Money makes the world go around or as our MC Dan Monheit pointed to in referencing the famous 1993 Wu-Tang Clan song C.R.E.A.M., cash rules everything around me.
In our August edition of Real Big Things, we tackled the big, complex and for many, scary world of financial services with five speakers stepping up to give us glimpses into their experience in the industry.
Super powers aren’t a thing right? Well to kick us off, Adam Milgrom suggested that in some ways they are while highlighting that whether we like it or not, we’re all investors. We all have superannuation funds and unfortunately the businesses we’re subsequently building our retirement nest egg on might not be as environmental, sustainable or generally good as we’d like them to be. To add insult to injury, the ethical super portfolios are outperforming the less ethical, default ones - time to make the switch!
Financial institutions are complicated beasts and aren’t famously great at putting the consumer first. Grace Palos believes we are passionate consumers in nearly every aspect of our lives but when it comes to taking control of our finances many of us aren’t sure how. 45% of Australian are financially illiterate and poorly designed banking and financial services products are largely to blame for this. The solution? Learn from e-commerce by using human centred design, curation of products and community building to simplify the experience, therefore making “finance as engaging as buying a pair of shoes or picking a restaurant".
When it comes to talking money, it's hard to avoid the topic of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and Blockchain are terms being bandied around constantly but are possibly not fully understood by many. To address the hype head on, crypto advocate Doctor Prash returned to the Real Big Things stage to deliver a philosophical 101 on the currently volatile currency. He shone a light on the lesser-known aspects of crypto by walking the audience through its origins and potential applications the technology might have in other areas of society.
Apart from sharing an interest in AI with his famous namesake, George Lucas knows a thing or two about the short-term financial thinking and behaviour of Millennials, revealing only 8% having a high-level knowledge of managing personal finance. Courtesy of his business Raiz (formerly Acorns Australia), George is helping over 165,000 young Australians set themselves up for better financial futures, and shared some of the simple ways technology can help us save more and spend less.
With electronic payments becoming ubiquitously available to most Australians, Professor Richard Holden wrapped up the morning’s proceeding by suggesting physical cash, as we know it, could be eradicated from the country by 2020. In fact, in Beijing beggars are asking for money via WeChat Pay over cash. Not only did Richard step the audience through how a paperless future could be achieved, he also demonstrated how the benefits of a cashless future far outweighed the small, short-term inconveniences. To come full circle and borrow a Wu-Tang lyric, no more “dollar, dollar bill y'all”.
In the next edition, Real Big Things will be getting down with Mother Nature and doing our best Attenborough impersonations as we look to address all things Planet Earth on Friday 23rd November. As always, tickets are already moving right here. Look forward to seeing you then!