Living the American Dream with HappiU
Nothing illustrates the pursuit of financial success and happiness better than the American Dream. 360F took a journey to New York recently to present the concept of its proprietary 360-HappiU®, a scoring system that forecasts one’s future financial satisfaction, and in the context of the United States, one’s achievement and protection of the American Dream.
Scores do not account for risks
To the modern layman, the American Dream can be a Harvard degree, dream home or affordable health care and so on. Alongside are scoring tools such as SAT scores and credit scores to signal, directly and indirectly, their chances of achieving the dream. For example, credit scores tend to determine the home mortgage loans one is qualified for.
While these scoring systems signal the chance of success, they fail to signal risks to the same person’s financial future. For example, a healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2019 has acquired their own property and retirement savings at the population average level of $270,000. However, they can expect to spend close to $400,000 for retirement health care costs, not including long-term care. This means that a major illness during retirement would not only wipe out their savings but also force the couple to sell their property for funds! They may have had a great credit score that supported their property dream but they had not planned to protect their dream.
Since the typical scoring systems are inadequate, the layman must have sufficient financial literacy to achieve and protect their American Dream in good and bad times.
But financial literacy has not caught up with financial needs and risk exposure.
Financial literacy worldwide has always been notoriously difficult to raise. In a Standard and Poor’s survey, merely 35% of global respondents answered questions about risk diversification correctly  .
The poor understanding of the fundamentals is just the tip of the iceberg. As one grows older and experiences different life stages, financial needs and risk exposure change and become less straightforward to fulfill. Financial knowledge therefore must evolve beyond the fundamental concepts. But financial products tend to be complex. In America, only 4% of survey respondents could correctly define common health insurance terms and answer seven out of ten questions on disability insurance. Despite making loan repayments, only 52% of Americans understood them to be based on term and interest rate  .
While financial literacy can be promoted through financial advice, inconsistent advice across advisors often leaves consumers more confused. Some eschew advice altogether while others just want to “get it over and done with”. A survey conducted in the United Kingdom found that 90% of insurance consumers considered only one insurance policy before purchase while 59% simply followed the financial advisor’s recommendations  .
Living the American Dream with 360-HappiU®
Though the popular scoring systems have severe shortcomings, the layman consumer can relate to them easily, making these systems extremely scalable.
In the ideal world, we would have a global scoring benchmark for financial advice. This benchmark is customizable to reflect country differences and product universe accessibility. It needs to be customizable at the personal level too, so that it is based on one’s priorities, values, and risk exposure. Using this benchmark, any layman can discern the advice quality without being overwhelmed by the complexities of the government insurance and social security systems and private offerings.
360F therefore innovates the scoring system, 360-HappiU®, which simulates all conceivable insurance and market risks specific to the individual and forecasts his or her financial future reliably.
Built upon the Nobel-Prize winning research of Prospect Theory, the resulting score, HappiU®, accounts for the individual’s value for the “peace of mind”, a human factor that has been neglected and even misrepresented in the classical wealth maximization planning. Hence the HappiU® score is ultimately a forecast of one’s financial satisfaction defined on personal criteria including competing aspirations and constraints, and ultimately used to guide holistic financial advisory, from insurance protection to wealth accumulation and inheritance.
The American Dream may not always be about financial satisfaction, but it is surely built upon it.
Drop us an eMail here: email@example.com
 Tennyson, S. Consumer’s insurance literacy: evidence from survey data. Financial Services Review. 20(2011): 165-179
How developed are your risk muscles?
Anyone is free to take risk. But just like how we need to build muscles for sports so that we maximize the benefits while protecting ourselves, we need risk-taking muscles too. Risk tends to get a bad rep because we focus on the negative outcome. It is like denouncing sports for the injuries it causes. In both risk and sports, we need to appreciate that the (to-be) risk taker is a protagonist. The protagonist plays an active role, not a passive one.
Why do we need to build muscles for risk-taking?
Our contradictions make us human. Innately, we are both risk-taking and risk-averse.
Our risk-taking tendencies have evolutionary origins. Since the beginning, our ancestors have been flexing their risk-taking muscles for survival. Primitive humans needed to venture out of the safety of their homes to hunt for food and/or socialise. With time, our ability to handle a myriad of decisions of risk grows more sophisticated as we continuously build our risk-taking muscle. Physiologically, risk is also associated with the pleasure-arousal domain of our brains too, which explains why we are inevitably drawn to risk .
Ironically, humans are also wired to be risk averse. In behavioural psychology, Prospect Theory describes how humans feel the pain of loss more acutely than the satisfaction of gain . Thus we humans prefer to avoid risk so that we do not need to feel the pains of the loss.
Avoiding risks completely is however impractical. Risk taking isn’t just necessary for survival, it’s key to fulfilling our aspirations. For example, wealth accumulation enables us to reach our financial goals without which, we are susceptible to inflationary risk. Ultimately, the riskiest move is to not take any risks at all.
Paradoxically, our risk aversion is attributed to the same reason for our risk-taking tendencies: survival. Rather than being puppets of our survival mechanisms, we have the option to deliberate and strategize – the ability made possible with risk-taking muscles.
How to build those muscles for financial risks?
Well-developed risk-taking muscles enable us to assess if a financial risk is worth taking, prevent knee-jerk reactions and work out a strategy that prevents an uncontrollable downward spiral.
- Establish the floor
To build those muscles, we must have clarity over our risk limits. A direct and simple way is to establish our individual ‘floor’. For example, Mary’s floor would be the emergency and education funds put aside for her family and children respectively. Tom’s floor could be a percentage of his wealth that he is clear he cannot lose under all circumstances.
- Forecast your financial future
Having established the personal floor, we should have a reliable forecast of the uncontrollable risk events such as death, critical illness and market crashes, and their impact on our wealth (and floor). At 360F, our scenario simulation feature gives customers this transparency by stress testing their status quo financial state through some 10,000 scenarios that represent all conceivable personal and market risks specific to the individual’s profile. The output is a financial satisfaction score, also known as the HappiU, on a scale of 1 to 100. The lower the score, the more financially stressed the individual is expected to be in the future. The higher the score, the more likely the individual can fulfil his or her financial aspirations and yet able to maintain spending power or leave a legacy even during crises.
3. Reduce uncertainties
Now that we have a clear view of not only our limits but also our likely hurdles, we can weed out the counterproductive risks by using insurance to transfer the risks away. While eliminating the effects of bad risks, we concurrently explore the healthy risks we need to take to achieve the financial aspirations. Traditionally, this requires time, deep advisory expertise and the luck of finding the right advisor.
To accelerate the building of the risk-taking muscles safely, we tap on intelligent technology. 360F’s solutioning engine which auto-customize solutioning suggestions that hedge the unwanted risks and introduce healthy risks as best reasonably possible. Such solutions are virtual bundles of insurance and investment plans, synergized together to give the individual the maximum improvement possible for his or her HappiU (financial satisfaction) score. The HappiU score reduces the uncertainty of taking risks as it factors in all possible outcomes as realistically as possible.
4. Start small but progress with accountability
Starting the muscle building with small but incremental steps increases the chances of success. However this progression must be tracked and built with signals to steer us in the right direction. Again, technology comes into play. For example, 360F’s HappiU scoring system comes with insights-generation capability so that customers get self-explanatory pointers that they can apply immediately to improve their score.
Risk-taking in teamwork
Lastly, risk-taking is not a lonely activity. Our ancestors foraged for food as a team in the past as they stood a better chance with larger numbers and herein lies the importance of a financial advisor. Having a third-party to unmask the blind spots and hear the unsaid helps us to take better calculated risks and hedge uncontrollable risks. This enables one to build stronger risk-taking muscles and ultimately, fulfil their aspirations with a peace of mind.
Drop us an eMail here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Consistent, High-Quality and Self-Verifiable Financial Advice for Everyone, Anywhere and Anytime
The effects of COVID-19 global pandemic can be seen in the change of finances for many. Prolonged loss of income, heightened awareness of the need for health insurance and begrudged acceptance of the changed landscape of life milestones such as child’s tertiary education, relocation and retirement – the pandemic has indirectly created strong interest in financial markets and financial advice, especially among the layman.
But interest alone is far from enough. The financial advisory industry is unfortunately a very noisy one. Despite the same customer profile and product portfolio, a disconcerting range of variance is easily observed among the financial advice given by different financial advisors.
Nobel Prize-winning behavioural psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains noise as unwanted variability. With high levels of noise, something as random as the last-read news, personality or weather could affect professional judgement which should have been consistent.
Where noise is not controlled, financial advisors are not interchangeable. Financial advisory firms cannot scale their business. Customers cannot rely on a single opinion.
The layman customers have the excuse of not knowing any better. Financial advice, up to recently, cannot be self-verified easily. In fact, it is not even accessible freely.
To clear any doubts, financial advice does not simply constitute identifying financial needs and gaps.
High-quality financial advice takes holistic consideration of all the financial objectives and profile of the customer in tandem.
This means customers should receive solutions that are optimised, enabling them to best fulfil their prioritized financial objectives in view of their profile such as risk tolerance, constrained budget, and time horizon.
But if financial advice cannot be self-verified, how can customers ever know if the advice offered to them is optimal, motivated as they are?
We can reduce noise
Market-leading advisory firms and product carriers are starting to acknowledge the need to reduce the unwanted variability in financial advice and that customers must play the collaborative role in the advisory relationship.
Over the last fourteen months in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, 360F has seen a multi-fold surge in the institutional take-up of its flagship advice solutioning optimiser, 360-ProVestment®, and its sister module, 360-HappiU®, a financial scoring system that helps anyone forecast their financial future and verify the impact of any given advice.
Built on the backbone of Nobel Prize-winning research in behavioural economics, namely Prospect Theory, 360-ProVestment® processes all of the customer’s insurance and investment priorities and profile including loss aversion and constraints within a mathematical function that ultimately quantifies the customer’s self-defined financial satisfaction.
The solutioning optimiser then stress-tests possibilities before generating solutioning options based on the financial advisor’s accessible product universe, i.e., it customises virtual bundles of insurance and/or investment products that yield the highest financial satisfaction for the customer.
The sister module, 360-HappiU®, standalone or add-on, forecasts the customer’s financial future with respect to the ability to fulfil the financial priorities even if personal crises and stock market risks should occur.
A self-explanatory scoring system, the 360-HappiU® spearheads buyer empowerment in financial advisory as it provides a simple and reliable reference for customers to gauge their financial satisfaction, on the basis of their personal values, priorities and desired lifestyles, throughout their lifetime.
Both modules engage stochastic simulation where all the conceivable risks specific to the customer’s profile are simulated across the planning horizon. Such robust stress-testing minimises noise, and therefore room for subjective judgement in financial advice.
Notably the demand for 360F modules also comes from carriers who have huge but legacy-ridden advisory sales force, giving rise to use cases ranging from pure engagement via consumer-facing apps to hybrid advisory which empowers prospects to custom-generate their potential solutioning options and decide for themselves when they want to engage an advisor.
360F releases major software upgrade
Noting the trend for personalised but consistent and self-verifiable financial advice is here to stay, 360F has released a major software upgrade that will enable insurers, banks and advisory firms to launch in as quickly as ninety days and enjoy a substantial increase in their advisory effectiveness.
New features include low-code configurability, HappiU score insights generator to increase customer engagement and pricing sheets transformation to enable product carriers break free from legacy architectures and give their captive and third-party digital distributors the ability to automate real-time solutioning options.
Virtual advice in the near future
We foresee the rise of digital advice. Not to be confused with advice from robo advisors, digital advice retains personal service from the advisors but uses technologies such as 360-ProVestment® and 360-HappiU® to build advisor capabilities with scale economics.
Any customer should be able to receive high-quality advice and enjoy top-class customer experience, anytime and anywhere.
Drop us an eMail here: email@example.com
InsurTech 360F Makes Financial Advisory More Intuitive And Scalable
From intuitive design features that empower customers to understand and validate their options to high configurability that enables financial institutions to launch in as quickly as 90 days, 360F’s new release optimizes advisor capabilities with scale economics and lays a strong foundation for trust between the advisor and customer.
Making informed decision becomes very easy with the 360-HappiU® module, which forecasts the customer’s financial future. Unlike the conventional financial ratios, the 360-HappiU® factors in the individual values, beliefs and lifestyles to establish the customer’s financial satisfaction criteria, against which the module simulates to yield the HappiU score.
“Motivated to improve their HappiU score, customers become more willing than ever to seek suggestions. We have been keeping up their momentum by showing them their multi-needs solutioning options, all customized in real-time. We now boost engagement even more with insights-generation capability so that customers get self-explanatory pointers that they can apply immediately to improve their score,” said Mr. Michael Gerber, Chief Executive Officer. “Enabling customers to take an educated role in their financial well-being unlocks the full potential of advisors.”
The new release also enables financial institutions to enjoy accelerated time-to-market and simultaneously, higher quality of the business portfolio with:
- High configurability, making it easy and fast for product carriers to onboard new products and reflect regulatory changes for automated recommendation
- Pricing sheets transformation enabling product carriers to break free from legacy architectures and give their captive and third-party digital distributors the ability to automate real-time solutioning bundles, which can include even the most complex products.
- Built-in investment portfolio generator allowing unit-linked policies to be configured holistically with other financial products and scored as part of the customer’s HappiU
“With computing-intensive simulation and optimization techniques on the back of Nobel-Prize winning research on Prospect Theory, we had brought advisory standards to a new level. Now we bring the customer closer to the adviser by using the 360-HappiU® as the reference system, like how we have come to rely on the thermometer as the source of truth,” said Clarie Kwa, Chief Market Officer.
The 360F product suite is currently being used by life insurers and brokers in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Singapore and Malaysia.
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.
Drop us an eMail here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image source: https://medium.com/building-the-metaverse/the-experiences-of-the-metaverse-2126a7899020
The reason why not all differences can be celebrated
Imagine this: You fall sick and visit the doctor who diagnoses a mild condition. A month later however, you still feel unwell and consult another doctor. This time, the prognosis is grim. You only have six months to live.
How is it possible that professionally trained doctors can give completely different diagnoses? A random error called noise explains this.
In their book, “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment”, Nobel-prize winning behavioral scientist Daniel Kahneman, with co-authors Cassy Sunstein and Oliver Sibony describe noise as unwanted variability  . With high levels of noise, something as random as the weather or last-read news could affect professional judgment which should have been consistent throughout.
Noise in the financial advisory world
Perplexing variability can be detected in financial advice given by different financial advisers for the same customer profile and accessible product shelf.
Without attempts to quell noise in the industry, financial advisors are not interchangeable. This means financial advisory firms are unable to scale their business and customers cannot rely on a single opinion.
However, it is not apparent to customers that they should seek different opinions. Self-verification of financial advice, up till recently, is difficult. It is a process which complexity should not be underestimated. Financial advice does not merely comprise identifying financial needs and gaps. Sound financial advice takes comprehensive consideration of all financial objectives and profile of the customer synchronously. This means customers should receive solutions that are optimized, enabling them to best fulfil their prioritized financial objectives in view of their profile, such as risk tolerance, constrained budget, and time horizon.
Hence even if customers know they ought to seek different opinions due to the inherent noise in financial advisory, they will still find it difficult to assess all of them and decide on one.
…to make it worse, we are wired to be ‘noisy’
The truth of the matter is that noise isn’t just within us, it is an unchangeable part of us as humans.
Since primitive times, creative problem-solving skills have evolutionary benefits as humans needed to explore ways to survive, such as fire-making for warmth  . This creativity inevitably gives rise to variability in judgement and as long as there are no immediate negative associations, the variability survives through time. In other words, noise is an evolutionary by-product of what makes us human.
If humans are wired to be ‘noisy’, how can customers then get consistent and high-quality financial advice?
We can reduce noise
Noise can be eliminated through mathematical algorithms because they remove nuances and variability. In 360F, we run algo-driven optimization and robust stress-testing to minimize noise and therefore room for subjective judgement.
Built on the backbone of Nobel Prize-winning research in behavioural economics, namely Prospect Theory, 360-ProVestment® processes all of the customer’s insurance and investment priorities and profile including loss aversion and constraints within a mathematical function that ultimately quantifies the customer’s self-defined financial satisfaction. The solutioning optimizer then stress-tests possibilities before generating solutioning options based on the financial advisor’s accessible product universe, i.e., it customizes virtual bundles of insurance and/or investment products that yield the highest financial satisfaction for the customer.
Remove noise but not the human touch
The goal to eradicate noise does not supplant our innate need for human connection. Human empathy is key to certain aspects of financial planning which are emotionally sensitive for areas such as legacy planning.
Hence, we foresee the rise of digital advice. Through effective collaboration with advisors and optimization technologies such as 360-ProVestment®, consumers can receive quality and noise-free financial advice.
Drop us an eMail here: email@example.com
 Kahneman, D., Sibony, O., & Sunstein, C. (2021). Noise: A flaw in human judgment. Little, Brown & Company
 Carruthers, P. (2002). Human creativity: its cognitive basis, its volution, and its connections with childhood pretense. British journal for the philosophy of science. 53(2): 225-249
We all hate to lose and here's why
A curious phenomenon
On 21 January 2021, the US Mega Millions lottery announced their top prize: a whopping $970 million . What are the odds of winning the top prize?
1 in 302 million .
Despite the near impossibility to win, 50% of adult Americans have played the lottery before .
People ignore the odds.
Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist, Daniel Kahneman, and his co-author Amos Tversky developed the model, Prospect Theory, to explain this strange behavior.
What is Prospect Theory?
Prospect Theory is a decision theory that explains how people’s decisions are influenced by their attitudes toward risk, uncertainty, loss, and gain.
Under the umbrella of Prospect Theory, Kahneman and Tversky pointed out that humans tend to over-estimate the chance of an event happening . This observation rides on the research of another Nobel-prize winning economist and cognitive psychologist Herbert Simon who suggested that humans are unable to think objectively due to influences such as information inadequacy, social pressures and individual motivations.
Compounding the human’s poor ability to assess chances (or probabilities) is the universal observation that humans feel the pain of loss more than the joy of gain. Losing five dollars hurts more than chancing upon five dollars causing people to be averse to loss. This loss aversion motivates one to make decisions to avoid the pain associated with loss.
What if there is nothing to lose?
In the lottery context, the only “loss” is the lottery ticket cost, which is negligible for most people as long as they are not compulsive gamblers. The “what if I could have won” notion outweighs the failure to win the lottery, which might be a subconsciously expected outcome anyway. Hence the allure of huge financial upside dominates people’s thinking, even though the likelihood of winning is minute.
When there is too much to lose
Yet, on the other end of the loss spectrum, people’s decision-making process is complicated by options. It is no coincidence that the term “prospect” originally (and aptly) referred to the options available.
If people face two options, one is a near-certain loss while the other a tiny chance of a gain, they become strongly motivated to take the latter option, in the hope of getting the gain and avoiding the pain of loss. In this context, people become risk takers. They go “all-in”.
Entreprenuers frequently display this classic decision-making behavior. In Singapore, it has been reported that many entrepreneurs from the food and beverage industry, despite having incurred losses amounting to millions due to COVID-19 measures restraining operations for over at least twelve months, feel they have no choice but to persist, even dipping into their personal reserves. As some of them remarked, “I can’t stop now because I have already lost so much” .
However a different set of options can present the same perception of “much to lose”. Imagine having to choose between two options: To receive a guaranteed winning or to take a chance for a higher winning amount but also accompanied by a slim chance of getting nothing. Most of you would opt for the guaranteed winning. We mentally exaggerate the “slim” chance of getting nothing so much so that the thought of losing something so close at hand is unbearable.
Such loss aversion also means that humans like certainty, so that they can keep a lid on their exposure to chances of loss.
Hence, we buy insurance
Since humans do not resonate well with uncertainty and yet over-estimate low probabilities of a financial loss, it is certainly stressful for us, Homo sapiens. Hence, we rely on insurance to eliminate the uncertainty of looming losses.
We see this in the type of insurance that people prefer to buy. For a peace of mind, consumers would rather pay a higher premium for a policy with complete coverage than a cheaper policy with only partial coverage and an out-of-pocket component that they must pay themselves .
As we understand how we Homo sapiens are wired to make decisions, it begs the question: What is the end goal of the, somewhat irrational, choices that we make?
We all like a stress-free and happy life
Contrary to popular wisdom, humans do not pursue wealth just for money’s sake. Ultimately, the end goal for most is to be able to cope with any loss-related crises and yet fulfil their aspirations, i.e. a stress-free and happy life on self-defined terms.
In 360F, we recognize that goal, especially on the financial frontier. Hence, our proprietary scoring system known as 360-HappiU© follows the fundamentals of the Prospect Theory to measure your personal financial satisfaction.
Through 10,000 stochastic simulations, we measure your HappiU© by stress-testing your financial future against every conceivable personal and market risk so that you can reach your life’s goals while weathering through financial storms.
After all, we all hate to lose.
Drop us an eMail here: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Kahneman, D. & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Econometrica. 47(2).
 Johnson, E. J., Hershey, J., Meszaros, J., & Kunreuther, H. (1993). Framing, probability distortions, and insurance decisions. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. 7(1), 35-51.
Keeping Scores – Good or bad? Psychology experts say it’s good for you
A new food trend is on the rise. Health- and environmentally-conscious people are embracing food innovations, such as plant based meat and scoring systems that measure our meal’s dietary risk and shows how we can reduce carbon footprint. 
Why do we even need scoring systems?
Why do we need a scoring system to monitor our diet? This question should, however, be asked in a bigger context as we use scoring system in all aspects of our lives.
From debt credit scores that measure credit rating to social credit scores that blacklist socially inappropriate behavior  , there’s something about point-scoring that’s intrinsic to us. Why is that so?
Being in school for a decade or two meant that most of us have been perpetually exposed to a scoring or grading system that reflects academic aptitude. We are inadvertently indoctrinated to use scores as a reference to measure competency.
However, our relationship with the scoring system is a far more intrinsic one.
We all want to feel competent
Do you remember the feeling when you did well for a particular test? Whether it was a driving or school test, that incredible sense of achievement makes you want to continue to ride on that high.
An empirical motivation theory, termed as the Self Determination Theory, explains this feeling. Self-determination refers to each person’s ability to make choices and manage their own life. In a journal article cited 6,930 times in the research community, “Self-determination theory: a macro-theory of human motivation, development and health”, the authors, Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, both psychology professors, describe how we have the psychological need to be competent and hence, take steps to grow our area of proficiency. When we score well, we feel accomplished even if there is no one we are comparing ourselves with. An external stimulus, namely the favorable score, causes us to feel good.
That is how the scoring system motivates us. Through empirical research, Deci noted that mere feelings of competency will not motivate one to improve self-determination unless it is supported by external feedback , such as the scoring systems. We are motivated to maintain or exceed our own score to reaffirm our innate need to feel competent. Hence when given positive and feasible feedback through a trusted scoring system, we need no prompt to follow the feedback to improve our score.
But scoring systems run the risk of being irrelevant and impersonal. Scoring systems must account for individual values, beliefs, and lifestyles, without which they will merely serve as arbitrary references that find no resonance or value with the individual person. Sadly, many financial ratios and metrics lack this personalization which is the very key to financial advisory. This hinders engagement and trust-building between customers and organizations. It also disempowers people from taking steps to grow their competency and satisfaction. Hence, 360F develops a financial scoring system pertaining to your financial happiness defined on your own terms.
It’s your personal financial happiness we care about
The proprietary scoring system, 360-HappiU©, is the scoring benchmark for personal financial satisfaction. The score known as the HappiU© forecasts the person’s ability to cope with personal crises and yet achieve their financial aspirations. This scoring system is robust as it involves stress-testing the person’s future through some 10,000 scenarios based on his personal probabilities of personal and market risks. Through this, your HappiU© score will be personalized to your needs, priorities and lifestyle.
We expand the HappiU© functionality with insights that emphasizes feasible action points to help you raise or maintain your score. By offering positive and actionable feedback, you can now take feasible steps to boost your competency level and find personal satisfaction: a sign of a truly self-determined person.
As scoring systems affirm our intrinsic need for competency, 360-HappiU© will be the future’s ubiquitous reference for satisfaction in your financial capability. After all, you were made to be and feel competent.
As you feel financially accomplished, you are empowered to chart your own financial journey and stay the top, always.
Drop us an eMail here: email@example.com
 Eaternity Database, 2017
 Sailer, M., Hense, J.U., Mayr, S.K. & Mandl, H. (2017). How gamification motivates: An experimental study of the effects of specific game design elements on psychological need satisfaction. Computers in Human Behavior, 69 (371-280)
The Day of a productive Financial Advisory Professional
David is a financial advisor. While his peers begin their day with cold calling and emailing the latest product campaigns, David invites his prospects to complete a simplified financial self-discovery exercise at their own pace. David pre-empts them that the exercise gifts them a scoring mechanism that measures their likely financial satisfaction in the hope of achieving future financial independence.
The score calculated by the mechanism, is known as the HappiU. It is a transparent metric that reflects the prospect’s ability to weather through a financial crisis like critical illness and yet achieve his/her financial goals. It also measures the impact of any suggested financial advice.
The HappiU score is central to trust building in the advisory relationship. Just like how the navigation software enables us to trust strangers to bring us to our destination in their private hire cars, the HappiU score ensures both the prospect and the advisor share the same referencing system that is intuitively and mutually understandable. A prospect empowered to understand and discuss his current net worth and financial gaps is one who will develop buyer intent to improve his situation. Buyer intent fuels the advisor’s interaction with the customer. The stronger the intent, the easier it is for advisor to engage the prospect productively and bring customer satisfaction.
David’s day has a good start and gets even better. The self-discovery exercise generates a bundle of personalized and recommended insurance plans, and showcases how these insurance policies can improve the prospect’s HappiU score. This self-directed functionality gives prospects a sense of control. Unlike the boomer generation who readily accepts the expert authority of the financial advisor, the current millennial generation resists the monologue of information transfer from their financial advisors. By guiding prospects to discover the information and enabling them to understand it, advisors find themselves in an effective collaboration with their prospects to reach a consensus easily. The self-discovery financial exercise has not only empowered the prospect but also David to save the time which would otherwise be wasted on overcoming objections from prospects who have yet to develop any buyer intent.
Most customers want to be included in the decision-making but few will want to venture alone. David now spends most of his day guiding his prospects through the sales process. Seeing is believing but in the world of financial advice, advisors and prospects must grapple with unforeseen events. However, David has a visual financial simulator at his disposal, a powerful and credible foresight tool that analyzes and visualizes the prospect’s personal and market risks based on probability to project the lifetime net wealth. Using the tool, David demonstrates how the recommended insurance solutions enables the prospect to cope with bad times and achieve his defined financial goal of financial independence.
On some days, David encounters prospects whose true concerns surface only during an in-person or the insurance sales process. David is free to modify the recommendation options generated in the self-discovery exercise. Staying on the same platform, he customizes the solutions – from comparing different insurance and investment features in a single view, to configuring the individual insurance policies and simulating their impact on the prospect’s financial satisfaction. Also, he can take in his prospect’s special requirements such as Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance (ESG) preferences and customize an optimal investment portfolio. As the platform helps David to stay within reasonable assumptions and suitability rules, he minimizes the chances of having to re-work his proposals or getting flagged for compliance issues during audits.
Supported by robust and intuitive automation tools, David relishes his career as a financial advisor. His sales success is sustainable. He enjoys interacting with his prospects and customers and the best part – the feeling is mutual.
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Why are Financial Advisors so stressed?
I’ve been a financial advisor for two years. Financial advisory is an enriching journey, and every job has varying stress, but this is different. The stress was clearly reflected in my lack of sleep and weight gain (ten kilos, to be exact). Financial advisors are highly stressed than other professionals but why is that so?
Jack of all trades
The financial advisor wears multiple hats in this job. From the onset, he is the lead generator, marketer, salesman and servicing personnel all in one. Most come into the job not knowing how to do any of these. The initial learning curve is hence very steep. Coupled with the pressure to break the egg, the journey proves to be more overwhelming than expected.
Do we really expect the average financial advisor to be savvy with product differentiation and product knowledge and sell these products, right after a two-month crash course? What about investment market trends? Speaking of sales, is the advisor then really advising or selling? Compounding these issues with management KPIs makes advisor’s role challenging.
“Give us this day our daily dough.”
Most advisors are remunerated on a commission-basis. Before you imagine a huge pipeline of customers and a fat bank account, think again. Sales is cyclical meaning there will be good and bad months. Without a basic salary and consistent sales, this leads to an unstable income with physical needs on the line. Will this be solved by merely securing more appointments? Is it sustainable? Unlikely.
Many advisors start off by reaching out to their social circle, known as their warm market. At some point, they will exhaust their warm leads and reach out to the cold market. Cold-calling and canvassing are common prospecting ways which are notoriously ineffective. Reckon this: will you actually entrust your money to a stranger whom you’ve met for barely five minutes?
In developed markets like Singapore, insurers are constantly competing for a bigger share in a market where most people would have basic insurance coverage. The struggle then involves up-selling products on top of what most people already have, blurring the line between boosting one’s financial portfolio and mis-selling. This is a potential compliance risk where advisors can face ethical conundrums here.
In general, many have a subconscious aversion towards advisors since people are typically wary towards sales personnel, making advisors even more desperate. The end result? A stigmatized industry. We perceive financial advisors as pushy, and unscrupulous because these traits are fairly common even as obnoxious and aggressive sales tactics prevail.
Flexing is abs-olutely uncool
Familiar with “successful” advisors flashing their BMWs and Rolexes on social media? All these flexing is part of personal branding and wrongly assumes that trust is given because of the advisor’s “success”. However, this success is only defined superficially and materially which kills relational trust. The ultimate question begs to be asked:
“Is the advisor selling this because I need it or am I merely enabling his flexing?”
Using successful consultants as role-models to emulate, insurers often dangle ridiculous wealth before success-hungry advisors as an attainable goal. For most people, this is a lie. By juxtaposing these elusive ambitions with present reality, the discrepancy can cause one to be self-beating and perpetuate the desperation-hard sell-rejection cycle.
The double blue tick
Rejection is the advisor’s old-time friend. While it can build resilience, perpetual rejection can be hurtful and damaging for the advisor over the long run. Rejection from a loved one is harder and can be isolating. Detached and labelled, how can the average advisor build trust and bring in the sales? With this emotional tension, no wonder advisors are so stressed.
Finally, don’t cast the first stone
If you meet an advisor, try to be kind. The bad rep is understandable but restrain from casting the first stone. Everyone has their battles to fight, even them. With some luck and discernment, you will find an advisor who truly cares for you and your needs.
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