTracker is a personal financial management tool & can deliver the benefits noted in the article (plus some others).

PFM Offerings should not just be exclusive to Banks 

The benefits of offering a PFM to clients or account holders is not restricted to banks. Wealth Management firms, Credit Unions, Asset managers, Professional service providers like lawyers/Accountants or Estate executors or Member Based organizations have much to gain when clients are better organized, less stressed and more engaged with their financial/estate information.

Connect with us to learn more

 

the Millennial Mind

Millennials rising: With the power to be disruptive (in a good way)

This interesting infographic on the (mysterious?) Millennial Mind highlights how Millennials have a devotion to Authenticity, Community and Giving & comes by way of PSCU : The Millennial Mind

PSCU initiated a Make your Money Matter Movement recently to help leverage what they know about the Millennial generation to attract, engage & move millennials to Credit Unions.  Based on what we know about Credit Unions and what we are learning about Millennials, that makes good sense. It seems to be paying off based on the results that PSCU has posted. It’s an interesting and insightful read.

There’s no question: Millennials (born between 1976 & 1994) think differently than older generations and they definitely have the buying power to be disruptive especially with their fresher attitudes towards living life in a friendlier manner and their preference for using technology to manage that life. PSCU summarizes it as “Millennials are drawn to business models in which extending the life and value of good s is a core tenet”

We like the way millennials think .

We can help financial service providers attract millennials with a technology offering to help them manage their busy financial lives going forward.

 

 

 

FinTech Innovation

Behold: A groundswell of interest/opportunity in FinTech

An inspiring and very encouraging article from the Wall Street Journal worth sharing…Innovation is cool in finance.

The Wall Street Journal goes as far as describing it as a

new dawn breaking” in finance

innovation in Finance & more specifically, the interest in financial technology around the world is escalating. It turns out, there’s a lot of interest in overhauling how financial institutions & their clients operate and institutions and organizations are turning to start-ups to help fulfill the demand for that work.

Global interest in FinTech ventures has tripled during the past 5 years to $2.97 Billion . So who specifically are the innovators in making change happen in finance? Financial News has now launched its first FinTech 40 power list to highlight who the change makers areThese individuals are for the most part based in Europe and working in European markets. The list includes entrepreneurs, consultants, accelerators, and financial institutions so read on.

Read the WSJ article by Anna Irrera here 

 

 

Logo Toaster

It’s not about the free WiFi or the toaster anymore

Personal Finance Management Tools (PFM) can help users do a lot of things these days like budget, visualize their spending or cash flow, aggregate multiple accounts, receive bill reminders and generally help them engage in more proactive financial planning.

A US BankChoice survey from May of this year as reported by The Financial Brand  indicates that currently 32% of those surveyed use a PFM service or software for budgeting & financial planning but 23% are relying on a 3rd party tool like Mint.com or Quicken to help them. With only 9% using a PFM tool provided from their bank or credit union,,,that means that there’s a BIG gap in the market as 36% of the women surveyed & 31% of the men surveyed in the same study, want their institution to provide those PFM tools.

Consumers want PFM

Again…we suggest, it’s not about the free WiFi or cappuccino in the branch anymore or the free toaster or tablet that may come with opening a new account.

Life is BUSY. Give the “People” what they want.

  • Consumers want tools to simplify their lives.
  • Consumers need insight into their own information and help managing their multiple To Do’s when it comes to financial & estate planning.
  • Consumers want to make more informed decisions on spending, saving, borrowing and investing.

The majority of financial service clients are looking to their financial service provider to show more value and to demonstrate Customer Advocacy (show that they care about them and not just the bottom line). We think that adds up fairly nicely to the WHY behind providing a PFM tool to clients (and prospective clients).

LegacyTracker is a PFM tool that can help your clients simplify, safeguard, share their important financial, legal and estate information while tracking their financial progress along the way.  Better Organized Clients are Better Clients.

 

 

 

Inventory your stuff

Documenting your personal property (or worldly possessions) is a smart thing to do in case of burglary, fire or natural disaster (or if your oven blows up and the manufacturer wants the serial # but the oven is full of glass-but that’s a different story)

Know your stuff

If a big disaster should befall you or your family; a home inventory would be either really great to have or really great to have done. For those that only wish they had one; it’s not that taking a home inventory is difficult but yes, it can be time-consuming. Many of us don’t get as far as doing a home inventory but think about it a lot,  which is unfortunately, not quite as impressive as actually handing an inventory to your insurance agent or your broker should a claim arise.

Walking around your home and videotaping can be very helpful and certainly quicker than writing it all down, but it’s best to also include serial number and $ values and that’s not quite as easy with a video.

There are a couple of good inventory tools online that can help you out for free or otherwise. Most offer the ability to capture your items by room and category and document purchase dates/prices/places, serial numbers while also allowing you to attach pictures and receipts. Information can be accessed and updated any time from anywhere or saved off-line to Excel or PDF, That means you can save that document inside LegacyTracker.

However, we have also added personal property as an easy to use template inside LegacyTracker to document your worldly possessions with a photo and the following important info: 

  • Appraisal dates
  • Appraisal values
  • Purchase
  • Intended beneficiary (this might be subject to what your formal Will might say but often times a will document does not get into the detail of your china and antique clock)

For your reference, here are 2 Online Inventory tools that I have found that are easy to use and pretty comprehensive

Know Your Stuff® – Home Inventory has been around for a number of years thanks to the Insurance Information Institute. This is a free offering that is now also available as an iPhone and Android App. 

StuffSafe has been around since about 2011. I’m not quite as familiar with this offering but it does appear a little easier to use with drag and drop options for your photos. The Premium plan allows multiple properties to be inventoried in your one account. StuffSafe is available as an IPhone App. & the cost is $29 per year with a 15 day Free Trial period.

Recovering from an emergency situation is always made easier when you have information at hand. That’s why we’ve built LegacyTracker to be a comprehensive solution that also includes information on your personal property.

Connect with us to find out more   info@legacytracker.com

 

Perfect Storm Challenges and Solutions

We think there’s a perfect storm coming in the financial services market with challenges being faced by both consumers and the providers they deal with. ….LegacyTracker can help 

Too extreme? Maybe

We’ve been collecting some evidence in the form of published surveys, research & articles for quite some time. We think all of that reading and collecting has paid off. We think there’s a lot of evidence to support the need for LegacyTracker which is our personal financial management tool . This is an ongoing list in no particular order from our growing collection of supporting surveys, articles and research. Note: George Clooney did not help with this project; he was busy filming the Perfect Storm among his many other activities.

From Digital Insight: The  88% of consumers who now pay bills and transfer funds online, 62% would like a single place to manage their complete financial picture, no matter where the information originates. Households on average have more than three financial institution relationships for wealth and savings solutions and up to six credit card accounts. LT: Legacy Tracker provides a safe & accessible place to safeguard all of the important information and documents in life

2011 US Trust Insights on Wealth Survey: A survey of wealthy Americans with $3M or more of investable assets 56% of those surveyed have not documented personal property and assets, and roughly half have not documented instructions about the distribution of personal property or assets among heirs; even though 25% acknowledge their heirs don’t understand their wishes for how to divide special possessions LT: Helps consumers safeguard their hard-earned assets & can help facilitate important conversations with family members and loved ones about estate planning or final wishes 

2008 Innovations in Retail Financial Services IG&H Consulting & Interim, Woerden:  In financial services these days, a lot of companies struggle to win in severe price competition. However, a financial institution should develop it’s business on long-lasting & customer value driven business models; price is not enough. An element could be innovation.            LT: Helps financial service providers innovate & differentiate their offerings

2011 Banking on You by Thomas Watson, Canadian Business Magazine: Canada’s biggest banks are desperately trying to find new ways to connect with customers. Increased competition has heightened the banks’ interest in offering value and quality to customers, and forced banks to form individual identities. “The ability to introduce new fees is limited, raising the importance of gaining share through better service, broader relationships with clients and growth markets” (Margaret Willis, HSBC Executive VP of Retail Banking and Wealth Management) LT: Helps financial organizations differentiate in a busy marketplace and provide a meaningful way to demonstrate customer advocacy which can deepen client relationships

2011 Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) : A national online survey of 1,504 Canadians over 18 by Leger Marketing showed only 26% of Canadians think their personal and financial information would be easy to access in an emergency. 56% said their personal & financial information is “somewhat organized” while 11% said it was “not very organized”  LT: Helps users enhance their level of emergency preparedness and by safeguarding important financial legacy & information

2010 Intuit Financial Online financial management survey: Banking customers view online financial management solutions from their bank or credit union as competitive differentiators. 52% of those surveyed said they would leave their current financial institution for one that offers better money management capabilities. Nearly 50% of respondents said they’d already switched banks or credit unions recently. and one-third of them switched because their financial institution did not provide satisfactory online solutions LT: Financial institutions need to offer their customers more in the way of tools & solutions that help them manage their money –a differentiator in the marketplace

 2011 Investment Executive Magazine – Prevent Executor headaches Bank of Montreal Survey confirmed CHLIA’s figures, almost 50% of Canadians who have been appointed to be an executor of a will have experienced administrative “complications” More than 25% have experienced legal issues. “If everything is not written down and documented, the difficulty in sorting out the mess can tie up the settling of an estate (Carol Bezaire, VP of Tax & Estate Planning with Mackenzie Financial. ” Technology has made some things invisible. In their capacity as executors, in some cases, the bank has had to take possession of the deceased’s computer and hire experts to search the hard drive to find crucial information (Royal Bank Estate and Trust Services)  LT: Reduces financial risk for individuals & their loved ones of unclaimed funds for families but it also safeguards families from incurring additional grief in the form of additional delay, cost and stress in times of emergency

2013 For the Love of Money Blog  Are you finances organized? Get into the habit of organizing your finances and you’ll be in for some happy surprises. …..The truth is, we create needless work and worry for ourselves when we do not make a little effort to get financially organized. Often, the biggest leap to getting a house in order is getting over a negative mindset. A lot of people are unwilling to organize their finances because they think there is simply too much to do.  LT: We provide the place for consumers to get organized & stay organized. Simple on boarding and Simple to stay updated. Our built-in net worth tracker & alerts are intended to motivate you to stay up to date

2011 Investment Executive A New Focus on Financial Literacy by Keith Costello of CIFP     A new focus on Financial Literacy “What we have heard (The Canadian Institute of Financial Planners) is the need for unbiased but comprehensive learning materials. Consumers want content that will help them understand financial concepts in a more detailed way and that will guide their financial decisions. We should ensure that these types of materials are readily available” “there is no better marketing and brand positioning than investing in your customers”  LT: Providing tools and opportunities to enhance financial literacy will pay off for financial services providers-by way of better engagement and increased revenue opportunities and ultimately the success of their clients  

2011 Investment Executive Having the “talk” with your clients by Brent Jolly  As most clients have experienced lower investment returns over the past 5 years, it is becoming more challenging for advisors to demonstrate their value to clients. LT: Our online solution allows Advisors to offer a valuable tool to clients and their families, allowing them to safeguard financial assets and some assistance in facilitating discussions about estate planning. Advisors in effect are provided an opportunity to reach out to the next generation

 2013 21st Century PFM for a Mass Audience  Capitalizing on the power of personal finance management will first require the industry to break free of 1980s thinking about
who uses PFM and why. Today, 21% of U.S. consumers mix and match 1 or more of the 3 primary sources of PFM services:  1) desktop software, 2) bank PFM offered through online banking 2) bank PFM offered through online banking, or 3) web PFM offered through an explosively growing number of online and mobile players. That translates into 49.3 million adult users – and 191 million who use none of them.  Financial institutions are at risk of losing loyalty from PFM hungry customers.

We’re not exactly done. We’ll add to this list as we find the time. We’ve got lots more to add.

Innovation in Banking TRends

Banking Innovation in 2014 = Simple Simplifcation

Simple Simplification

The study of 148 banks in 66 countries around the world by Infosys summed up the trends in innovation in those banks as being about all about Simplifying.  Customers, regulators and bankers seeking simplification in Banking.

Interesting because LegacyTracker is all about helping Clients/Account Holders simplify: Enabling financial customers to safeguard all of their important financial/legal and estate information & documents simply in one secure, accessible place. Which is why we developed LegacyTracker as a white label product that can be your branded product. You be the Hero.

 

Co-operative Banking makes sense

Facts, Firsts & Future Prospects for Canadian Credit Unions

In 2013, for the 9th consecutive year, Canadians ranked Credit Unions First in Overall Customer Service Excellence among all financial institutions based on the annual Ipsos Best Banking Awards Survey which is based on various key performance indicators.

That’s a pretty good indicator that Credit Unions are doing Customer Service “Right” And that’s just one reason that I think they have a really large & bright future ahead. There are a lot more. 

This statement has nothing to do with the fact that we think Credit Unions are a perfect partner provider for Legacy Tracker (they are). But rather, the fact that they ARE a perfect prospect for LegacyTracker is because their fundamental approach to how and what they do is similar to our goals for LegacyTracker.  We also wish many more businesses could operate in the same way, but that’s a BIG wish. It’s also a BIG challenge for those where their stock price is always expected to go higher.

However, the fundamental approach that Credit Unions operate under is a quite a bit different than Big Banking. For Credit Unions and other co-operatives, it’s more about …

Profits for a higher purpose and Banking for a higher purpose

Credit Unions and other Co-operative financial institutions are non profits that have a dedication instead to the people and the communities they serve . That dedication, guides and shapes their operations, their business decisions and their governance. That makes for a critical difference. 

The Credit Union Difference makes a Difference in Service

This fundamental difference in the way Credit Unions & Co-operatives operate can be sourced back to the very first Credit Union or Caisse Populaire that was founded in Levis, Quebec in 1900 by Alphonse Desjardins . Mr Desjardins launched a new type of financial entity in response to what he saw as outrageous interest rates being charged to labourers and farmers. A movement towards what was termed co-operative banking where a financial institution was owned & run by members caught on;  particularly by  those who were  being “underserved” by larger financial institutions. Today, approximately 1 out of every 3 Canadians belongs to a Credit Union or Caisse Populaire giving Canada the world’s highest per capita membership in Credit Unions. With over 330 different Credit Union Brands and over 1,700 locations, they are easy to find and easy to join.

Account holders in Credit Unions today, continue to be considered as the shareholders members, or owners  of each Credit Union. As such and in the spirit of any good democracy, each of those owners is provided with 1 Vote (regardless of the size of their wallet) to decide help guide the Credit Union’s direction and to determine who will lead that direction or form the Board of Directors. Those members can also put their name forward for to serve on the Board of Directors.

By comparison, our much larger, federally chartered/publicly held banks are required to operate in the best interest of their shareholders but those shareholders may or may not include account holders unlike Provincially chartered Credit Unions where the shareholders are also the account holders/customers. That makes for a really BIG difference.

Operating in the best interest of their members means Credit Unions will redistribue profits on a regular basis to members and also give back in a BIG way to the local communities where those members live. In 2012, Canadian Credit Unions contributed more than $35.6 million to communities in the form of direct donations, sponsorships, scholarships & bursaries and donations-in-kind. It’s a pretty nice Win/Win that makes paying interest or fees a lot more palatable, knowing that they contribute to profit which you or your community will benefit from down the road.

Having said that, Credit Unions do tend to charge lower fees while offering higher rates of interest on your savings.

The fact that it’s not all about BIG profit for Credit Unions may also account for the very rich history of innovation that Credit Unions can boast about:

  • First financial institutions to lend to women in their own names (in the 1960s)
  • First full-service ATMs
  • First fully functional online banking
  • First loans based on borrower character
  • First payroll deduction service for deposits and loan payments
  • First open mortgages & home equity lines of credit
  • First debit card service
  • First registered education plans
  • First cheque imaging service
  • First to offer branchless banking (Citizens Bank)

If you are looking for just a few Good examples of the Good Work that Credit Unions are doing in the Community, follow along just below. If you happen to work with a Credit Union and wish to find out how LegacyTracker can help your Credit Union provide even greater value to your members, please get in touch !

FirstOntario Credit Union recently partnered with the New Hamilton Innovation Hub/Collaborative workspace that traditional lenders turned down Read about it here

Libro Credit Union offers Community builder Grants to help youth develop leadership and career skills in the Communities they serve. In 2014, those grants total approximately $560,000  Read more here   They also offer Money School online 

DUCA Credit Union who recently launched Canada’s first 100% online service to members, including New Members sign/up (via “SNAPP”), donates 4% of profits to the community and commits an estimated $500K to the Ontario Credit Union Charitable Foundation Read more here

Doing good for Members & Doing good for Others makes a difference for many of us when we are looking for who to do Business with ourselves. & that should make the future very bright for Credit Unions

We do think that LegacyTracker is a perfect fit for Credit Unions to offer to their members/account holders; so if you work with a Credit Union or are a member of one…pass our name along or Connect. (Please)

The 5th Annual Global study of “Innovation in Retail Banking” by Efma &  Finacle by Infosys studied 148 banks from 66 countries focusing on ‘simplifying technology to innovate & global innovation trends. There was a particular emphasis on identifying how banks can overcome any barriers to innovation and how they can work to improve their innovation capabilities,

According to the survey, Banks clearly recognize the need to improve innovation in order to protect existing markets & profitability given growing ca landscape of growing competition as well as ever changing consumer and technology trends.  

Of particular interest:

There is a big emphasis for Banks on increasing “Customer Centricity” which is about focusing on products & services that are right for their Best Customers.

Also, whereas only 37% of Banks surveyed in 2009 had an actual Innovation Strategy, 60% of those surveyed in 2013 had an Innovation Strategy. Overall, 77% of Banks surveyed, indicated that they were increasing investment in order to be more innovative. Approximately 26% of that investment being targeted for Channels, 21% for Products , 18% for Process Innovation and 16% for Customer Service and Experience Innovation.

The biggest barrier to innovating,  regardless of their size was noted as “IT Systems” delaying time to market for a new offering most often because those same “IT Systems” often are involved in other changes relating to mergers or compliance changes etc.

We take that to mean that those Banks will be looking “afield” to source out Innovative technologies which seems to be supported with the 4.2 out of 7 that “Partnering with IT companies and other suppliers” received when Banks were asked about the effectiveness of several methods of Open Innovation Techniques.

Read the entire report on Innovation in Retail Banking from Efma and Finacle from Infosys  here

Innovation-in-Retail-Banking-2013 Infosys

Are your digital Assets worth more than your car?

It’s certainly possible…

The most recent survey results from McAfee (yes the Internet Security Organization) perhaps should be of no surprise in that our use of technology and our accumulation of all things digital is on the rise. …in a Big way. But the estimated value as of the 2013 survey may yet astound you; The average total value of our digital files in Canada is now estimated to be $32K. (The average of all countries surveyed basis is $35K )

Digital assets ? They include assets like:

  • Personal photos, videos
  • Personal records including health information, financial records, career information, personal projects/hobbies, email accounts etc.
  • Entertainment files including music, TV shows, e-books, video games, apps etc
  • Business Information which could include financial statements, customer data, accounting or payroll detail, domain names, websites, blogs,
  • Social Media sites & Personal Blogs

 How did the estimated value of our Digital Property get so high ? 

  • 88% of consumers own multiple digital devices
  • 62% of consumers own 3 or more digital devices
  • 20% of consumers own 5 or more digital devices
  • 51% of consumers spend 15 hours or more on their digital devices for personal use  each week.
  • Canadians store some 2,584 digital files on average on at least one digital device
  • 51% of the digital assets held by consumers were considered to be impossible to retrieve if lost or not backed up properly
  • 77% of Canadian consumers listed identity theft and fraud as top security concerns but 17% of those consumers do not have comprehensive security software in place on all of their digital devices (14% globally)

Security software and backup procedures are critical and should be worth the cost by now for Canadians, which the survey also notes is the primary reason given by those who don’t have any security software in place

LegacyTracker will not be able to recover your digital assets should they be compromised by a virus or security issue but it does provide protection in the way of allowing you to safely store your online Usernames & Passwords alongside instructions about your Digital Assets

Digital Estate Planning is Important …

Technology in most cases advances more quickly than law and that’s certainly the case with regards to digital asset protection and Digital Estate Plans. In the not to distant future or for some of us now, we could envision that Digital Executors will have to be considered to handle digital assets specific and separately from other assets. But at minimum today, it’s important to at least give reasonable consideration & recognition to your Digital Assets because No standard laws exist regarding digital property rights. And more unfortunately,  online service providers offer varying rules about your rights and about sharing access with another user regardless of the circumstance.

User agreements for digital accounts often will sometimes prohibit users from sharing access with another user no matter if it’s a family member, a business partner or an heir. Sad stories are in great supply about family members who can’t access or take down social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away. it’s important to give consideration to not just providing an inventory that identifies your digital assets but also access information and some form of written permission or authorization for that access & specific instructions as to your wishes for dealing with your digital assets after your death. It’s a recent but fast growing area of concern that you should seek legal advice about.

 

 

 

 

The Boom for Financial Tech around the World

 Global Fin Tech Investments hit $3 Billion in 2013

Accenture’s newly released 16 page report  ‘The Boom in Global Fin Tech Investment’ highlights that:

  • Global fin tech financing has tripled over the past five years
  • Silicon Valley based companies account for 1 of every 5 Fin Tech deals and 1/3 of funding allocated to Fin Tech
  • Europe accounts for 13% of all Fin Tech funding globally/15% of all global deals
  • However, London is now outpacing Silicon Valley on the basis of 5 year growth
  • The UK (specifically London) and Ireland-based companies taking the lion’s share of Europe’s Fin Tech deals.
  • The UK and Ireland represented 53% of Europe’s Fin Tech deals and more than 2/3 of Europe’s Fin Tech funding at 69%

Accenture on fintech

To get Accenture’s 16 page report go here 

 

Financial Tech Habits of Baby Boomers

Behold yet another interesting infographic…this one on the Financial Technology Habits and the Finances of Baby Boomers compliments of emoneyadvisor.com.

No surprise, this is a US survey but luckily Canadians have much in common with our friends to the South…so we think this information is likely similar to Canadian habits and estimates.

First things first. We all know that Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are an important demographic. How important?  While Baby Boomers make up approximately 26% of the US population (82M people in the US), they represent 70% of disposable income and earn an average income of $50K or so a year. Their average net worth is approximately $727K. Further 46% of boomers have savings or investments exceeding $50K  & 20% having savings or investments exceeding $250K.

So yes. An important market  and yet:

  • Only 54% of Baby Boomers have a personal financial plan
  • Only 34% of Baby Boomers have a comprehensive financial plan and
  • Approximately 48% don’t have a financial advisor

As for emoneyadvisor’s surveyed facts on how Baby Boomers are using Technology…It turns out that this age demographic is keeping up (quite nicely) to younger generations after all.    (I know I’m trying hard). Baby Boomers actually spend more money on technology  than any other age group (an average of $650/month) AND Boomers have a high adoption rate for online financial management tools. 57% bank online. 35% pay bills online. 41% research financial information online. It should be of no surprise to also find that approximately 70% of this same age group buy online.

Indeed, this Infographic seems to sum it up all up and tie these survey results together quite nicely for us.   …Baby Boomers are in need of financial advise and they are ready for technology driven financial applications to help simplify their lives. It makes sense to us that A financial advisor that offers a technology driven financial application will provide Advisors/Clients (or Potential Clients) a win/win scenario. But that’s only the beginning of the Win/Win.
Fin Tech Habits of Boomers