I recently met a friend of mine for coffee. Friends since our early twenties, I’ll be honest when I say we have both had our fair share of dealings with a quarter-life crisis or two. For the most part, our chats usually evolve into some philosophical discussion about some new business venture or idea. I call it the Steve Jobs paradox: Millennials like us always want to create the next “Apple” or “Facebook” – but the catch is we want it quick and easy.
Being a financial adviser, my friend always says that studies didn’t teach enough behavioural finance ideas. No matter what theory or great idea you have, as an adviser you will always be dealing with a human being. And being top of the food chain has come with having a mind that is way more complex than any computer or AI system that can be built. This leads to my friend’s profound statement.
He interrupts our chat about the next big idea and says, “You know what the number one thing I learned while looking after peoples assets?”
Trying to sound smart I answer, “People want good returns.”
He just looks at me and says, “No, my friend, people just want to know they’re going to be okay.”
This was my light bulb moment.
The concept sounds so basic, but it is so powerful: People just want to know that they will be okay. They want to be sure they will never be in the proverbial gutter. They want to know that all their hard work and difficult choices haven’t been for nothing.
The thinking person has one particular mental bias: they struggle to deal with the idea of irrationality. Logic thinking is powerless against irrationality. Our mind knows irrationality lurks somewhere in the dark, but it has no tools to deal with it. It’s like walking in your own garden knowing there’s a snake somewhere but never actually seeing it. This gives rise to the absolute need to be okay, no matter what happens.
The best way to explain the concept is in the form of a few statements and a grammar lesson. Look at the following:
“We hope we have enough to retire” or “We hope we won’t ever be dependent on our children”.
“We would like to travel to Italy one day” or “We would love to buy our children their first house”
Financial advisers are the modern gatekeepers to this realm of “being okay”. Just as a client wants to “be okay”, an adviser wants to know that his client’s wealth is going to be okay, too. An adviser’s livelihood is built on years of trust and, in turn, reputation. These come from continuous learning, good governance and great relationship building.
An investment platform is one of the main tools – or weapons – that an adviser has to manage his clients’ wealth. After all, an adviser wants to have confidence that the platform he uses is trustworthy and robust – and at INN8, we pride ourselves in working with advisers to build such a platform, one that is future-proof and ensures that they can free up time to do what they do best: advising clients and making sure they are okay.
Rickus has an appetite for understanding how puzzle pieces fit together. He is a published academic scholar with experience ranging from investment research to a stint in FinTech. He strives towards building dynamic sustainable systems that make peoples’ lives easier.