Maintain the Rage
TTM Stage - Maintenance
Having invested time and effort with clients new to regular savings, investment and prudent financial management you would think it was time to move onto the next in the queue; it is never that easy and obvious. Given human nature, personal and society-wide random and discordant change, new behaviors are prone to enormous pressures that can trigger relapse.
Adopting a new behavior doesn't necessarily mean the individual can maintain it. The onus is on you and shared systems to help keep the individual on-track.
The very same processes you employed in the Action stage where the client fully committed to affirmative financial behavior still apply during this stage.
Providing help takes on more of a preemptive pastoral care aspect. It means making it clear all doors are open after you have a client on-board and invested. Smart money apps like DOSHI integrate instant messaging facilities that include options for Groups as part of their client support function; make use of this and similar technologies to reach out and help keep your clients on track.
More than ever, being able to identify earlier divergence from positive patterns of activity compared to the mean is vital. Having access to a shared view of transactional finances even in summary form is a helpful early warning tool for advisers, enabling them to step in as needed. Under-performance should trigger notifications to both adviser and client.
If you have the facility to be forewarned of a client(s) tendency to stray off-course you may be forearmed and better able to respond.
It's feasible that prediction features of apps can yield the probability of individuals persisting with the target behaviour including maintaining positive cash-flow, seeking advice and improving financial literacy. This kind of utility is at the heart of DOSHI. You will know who is more likely to stay the course, seek help or struggle and give up.
A prediction mechanism should work hand-in-hand with a reminder system based on behavioral cues such as SMS messages reinforcing positive behavior and exalting the benefits of credit card repayment and savings opportunities.
Stimulus control and counter-conditioning
The mechanisms you have in place throughout the Action stage simply need to persist for up to 12 months to help the client help themselves in the Maintenance stage.
Certainly, it needs to be made clear that by persisting with a financially positive behavior the individual can help avoid the pain of financial loss and avert the fear of continuing a downward spiral.
Clients in a Maintenance Stage need to have a social network of similar others, working in conjunction with positive social learning dynamics, recognition and co-operation. I'm surprised for instance nobody has created a Personal Finance version of stackoverflow.com where like-minded peers who have discovered how to solve financial management and planning problems can share their knowledge and views.
Invested effort and value
Being able to share with the client their journey from their original baseline in terms of financial competency and results helps reinforce with them the value of their invested effort in terms of key outcomes; nett worth and self-worth.
An app such as DOSHI makes use of a virtual currency system that enables the client to be rewarded for both short and long term persistence with positive financial behavior and their outcomes. This virtual currency, able to be transformed into real world gain has its own stored value to reflect the invested effort of the client in making and sustaining change.
Taking the temperature
The ability of apps to keep the client and adviser informed of cash-flow trends and manage a cascade of suitable, tailored reminder and support messages may make a positive contribution to maintaining constructive financial behavior.
It still leaves the question
how do we know if we have changed the proclivity of the client toward savings becoming part of their identity?
Really, you can measure outcomes simply enough by way of financial records but to delve into their personal orientation toward savings it will require an evidence-based tool to return clear, dispassionate values. More on this next article.
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