The Taiwan Banker

The Taiwan Banker

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Editor in Chief, The Taiwan Banker
Hank Huang (黃崇哲)
Know Thy Financial Self 2020.02 The Taiwan Banker NO.122

It has been a momentous Year of the Pig. The trade war which started in the spring turned out to be good for Taiwan, as global supply chains were restructured and the government reacted reasonably to boost the economy. The large capital repatriation brought Taiwan’s closed stock market to a record high, and returned the country to its place as one of Asia’s four tigers.

Looking forward to the Year of the Rat, as Taiwan’s election fervor has abated, a rough industry development path for the next 4 years has become clear. The trade war has subsided somewhat, increasing our expectations for a good upcoming year. But how can the general public ensure that growth for the country as a whole also applies to their own personal finances?

It is more important than ever to not only follow the news, but also to have a basic level of financial literacy. In developed economies, financial education is often incorporated into formal education starting in childhood. Unfortunately, financial education remains very much a work progress here in Taiwan. Many students (and even adults) can solve complex mathematical equations, but lack essential financial knowledge needed for success in life. TABF’s resolution in 2020 is to solve this problem, allowing all of Taiwan to enjoy financial security.

In particular, many people have found themselves unable to capitalize even as Taiwan’s markets now reach new highs. One of the main reasons for that is that they have never thought deeply about using money or planning their purchases. Without sufficient understanding of their financial strengths and weaknesses, they fall into trouble with spending or worse, debt.

In order to implement its objective, TABF has developed an online tool to help people understand their financial personality. Using 36 simple questions, this online test helps people understand their price sensitivity, financial planning, moderation and discipline, savings, labor, and financial awareness to analyze their habits related to money and put themselves into one of six animal categories, as follows, allowing them to optimize their financial planning.

1. Cat: price sensitive, used to comparing prices, risk-seeking in financial management, but may lose money due to prioritizing prices over value.

2. Taiwan magpie: deeply considers saving and spending, but become anxious and neglects implementation due to over-planning.

3. Ant: is disciplined about consumption, with strong savings and sustainability habits, but sometimes lacks flexibility and fails to make necessary purchases.

4. Rat: Likes saving, and even enjoys the feeling, and strictly controls expenditures, but may neglect long-term personal growth and investment.

5. Bee: an activist. Although they like to live comfortably, they try their best to earn money through part-time work and a DIY/open source mentality. With weak awareness of financial planning, however, they may be prone to over-scheduling.

6. Owl: reasonable consumption habits and a good sense of holistic risk management, but they may resist spending and invest too conservatively.

In the 6th century BC, the words “know thyself” (γνθι σεαυτόν) were engraved at the entrance to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, the center of Greek faith. Indeed, only by facing up to one’s own personality can one discover one’s potential, change one’s behavior, and grow. This is true for countries, and even more so for individuals.