The 24-hour news cycle has progressively led us to become desensitised to news, treating it as background noise. Our recent survey(1) corroborates this feeling as we discovered that only 20% of Brits consider ‘keeping up-to-date with the news’ as valuable entertainment.
Yet, our survey also showed that being attuned to current affairs could be closely linked to making wise financial decisions. According to our data, the best savers are also the ones who enjoy following the news.
Is following the news a generational issue?
Dubbed ‘Generation Ostrich’, Millennials have a head-in-the-sand attitude towards saving money for the long-term. They’re a self-confessed confused generation when it comes to their savings, with 55% admitting to being either clueless or disorganised.
Correlatively, keeping up with what’s happening in the world is the downfall of Gen O. Our survey showed that a staggering 90% of the 16-24 age group think following the news is not extremely valuable to them, almost three times more than the Baby-boomers generation.
But why is Gen O less likely to enjoy learning about current affairs? Growing up with access to a wide variety of entertainment sources, watching the news is just not their go-to activity. According to our survey, travelling, reading, learning a new skill and making art are what they like to spend their time and money on.
According to financial adviser Pete Leslie, it’s not entirely Gen O’s fault. Understanding the news – especially financial news – can sometimes be confusing, as “everything gets wrapped up and thrown at you.” But the good news is, “what matters are big trends”, he explains, “not short term fluctuations.”
Here are some ideas about how you can go about spotting big trends and developing your sense of saving!
Spotting big trends
1. Follow financial influencers on social media
If you’re time poor, following financial influencers on social media - such as Twitter - will help you apprehend the financial world in 140 characters or less.
Here’s five Twitter influencers you don’t want to miss:
@GCGodfrey: Gemma Godfrey, CEO of UK fintech (financial tech) firm Moola
@davidbrear: David Brear, writer and banking and fintech adviser
@Chris_Skinner: Chris Skinner, writer and independent commentator on the financial markets
@eileentso: Eileen Burbidge, partner at investment firm Passion Capital
@PeacheyK: Kevin Peachey, personal finance and consumer affairs reporter at BBC News
2. Get your hands on financial apps
The financial tech (fintech) industry is thriving, from money transfers, investment portfolios to financial decision-making tools. Thanks to the ability of new technology to process data, you can now invest directly from your mobile.
Here are 10 mobile apps that could either help you manage your finances or help you decide where to invest.
Money transfer abroad
Manage your savings
TD direct investing
Real-time stock tracker
3. Keep an eye on crowdfunding platforms
Do you want to invest in the next big thing? Keep an eye out for new projects on crowdfunding and peer-to-peer investment platforms. Many successful entrepreneurs such as the Oculus Rift (virtual reality headset) founder Palmer Luckey, or Eric Migicovsky Pebble Smartwatch (fitness tracking) founder, were able to get their start-ups off the ground through crowdfunding.
4. Follow the property market
If you’re thinking about investing in property, try keeping up to date with where the up and coming areas are. For example, where new homes or apartments are being built or where the city you live in is planning on extending the public transportation to. According to a research by real estate agency Savills, houses in postcode where a high-end supermarket has opened in the past five years could be 25% more expensive than the rest of the country(2).
5. Invest in yourself
If knowledge is power, why not invest in your own? You’ll find an array of finance courses on the internet from one-day workshops to 4-year courses.
(1) An exclusive survey of 5007 British respondents conducted by Future Foundations for Aviva
(2) According to a 2013 research conducted by real estate services provider Savills