April is Financial Literacy Month! This year, many of us have unique opportunities to participate in Financial Literacy Month. As schools around the globe are shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents and caregivers have suddenly found themselves largely taking on the role of their children’s educators. Many are searching for new, exciting, and educational resources for children to do with their newfound free time.
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First Principles thinking is an idea popularized by entrepreneur Elon Musk, although it has roots with other minds like philosopher Aristotle, inventor Johannes Gutenberg, and military strategist John Boyd.3 First principles thinking is like taking a scientific approach to your thought processes. A first principle was defined by Aristotle as, “the first basis from which a thing is known.”3 As Musk describes, “you kind of boil things down to the most fundamental truths […] and then reason up from there.”2
Information abounds about the need for physical health. Our society is largely driven by physical health and fitness, and yet, we still see heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes on the list of top causes of death.4 Common advice stays constant: eat right, exercise, avoid smoking and drinking. But is it possible that physical health reaches beyond just these few lifestyle choices? Research suggests that finances also play a role in a person’s physical and mental fitness.
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In a recent article by Tina Giorgio, president and CEO of ICBA Bancard, she discusses the top three industry developments that “should be on every community bank’s priority list in 2020 and beyond.” Change is the most consistent factor of the banking industry; new technologies will continue to emerge and new solutions will be created. Giorgio urges bankers to take full advantage of these opportunities. In her article, her top three developments are Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Wallets, and Customer-first approach.
Technology is changing the day-to-day operations of banks and their employees. Many are hesitant and resistant to a technology takeover, but many of these digital services can revolutionize the banking industry, giving employees more opportunities to do work that generates more revenue and has more meaning.
There are two types of people: those who never let their bank account get close to zero and those who at some point get near or below zero in their bank account. According to Aaron Klein, a fellow at the Brookings Institution (a government research center in Washington, D.C.), half of Americans have enough income and expense volatility that their bank accounts hit or get close to zero. Klein relents, “once you start getting near and hitting zero, the world becomes incredibly expensive: $35 for an overdraft, $50 for a payday loan, interest rates of 300-400%, late fees.”
It’s true nobody likes change, but it’s particularly frustrating to face changes that seem completely unnecessary. Chris Maher, CEO of OceanFirst Financial, noticed the biggest problem when going digital was a cultural and training gap among employees, “not surprisingly, if you work all day within a bank branch, you don’t personally have a big need to use mobile banking and wouldn’t be an advocate of that technology because it’s not important to you in your life.”
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