How the Pandemic Affected Our Spending Habits – Sharing Our Most Unusual Purchases

Who in the 21st century would have believed they would be part of a worldwide pandemic, forced into isolation with limited access to life as they knew it? Within 24 hours, lives changed, natural behaviors were exposed, and so were spending patterns.

While people were confined to their homes, it became undeniable that the pandemic affected their spending habits. Some started making more online purchases than they had ever previously done, others were spending online just to occupy their time.

In times of crisis, it is human nature for us to revert back to our instinctual responses. As things start to go back to normal we all remember the unusual purchase we all made.

Three members of our DNA Behavior team share with you some of their most unusual purchases.

The Perfect Gaming Setup

If you haven’t met him yet, Ryan Scott is our innovative CTO, always searching for and identifying ways to connect with others using his unique people-before-numbers approach. Being a Reflective Thinker, Ryan succeeds by spending many hours objectively observing situations and uses his skill set to enhance unpredictable and complex situations. 

However, during Covid when people became housebound and freedom of movement was temporarily removed, Ryan started feeling isolated and needed to find an outlet. He had been a passionate playstation user for a while, and saw this as an opportunity to connect with friends, even so virtually. So he invested in several accessories that would enhance his gaming experience and play virtually with friends.

To compensate for many hours of competitive racing through the streets of Monaco, or parachuting into battlegrounds in war-torn areas – through his playstation of course – he also purchased an e-bike to spend more time outdoors.

From Self-Development to Gardening

Credit: The Farmstand

Lisa Travis is our Business Development Analysts and also happens to be an influencer. Throughout the pandemic, she found her online spending shifting towards a combination of online courses and membership sites. Six months passed and Lisa realized that spending $97 a month on products she didn’t need or use, was pointless.

By searching for something else to do, Lisa stumbled across a relatively easy and rewarding hobby. She was introduced to hydroponic gardening. She made the necessary online purchases and her garden started to grow ever since.

Creating the Perfect Home Garden

As you can see, gardening was a common theme within our DNA Behavior team.

Carol Pocklington, our Chief Insight Leader, had been working remotely for quite a while before the pandemic hit. It wasn’t that big of an adjustment for her. However, the window view from her home office was to her house’s backyard and she had been thinking about embellishing her garden for so long.
So she took that as an opportunity to create the perfect home garden, and view for her office. She ordered plants, shrubs, bulbs, and everything she needed to create a flourishing oasis of green.

What about you? What were your most unusual purchases during the pandemic?

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Money Management?

Part of our human nature is to leverage past experiences to make future decisions. Money management practices are no different. And for those who lack experience, they tend to lean on numbers, analytics, and peer groups. 

Either way, to avoid the pitfalls that may impact money management, you might have to reset your compass.
Find out why this matters to managing your money…today on FinWizdom.

Dream Smart Academy Behavioral SuperPowers Community

It’s always interested me to hear stories about how people are using DNA Behavior discovery to cause disruptive transformation in their life and business. Over the past 7 years, the DreamSmart Academy based in Temecula, CA has been growing a movement based on every person knowing their “Behavioral SuperPowers”. This is the essence of the DreamSmart Academy’s Behavioral Identity. People want to know their Behavioral Superpowers and flock to them.
I witnessed this in action as I joined the DreamSmart Academy online graduation event on April 20, 2021. Even though the event was held online the passion for pursuing behavioral self-awareness and understanding how Behavioral Identity impacts overall performance was incredible.

This organization is taking DNA Behavior to inner-city kids, their families, schools, universities, opportunity youth programs, to church leadership, and their congregations. They see the DNA Behavior tools as a behavioral tech solution for individuals, industry leaders, for everyone, and anyone wanting to gain insight into their Behavioral SuperPowers and ultimately their Behavioral Identity. In other words, decode human behavior to make it practically usable for every person.

From financial service industry leaders to business coaches, consultants, and trainers, to pastors – each shared their experience of life-changing ‘light bulb’ moments as they discovered their Behavioral SuperPowers and how powerful this insight is to reshaping their Behavioral Identity and acting as a catalyst for change.

From financial service industry leaders to business coaches, consultants, and trainers, to pastors – each shared their experience of life-changing ‘light bulb’ moments as they discovered their Behavioral SuperPowers and how powerful this insight is to reshaping their Behavioral Identity and acting as a catalyst for change.

I was deeply impressed by the DreamSmart Academy’s application of the DNA Behavior tools and the human energy they have created around them.

They will positively impact a lot of lives and relationships as their Behavioral SuperPowers movement expands.

I will be sharing more over the months ahead about the importance of identity and behavior and revealing more stories from the conversations I am having with others who are practically using behavioral insights to cause a dramatic change in how life and business are done. In the meantime, why not head to our website to begin your own journey to uncovering your identity empowerment. It’s FREE.

Crucial Stock Market Takeaways from COVID-19

This last year will forever be remembered by investors for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global stocks suffered some of the quickest declines on record, and financial advisors around the world were faced with the daunting task of managing their client’s reactions to the pandemic.

If you had any discussions with your clients about Zoom (ZM), TESLA (TSLA) or, god forbid, Dogecoin, you could agree with me that there are more than a few behavioral finance lessons from the last year. In this blog post, we will cover the top 4 crucial takeaways financial advisors need to consider.

Determining Client’s Risk Behavior

Each individual has a level of comfort when it comes to taking risks, and your clients are no different. Accurately determining a client’s risk behavior canbe critical for long-term financial planning, especially during an unpredicted pandemic. When you know your client on a deeper level, you are able to create the ultimate investment portfolio. One that stands the test of time, market volatility, and global pandemics.

Evaluating Market Mood

Evaluating the current mood of the market is the most efficient way to stop your investors from making impulsive decisions that change investment positions at the wrong time. When faced with a global pandemic, the client’s inherent behaviors will take over. So if they have a tendency to make impulsive decisions, assessing the market conditions will enable you to predict such reactions and manage them. Investors typically have one of two reactions to market events. A reaction to market news they hear regarding movements of a particular index, and a reaction when they see their actual portfolio in their investment app. With the Market Mood API tool, you can measure both reactions; client-specific moods as well as moods powered by market indices.

Assessing Behavioral Biases

Each one of your clients has a set of biases that drives their decision-making process. They tend to be impulsive and lead to less optimal outcomes. Which begs the question, how can you manage your different clients’ emotions as the market changes? When it comes to the financial planning process, some clients tend to make financial decisions based on past experience and personal beliefs. Even though the goal is to make well-considered and forward-thinking decisions, our human bias inevitably gets in the way. The key is to assess their behavioral biases at the very early stages and build a portfolio structure accordingly.

Adjusting Client Communication

Client communication methods cannot be one-size-fits-all. Each investor client that you serve has preferred ways of communicating. When faced with pandemic-induced market disruption, communication is key to maintaining client relationships. Some financial advisors rely on email, others prefer in-person meetings. The truth is, similar to you, your clients have preferred communication. Being able to predict them will enhance their experience with you and develop a trusting relationship.

In conclusion

As the world resurfaces from the 2020 market disruption, now is the perfect time for you to reflect on what took place during the previous year and how your relationship with your clients has been affected. With that being said, one of our most effective tools that bridge the gap of understanding between you and your client’s behavior is our community’s power. Powered by Natural Behavior, Financial DNA pinpoints virtually every human habit: the way investors and financial advisors communicate, invest, work, and live. Start a free trial today, and find out which unique style you match with.

ESG Investing: A Match for Post-Pandemic Outlook

– First Published on Nasdaq –

Interest in ESG investing has risen significantly in recent years. So, what is it?

ESG represents Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance factors as a measure of sustainability and social impact of an investment. It’s intended as another “lens” investors and advisors may want to use, alongside, not usurping, financial factors.

For years, ESG issues were a secondary concern for investors. It was often seen as “alternative” or nice to have but not mainstream. Sometimes not even taken seriously. Increasingly, clients are initiating ESG conversations.

One of the reasons may be that ESG investing has been shown to potentially present the greatest opportunity for portfolios. No longer an esoteric offering, financial advisors could well fall behind and lose clients if they fail to identify what issues are important to clients and help them build their portfolio in a way that reflects their values.

Add to that the fact that people have been very reflective during the pandemic; thus, many are beginning to see how various aspects of their lives – including their investments – line up with their values. ESG investments may be one of the answers for which they are searching.

Leverage conversation, technology

Many advisors are accustomed to having conventional conversations with their clients, without knowing those clients at a deeper level. Don’t be tentative or judgmental: Have the conversations to establish if and where clients fit in terms of ESG investing. Some will have base knowledge of the topic; others will appreciate a succinct ESG tutorial.

Advisors may not even realize that some of their clients are already researching companies’ records on environmental sustainability, social responsibility and governance (think transparency and accountability). Other clients may not know ESG investing is not just a nice-to-have approach, but can be a genuine, productive metric of investment potential and returns.

How can technology and data facilitate these conversations? Tech and data provide advisors and analysts with information about companies worthy of investment. It delivers data to advisors based on verified performance, demonstrating that companies worthy of investment are genuinely ESG compliant and are not just one of the in-name-only players.

Better still, tech and data can help advisors and even investors themselves understand the decision-making behaviors of investors. Especially as we come out of pandemic lockdown, in which everyone is increasingly comfortable with remote interactions, advisors need to have behavioral insights at their fingertips. As we all work “leaner,” insights provide an edge for advisors and firms committed to rethink and reshape how they deliver wealth management advice in our rapidly changing world.

Broaching ESG option

The real challenge for many financial advisors is that they aren’t sure how to have ESG conversations with clients. Many might feel asking about a person’s commitment, or not, to environmental and social issues is fraught with landmines. And, if advisors have not done their homework, they could be left flat footed as they genuinely do not know which companies are worthy of ESG investing.

So, how can advisors avoid the potential pitfalls of discussing ESG with clients? Like so many life conversations, such a discussion flows best when each contributor to the exchange understands their inherent behavior. (Again, with tech and data informing both the advisor and client perspectives and their “take” on each other.)

Communication style

An advisor whose style is to converse with authority and who has a strong drive to reach goals and deliver results, may suggest investment opportunities in industries compliant with ESG, where returns are likely to be significant…but they also may fail to “hear” their client.

A colleague recently shared the story of an interaction he had with a former advisor: When the colleague-client noted to his advisor that he did not want to invest in certain types of companies (decidedly not ESG ones and which differed from his core values), the advisor responded, “Well, I guess you are not interested in returns.”

Not only is that untrue of most ESG investments, that kind of response shuts down communication, damages the relationship and likely negatively affects success for both advisor and client. Having tech- and data-driven behavioral insights in hand could have changed the trajectory of things for both client and advisor.

On the flip, a client who is reflective and needs time to research and consider options and who would prefer to invest in a low-return investment but with a business who has a greater commitment to ESG, could feel pressured and withdraw from the conversation. So, again, understanding a client’s innate approach and reactions to stress and money decisions, as well as how they best communicate and are communicated to, could have brought alignment, understanding and, most importantly, productive communication to this scenario.

The time for ESG is now

With “behaviorally smart” tech and data integrated into their other systems, an advisor can, at the touch of a button, have real time information in front of them to understand client behavior, bias, and decision-making and communication style. This enables a higher level of advisor-client compatibility – and that’s the road to success.

Likewise, behavioral data gathering tools deliver practical insights so advisors can understand which clients they have significant behavioral differences with. It also would offer insights into how best to manage the differences. Ex: How and when do I communicate with this client to maximize outcomes for all parties involved?

In all communication exchanges, adapting behavior to relate to another person requires concentrating more on a level of self-awareness. There is no doubt ESG investing is delivering a huge shift in emphasis to financial markets and curious investors.

In a more reflective, post-pandemic world, more investors are looking to be part of global environmental and social solutions, working when they can with organizations that get things right on governance. These investors expect their advisors to be on top of their game in terms of understanding what they the client are trying to achieve. Knowing how to have the corresponding dialogue with them on ESG issues creates a win-win.

Financial services businesses that invest in tech stack solutions that provide tools to support ESG investing will be significantly more successful than their competitors. Not only will they be known for the proactive, positive impact they are having on society, they will undoubtedly enhance their organization’s long-term financial value and build client wealth in line with client wishes and, by nature, the greater good.

Regenerating Life Purpose Through Health and Recreation

– First Published on Nasdaq –

Those who know me know that I am goal driven and that I take the initiative and accept challenges, yet think matters through. Above all else, they know I can usually ask the tough questions – perhaps those others are only thinking.

Further, my friends see how I can sacrifice a balanced life and can be overly dynamic. Trust me, I’m like a dog with a bone when something troubles me; I can’t let it go.

This season of lock down and isolation has really caused me – like so many others – to question the purpose in my life. We need to understand and believe that life is meaningful and goal directed, and this forced respite is an optimal time to reflect on such.

For the first few weeks of isolation, I focused on “catching up.” Doing the many jobs I’d let slide. Getting back to finishing writing my book. But when catch up was complete – what next?

Back to crucial basics

Like so many others, I wanted to know that my life made sense. Then it came to me through my son. A greater sense of purpose and meaning in life is also associated with better physical and mental health activity. So, I decided to get both of us onto the golf course.

This healthy recreational activity renewed my daily purpose (yes, I still had companies to run), but teaching him to play became a buffer against stress. It mellowed me when having to face business challenges and showed the way to the importance and linkage between life purpose and healthy recreation.

After all, none other than Ralph Waldo Emerson reminded us that, “the first wealth is health.”

As a driven and competitive individual, other things became secondary to helping my young son learn the art of golf. I could feel balance restored in my life. I began to understand the importance of approaching health and recreation not from that of a competitor, but from the incredible sense of well-being I achieved simply by putting a golf ball.

Finding a ‘regeneration moment’

This renewed approach to creating a healthier life increased my personal sense of life purpose. It drove me to encourage my work colleagues to focus on health and recreation knowing that it would change all our lives for the better.

It’s been so interesting to sit back and listen to my team as they discuss business and strategies and I realize how much richer the conversations are, how motivated they are (even after nearly a year of not being in the same room) and the increase of energy and passion.

Sports may have been how I expressed myself and restored life purpose. But maybe your life purpose “regeneration moment” could be writing, painting, playing music, meditation, cooking, walking or…? It’s important to know a) that health and recreation requires investment, b) a sense of purpose often develops from having meaningful connections to others, and c) your mental health needs an outlet.

Influencing and shaping

One of my team members who is a prolific reader has joined a book club. They meet (social distancing observed) and discuss a common book they are reading as well as a book on a subject matter they are passionate about.

She was telling me how stimulating it was to discuss the latest novel the group was reading – and how she really came to life talking about her passion, which is understanding behaviors. From my perspective, her confidence has increased (on our weekly Zoom calls), her contribution has been amplified (she’s naturally reserved), and she has a renewed focus on the importance of paying attention to health and recreation and how this could influence behavior and shape life goals.

So, here’s my question: How is your life purpose? Could investing more time into your health and recreation guide and inform better life decisions and provide an increased sense of direction and increase your wealth? It’s a conversation worth having. With yourself and with others.

In the meantime, see you on the golf course!