This is a guest post by Sam Chang of the Capital Gains Group, the group which brought us Wongamania – the world’s first modern economic card game. For more information, visit: http://www.capitalgainsgroup.com/
A lot have been studied and written on digital disruption in banking services, and almost nothing on non-digital disruption. Truth is a coin has two sides, one side with its value shown gets the most attention and the flip side being mostly ignored.
We have witnessed many traditional banking services being upended by digital disruptions, with payments being one of the most pronounced. First came PayPal, then recently Apple Pay and soon Android Pay. While virtual currency bitcoin is rejected by the banking world, this does not impede its increasing adoption by non-banking world, like Starbucks.
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When a bank is unable to serve the unmet funding needs of a business, it can now turn to crowd financing as alternative. Today, moolahsense allow a business to raise funds directly from the public for a fixed return usually higher than bank deposits.
In this sea of change, digital disruption is obvious on the surface, while the strength of the undercurrents is less visible. Such forces are gradually changing the minds of the average investor. Advocates of financial literacy are the forces driving non-digital disruption, and they achieve this with a sense of human touch. Outlining here are the three main forces:
1) Financial bloggers
Unlike lifestyle bloggers who pursue commercial endorsements, financial bloggers are purists who provide objective and independent views on financial topics. Delivering their content with a sense of humility, they share knowledge and sometimes personal investing experiences that relate well to the average investor. With a growing readership, they exert a certain influence over the minds of their readers.
In the recent year, their rising prominence have seen them being coming into mainstream. For instance, Invest Carnival 2015 organized by shareinvestor.com, which is under SPH. In early May, MAS (Money Authority of Singapore) met with our top few financial bloggers like bigfatpurse, cheerfulegg and turtleinvestor.
MAS is engaging them to get feedback on the effectiveness on their policies, and also to advance the financial literacy of the public through information dissemination in a manner that is relatable to the average investor.
2) Financial education providers
Notable ones like Wealth Academy Asia, founded by the charismatic success coach Adam Khoo, provide personal and professional training programmes related to financial literacy.
Particularly popular among parents who send their children to attend such courses, such financial education providers adopted a grassroots approach to open up the minds of their students to discover investment knowledge which is not taught in our schooling system.
3) Game designers
A minimum 2 player maximum 6 player game, it introduces 3 asset classes: stock, property and bond, and takes a player through the ups and downs of investing in them through the 4 economic cycles – growth, stagnation, recession and recovery.
The first player who gets 3 trust fund cards wins, where each trust fund can be exchanged with 8 wonga, the currency of the game. At every turn, each player can exercise various kinds of cards to create various headwinds or windfalls that associate to real life events, e.g. government raises interest rates, special dividend, hot money.etc. In the process of building up wonga to earn 3 trust fund cards, the player will enjoy the fun of making others lose money or helping others to increase their wonga takings.
Subtly, the game informs the very important message that investments can sometimes go south due to poor personal choices or external events beyond one’s control. A hit in Malaysia and Singapore, the Wongamania international edition is in works to take on the US and European markets.
The non-digital disruptors have set an irreversible course in levelling up the financial literacy of the masses. Gradually, more people will realise that banks are not their only choice to achieve personal financial freedom. This brings to mind a line drawn from the article “6 Reasons Why Financial Education Will Be A New Industry” by bigfatpurse, who still blogs and also provide financial education courses.
If we are right, our business will make money, and the financial literacy level will increase as a result. And yes, financial industry would shrink if financial education ever succeed. More bankers and advisors would lose their jobs but I think it is inevitable.