Future currency

People’s definition of wealth is evolving.

WITHOUT sufficient funds in today’s money-orientated society, a person is severely handicapped in so many ways. So, most people choose to work hard for their cash.

But is money really that important? Does it really bring us that much happiness? Is money the post that most of us aspire towards, or is it merely a means to get where we want to be? How do we view money and relate to it?

These are all valid questions that DDB International Malaysia endeavoured to find answers to, in their latest report, Future Currency: Malaysians’ Money Stories.

This analysis of how Malaysians feel about money is based on thousands of “signs” collected by DDB Signbank sign-hunters, as well as interviews with people from all walks of life. It examines current and future consumer trends as well as “the emotional and physical significances in the context of finance”, says Wong Yee Thong, DDB International Malaysia’s brand planning director.

Here are some interesting revelations.

Money tomorrow

According to the report, people’s definition of wealth is evolving, for the better. The trend has been that we all work hard to get more money and try to keep it for as long as possible. But now, more and more people want their money to work for them instead.

The team identified five evolving stories about future currency:

  • Richness, not Rich focuses on the realisation that money will become more than a stepping-stone to the good life. People will begin to view it as a tool to broaden the mind and enrich the soul. People will want to acquire experiences that will give them more than just superficial returns. For example: 75% of those interviewed believe that enriching the self is more important than getting rich, whilst 58% would rather stay in boutique hotels than in typical five-star hotel chains.

  • Purpose, not Profit concerns people’s growing awareness of humanity and the need to give back to the community, be it money or time. Individuals and large corporations alike are trying to give back to society and change things for the better. According to the report, 67% of respondents would exchange all their birthday presents for donations to their favourite charity and 58% would choose to help build homes in a needy country rather than go to a beach resort for their vacation.

  • My Selectivity, not Mass Exclusivity is about not letting our lives be defined by luxury, be it expensive cars or posh holidays. Instead, people delight in their own definitions of luxury, which reflect their individuality. Tomorrow’s consumers will not abide by the “rules of richness” but instead, want to create their own. Most of the respondents (83%) believe that they define their own luxury, while 54% would consider putting their money on unconventional items as investment options.

  • In tomorrow’s world, a Transparency, not Transactional attitude will prevail, as people will become wiser about time. They will understand that there are more important things to do with their time than run around doing mundane chores – particularly if it concerns money. Fifty-five per cent would be willing to share their financial information if it means simplifying their lives, and another 57% would let a financial consultant handle their finances in favour of a simpler, responsibility-free lifestyle.

  • Time Rich, not Money Rich, is a reflection of shifting attitudes of Malaysians towards the significance of money. People are beginning to understand that time is precious. Trading money for time is no longer a feasible option: 51% would rather take an extra week-long holiday than get a monetary bonus for work, and 76% believe that time is more important than money.

  • The Star


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