Why Does Money Talk Make People Uncomfortable?

Money Talk

Even though we’re bombarded by publications, programs, and advertising concerning money, it’s all at arms-length. They’re not talking about your money! Money is emotional.

To compound matters, some investment concepts are hard to grasp for the average investor. For example, it’s been well-documented that most people struggle to understand the impact and importance of compound interest - the cycle of earning interest on interest. And, how do you expect a 30-year-old to think about retirement three decades down the line when they have no mental model for something of that scale? If you’re under 30, you’ve literally never done anything for that duration.

All this makes designing experiences for financial services particularly tricky. Historically it has not been a very experience-focused industry. Regulatory pressures are often used as an excuse, but one that doesn’t hold water. Legacy technology systems also legitimately hamstring many companies who find themselves missing the fundamental technology required to deliver a breakthrough user experience.

Designing experiences within a regulated environment is not impossible. In fact, we’ve been designing best-in-class experiences in the healthcare realm for years. In this highly regulated environment words like “creative” and “regulatory” were considered contradictory until smart healthcare organizations began successfully exploring design as a powerful way to connect with clinicians and patients to drive better outcomes. We have a powerful healthcare story and there are a lot of parallels to draw from when you turn to financial services: highly regulated, laggards in design, new to UX, legacy technologies. In other words, there is a path forward - and it’s critical to invest now before it’s too late.

The rise of new financial apps supported by entirely new and different business models has the real potential to unseat financial services companies that continue business as usual. Millennials are showing they think about categories like retail banking, insurance, and wealth management very differently than prior generations.

New startups are catering to this “re-think the model” mindset and presenting app-based products that focus on user experience first. For example, there are insurance startups that offer the ability to turn coverage on or off – on demand (e.g. just before you take a trip). The success of these apps could radically change industries and be a true business threat if not taken seriously. This is sometimes referred to as "the Uber effect". It is imperative that financial companies invest now in new ways of thinking and innovating.

We’ve been creating compelling UX at Mad*Pow for nearly 20 years. As such, we’re masters of that craft. Today we integrate aspects like Behavior Change psychology, Service Design methodologies, and other cutting-edge techniques to reach the best possible design solutions for our clients. Unlike others, we are deeply mission-based and help drive innovation and change, while also helping improve the world. Instead of a focus on the process, we focus on the meaning of the work and it’s impact. Our clients are proud of the designs we co-create, as well as the outcomes.

Designing experiences that win the day within Financial Services is tricky. We at Mad*Pow love to help clients see that service to the experience of the customer can simultaneously deliver customer loyalty, while also driving positive financial outcomes. And, sometimes, surface entirely new ways of delivery products and services.

Contributed by
Michael Kirkpatrick
Job Title
EVP, Client Experience & Strategy. Head of Accounts. Financial Services Practice Lead