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The Language Of Money

In a recent post I suggested that FinTech is asking the wrong question of the consumer. I’d like to take this one stage further.

I think our entire dialogue with the public on money is wrong. The financial services industry, from provider to IFA to Fin Tech, is talking the language of money, and not the language of planning.

What is a pension, for example? A tax efficient savings vehicle? A trust fund? Something that has been tinkered with so much by Government that people can’t use it? Or is it a method by which retirement comes earlier.

It is, of course, all of these things. But, ultimately, a pension is a means to an end. So let’s talk to customers about the end. Financial flexibility.

There is a well known marketing expression, coined by Theodore Levitt: ‘People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill.  They want to buy a quarter inch hole’.

I’d suggest that analogy doesn’t go far enough. Why does someone want that quarter inch hole? To put up a shelf.

Why do they want the shelf? To put their books on.

Why do they want to put their books on a bookshelf? Because they’ve got cool books they want people to notice.

So, in actual fact, people buy a quarter inch drill because they want to look cool. What they DON’T want is any hassle in getting there. They don’t care about the technical aspects of the drill. In fact, they’d probably like the drilling part to be out of the way as simply and quickly as possible.

Let’s engage with our clients using a language that appeals to them. Think you already do this? Take a look at a random IFA web site. I just did this. There were sections entitled ‘Pensions Explained’ and ‘Protection Planning’. There was even a whole area called ‘Wealth Management’, the principle appeal of which seemed to be that clients could easily access live investment data.

When you go to a solicitor for a will, you are seeking peace of mind that your loved ones will be cared for. You want to be certain that you won’t be leaving a muddle that might cause upset or arguments. And you might want to ensure the estate suffers as little tax as possible. What you don’t go for is learn about wills.

So let’s start talking to people about things that matter in their lives, like financial flexibility. Let’s really engage them with their financial plan so that they will actually look forward to the annual meeting with their financial adviser!

We are producing podcasts on the subject of Financial Wellbeing. Each podcast we want to read out a financial tip from a professional, who will be named. If you have a tip we could read out, please email me on Listen to the podcasts here or download from your usual app.

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