Understanding the Need For Financial Education (Or Growing Old and Poor on Lottery Tickets)

In today's world of advanced technology there is no shortage of information on just about any subject or topic you want to explore. Hard copy magazines can be bought in any supermarket or news agency on any topic from 'how to plant tomatoes' to 'how to build an aero plane'. The internet is now the most used piece of technology for sourcing information with over 1.6 billion users worldwide. If it's not on the internet then it hasn't been discovered yet.

For most of us financial freedom and prosperity are challenges that we all seek in our lifetime. It's the reason why so many of us spend money on gambling and lotto around the world in the hope of achieving that dream without the pain and effort needed to get there under our own steam - and yes, I'm guilty too of trying to fast track my way to wealth and glory. In fact, according to an unverified article found on the internet $224.3 billion was spent on legal lotteries throughout the world in 2007. $166 billion of that figure was purchased online. I think that's called something like wealth redistribution. The fact is only a few out of millions get to share in the wealth. The rest of us will grow old and poor buying lottery tickets. This emphasizes the need for financial education.

Saving for retirement and enjoying a more prosperous lifestyle along the way is not impossible to achieve but it does require an understanding of the need for financial education. As a 50 something year old who has spent a lifetime in financial services (I like to call it salt and pepper experience!) I still come across too many examples of people who do not understand the need for financial education. Only the other day I was speaking with a 21 year old apprentice carpenter who believed that superannuation (retirement savings) was an imposed burden on his earning capacity and belonged to the 'government' until he retired. This is a common belief by many young people today and surely points to the failure of governments and older generations to pass on and educate people about the need for financial education.

The need for financial education is not limited to just the younger generations either. It's why more than 95% of the currently retiring baby boomer generation will retire on less income needed to support a comfortable lifestyle. With the advances in technology and information, particularly the internet, everyone has the opportunity to become financially educated. That's why I called my blog 'Wealth Happens Online'. The internet is not only a place where you can learn about every aspect of financial education from saving for retirement, investing in shares/managed funds, property investment, a variety of alternative investments and business opportunities but it's also a place where you can source information on the need for financial education.

Understanding the need (or what your goals are) is the first step to meeting the challenge to financial freedom and prosperity. Since the GFC hit, the world has become wary of financial advisers and others who give advice on investments. If you are compelled to use the services of a financial adviser rather than sourcing your own information on the internet then look for an adviser who understands the need for financial education before 'selling' you on investments. No matter what your age, understanding the need for financial education is the safest and surest way to financial freedom and prosperity. The alternative is to grow old and poor on lottery tickets.

The First Rule of CRM for Financial Services

Things have to change. Cross selling is not going to happen simply by installing new CRM technology. A corresponding movement from a transaction mentality to the underlying CRM principle of focusing on the long-term relationship is required. What does this mean for financial services? Stop pushing products and start building relationships.

The Consumer's Perspective

Let's take a look from the consumer's perspective. Financial illiteracy is alive and well, especially with baby boomers. Next, throw in brand confusion--the convergence in financial services has produced new players, company names, and products. Everybody is now playing in everybody else's backyard. Insert the media's frequent coverage on retirement planning and increased advertising dollars being spent targeting "the confused generation." Now, throw in the fact that there is widespread incoherence around what the term "financial planner" even means. At its best, this situation is overwhelming to prospects, current clients, and maybe even your employees. At its worst, people are sticking their heads in the sand and saying, "leave me alone!"

Marketing financial products and services has always been an information and relationship sale. You are in the personal finance education business, whether you like it or not. And it's not nearly as sexy as the ad agencies make it seem. No matter how many sailboats, moonlight beaches, or mansions your advertising agency plasters in print and on the airways, selling financial services and products makes prospects and clients deal with issues with which many are uncomfortable. It is no wonder that selling financial services demands a set of tools that moves far beyond the info dump and plethora of brochures that dominate the industry.

The Financial Firm's Perspective

Let's now take a look from the financial firms' perspective. Mergers and acquisitions have been in full throttle. Corporate identities are still being created. Not only is there more competition, but it's possible that the more serious competitors are residing within your own company. CRM is slowly permeating the lexicon of the financial world. Yet, with a few notable exceptions, financial firms lag far behind industries like retailing and airlines in data mining, making it almost impossible today to build a single integrated view of their customers.

On either side of the spectrum, change is the dominant theme. So given the current state of affairs, how do you execute a CRM strategy that promotes cross selling and up selling? How can you increase the chances that your CRM strategy will stick? Here are some of the best conditions for selling:
When the sales force has complete access to a particular customer's need or near-term future needs.

When the sales force knows and understands what cross selling and up selling mean in your firm.

When staff, partners, and suppliers work together to deliver what is promised.

When leadership teams agree on how to lead the transformation necessary to change culture, structures, systems, metrics, and behaviors to promote cross selling.

The Softer Side of CRM

All of the above conditions require more than technology solutions and product knowledge to execute. They require the softer side of the CRM equation: relationship building with customers, prospects, your boss, your peers, other departments, partners, and suppliers. If you want to solve the business challenge of cross selling and up selling, you'll need to:
Build trust. For financial planners, brokers or agents, that might require working with prospects in new ways. For corporate or home office staff, that might include building bridges with other departments or field staff.
Develop a network of helpful relationships that will act as "oil" for the CRM machine. Research shows that the more helpful relationships there are, the more information is willingly shared. For financial planners, brokers or agents, that might mean prospecting in new ways. For corporate or home office staff, it might mean articulating and agreeing on a practical policy of real-time knowledge and information sharing.
Build crucial social currency both with customers and with people inside the organization. The core of any social or economic relationship is trust. It's all about influencing others to take action in the direction we want them to go.

It's a Process

Relationship building is a process of trust building. It is also an iterative process. It is a process of layering...the relationship starts at arm's length, then grows more intimate as the trust builds, passing little tests along the way. This applies to all relationships--with customers, employees, peers, partners, and even competitors. Your internal experts in technology, marketing, corporate identity, operations, and sales must grow to learn how to be content experts in the business of relationship building. In today's environment, CRM is screaming for experts on relationship building. Managing customer relationships can only happen after they've been properly built.

One word of caution for financial services firms as they march forward to the CRM tune: don't worry so much about selling the features and benefits of your products. You're already really good at that. Start worrying about how you can build relationships with your customers and prospects in new and different ways that will allow for cross selling and up selling. Remember the aphorism: A sure sign of insanity is doing the same old thing while expecting new and different results.

Originally published by CRMGuru.com , a service from Front Line Solutions, ©1998-2001

Finance Recruitment Agency - Get a Financial Services Job

Obtaining a financial services job position within the present marketplace has turned out to be a challenge for many jobless individuals in the United States. Although a number of positions are being produced, people are continuing to lose their jobs at the exact same or even higher pace.

As a result, you will find a great number of individuals contending for each job opportunity that is available. At the same time, you will find positions that are not filled simply because an applicant with the desired experience and skills has not applied, or sometimes because the business has delayed the hiring of additional staff.

If you find this is the case, there are a number of methods you can use to locate these job opportunities, such as social networking, researching on the Internet and contacting finance job recruiters.

A lot of job seekers think networking is the very best method to discover a new position, as often managers would rather employ people who've been proposed by someone they know. Others prefer to search for employment online. However, since a large majority of financial institutions would rather utilize headhunters to help them locate the right job applicants, this may be your best option.


If you plan to use networking to find open job opportunities, you need to make an effort to grow and increase the group of individuals in the financial industry that you frequently connect with. You probably have colleagues who are able to connect you with professional associates and job interviews, or perhaps others that can help discover additional connections. Develop a timetable to reach out on a regular basis to each and every individual. You most likely are comfortable getting in touch with several friends once or twice per week, while other people you may get in touch with less often. The key here is to be consistent.

Searching for Jobs Online

Searching for employment online can be fairly easy if you understand how and where to search. You will find numerous job boards that provide a huge number of possibilities, but combing through appropriate listings can not just be extremely time consuming but also discouraging. A good strategy to finding a rewarding job online is to stay current with industry news as well as finding websites specific to the finance industry. Studying the news will help you determine what keywords and phrases to utilize in your job search; exploring the right websites will reduce the quantity of time invested in sifting through all of the results.

Finance Recruitment Firms

The best idea is to contact a financial services recruitment firm as soon as you decide you need to look for another job. They know a huge number of people in the industry, are aware of job openings the minute they become available, and are experienced at matching an individual's qualifications with the right job opportunity. They can facilitate an interview, advising you on your interview techniques and the company culture prior to your first meeting with the employer. The will also keep your job search confidential, and all this is provided with no cost to you.