Can Metaverse lead to financial empowerment?
Mark Zuckerberg announced that his social media company will be a Metaverse company and hailed it as a “successor of the Internet”  Is he exaggerating? Considering how even social media platforms have dominated how we socialize and do business, we shall not be too quick to dismiss this incoming wave.
So what is Metaverse?
In Metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality and the Internet converge into a virtual universe.
How will Metaverse matter in financial advisory?
As a tool, Metaverse provides immersive experience.
In-game designs such as scoring systems and virtual role-play can make financial literacy experiential and improve engagement. This is attractive to consumers looking for novel experiences.
Customers can also simulate their financial dreams, and “sample” the fruit of astute financial planning and impact of financial products. Goals-based planning can be experienced first-hand at the prospecting stage and provides an emotive precursor to financial advice.
Too good to be true
Metaverse can be addictive as instant virtual gratification entices humans who are intrinsically pain averse and pleasure seeking. The virtual world is a place of escape where one can absolve himself from personal financial responsibility and virtually simulate his financial dreams endlessly. Like Monopoly, the player circles around the gameboard with “money” he did not actually toil to earn, playing a game that disregards the test of time on human patience and tolerance for psychological pain.
In reality, financial advisory does not necessarily entail painless solutions. A one-off purchase of a financial product is only a part of the solution. As the fruit of financial planning can only be enjoyed in cumulative and sound financial habits, delayed gratification is a must.
Should I ride the Metaverse wave?
Not everyone shares in Zuckerberg’s Metaverse passion for good reason. Metaverse is also dubbed a “dystopian nightmare”  by Niantic CEO, John Hanke because people will rather escape to a painless, albeit meaningless alternative to self-improvement. In that environment, people can lose the self-determination to boost competency and autonomy, which is key to financial empowerment.
Metaverse may serve as a experiential precursor to financial advisory, but we have reservations in using virtual reality as an all-encompassing tool.
Insight generation is crucial in financial empowerment
With or without virtual simulation, every financial tool must be able to offer feasible financial insights to have practical meaning. Just as one’s financial destination is personalised to the individual, every feasible insight also has to be personalised to one’s lifestyle choices and priorities as well.
While insurers can explore exciting technologies with the Metaverse, the stakes are high. Even if the Metaverse may succeed the Internet, it cannot supplant the quintessential component of financial planning: customers empowered to reach their aspirations on self-defined terms.
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Image source: https://medium.com/building-the-metaverse/the-experiences-of-the-metaverse-2126a7899020