Stories | March 13, 2017

Think Forward Summit 2017: how to manage your money better

Five projects aimed at improving people’s finances will be presented in Munich on 15 March.

It’s not news that many people struggle with their financial decision-making – and that’s what the Think Forward Summit  in Munich aims to address.

Participants in Think Forward Iniative research – stemming from the first Think Forward Summit in 2016 – are working on five projects aimed ultimately at helping people make better decisions about money. Areas covered include savings, investment and retirement; budgeting, spending and borrowing; and, finally, financial literacy.

1. Future self
This project is about trying to develop a better understanding of how people envisage and make decisions for their “future selves” – the people they will eventually become. The aim is to develop an app that could be like a personal coach – assisting people to plan, stay on track and reach their long-term financial goals.

2. Social-norm nudges
Might consumers be influenced by a “social norm”-based nudge to help them save as much as they want to? The aim is to develop an app that helps people save by, essentially, reducing the chance of short-term pleasures taking precedence over long-term needs.

3. Social media analysis
This research aims to examine the effect of emotions and social-media influence on borrowing behaviour, looking at conversations on the likes of Facebook or Twitter and using machine-learning-based predictive analytics. A tool built into browsers or shopping apps might help you determine whether you can afford something before you buy it. Research has already shown that these kinds of tools can help people stay on track when it comes to their finances.

4. Intra-household dynamics
Participants are investigating household composition, lifecycle changes and what this means for decision-making. A practical solution might be an app for managing household finances that reduces hassle and helps families focus on what’s important. This should help families better understand how to reach their individual financial goals.

5. Financial capability
Researchers on this project are looking at getting a better understanding of financial capability, including investigating how personal characteristics can affect what people actually do when managing money. What if an app could help people keep their heads above water financially? The idea is to provide personalised tips and tricks to help people break down big financial decisions into manageable chunks, using lessons from academic research.

The Think Forward Summit, sponsored by ING and partnering experts and academics from around the world, is taking place today in Munich, Germany. See the full programme and register to attend.

eZonomics team
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