How to empower people to make better financial decisions

Think Forward Initiative | How and why do people make financial choices

What kind of mortgage is right for you? What are the potential pitfalls of a student loan? When should you start planning your pension? Making financial decisions is not easy, however unavoidable. So how do people make financial decisions and why?

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Think Forward Initiative

The Think Forward Initiative (TFI) is a multi-year movement that brings together a range of experts and researchers to examine how and why we make financial choices. Deloitte is a knowledge and innovation partner to the Think Forward Initiative (TFI). Rapidly developing technologies enable us to radically improve and disrupt the future of financial services for consumers. At Deloitte, we believe that organizations around the world have the ability to harness the potential of these technologies and innovate, playing a significant role in shaping and influencing the role companies are fulfilling in the future. With the initiative we move from research to solutions. Understanding why people make certain financial decisions, such as saving, investment and retirement and borrowing, spending and budgeting but also financial literacy. With these insights from research, more personal, instant and relevant solutions can be designed to adhere to consumer needs and to drive sustainable progress in society at large.

Financial literacy

Nearly a third of young people in Europe feel their finances are in a poor condition. Two thirds of people in Europe feel young people have to make more financial decisions than the older generations did when they were young. Some 75% of people across Europe agree it is more important for young people today to learn how to manage money. 

Research on 'money attitudes of a new generation' conducted with Professor Noreena Hertz reveals a major generational shift in financial attitudes, as the children that lived through the financial crash of 2008 reach early adulthood. 72% of the youngsters (18-24) firmly believe that if they don't look after themselves financially when they are adults, no one else will - this new generation has the desire to be independent and self-reliant. Revealing an unprecedented level of anxiety, almost three quarters of 14-21 year olds worry about being in debt- and not in relation to just student loans, but morgages too. Financial literacy is therefore one of the main themes the Think Forward Initiative focuses on. Levels of financial literacy around the world are simply too low. We need to step up the effort for financial literacy.

Savings, investment and retirement

Many people fail to save what they will need for retirement. Research on excessive discounting of the future, suggests that removing the lure of immediate rewards by precommitting to decisions or elaborating the value of future rewards, both can make decisions more future oriented. In many financial decisions we have conflicts between the present self and the future self. The present self fails to save for retirement and that leaves the future self with nothing. Read more on how to bridge the emotional gap between these two states of present and future self in the TFI research into 'increasing saving behaviour'.


Budgeting, spending and borrowing

To get a better understanding about how customers and potential customers think about their financial matters, research into budgeting, spending and borrowing was focused on the costs of life events in the survey on 'the wedding or the house'. More than 12,000 respondents from 13 European countries shared their opinion. The result is a realistic look on what people spend on things like a wedding or a house. Check out the outcomes of the survey below.

60% of people in Europe would rather spend their money on a house than their wedding, more couples pay for the big day themselves than have families contribute and 62% of people feel weddings are too expensive for guests. Read on and download the full report International Survey on Weddings and Life Events.

Think Forward summit to share knowledge

Last year the first Think Forward Summit was organized in Brussels. From professor to politician, from economist to technology expert – everyone at the Think Forward Summit in Brussels had one thing in common: a passion for helping people make better financial decisions. Here’s why the world needs this initiative. The next summit to discuss developments and share knowledge will be held at March 15 in Munich. 

Video impressions on last years Think Forward Summit

Want to know more on the Think Forward Initiative?

Would you like to stay up-to-date and informed on the Think Forward Initiative. Please join the network via the Think Forward website or contact Peter van Loon at Join the discussion @ThinkForward.

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