Many shy away from investments in financial products as they consider them to be too time-consuming and complex. People lack confidence in their own abilities and are afraid of making mistakes – and this keeps them from investing their money. As a result, only one in five people in Germany is participating in capital markets by owning shares – despite the fact that the topic is becoming increasingly important. Rising life expectancy, growing healthcare costs, falling pensions: the gap between income and financial needs in old age is widening. This makes private provision even more necessary.
At TUM School of Management, we have recognized this social problem – and want to actively contribute to a solution. This is how the cooperation began between Max Bergmann, Moritz Nardini, and Emanuel Renkl, of the TUM Chair of Digital Finance, and the founders Sophie Thurner and Julia Kruslin, of the fintech startup beatvest.
Investing made easy
Many young people lack financial education – and beatvest’s goal is to change that. With their app, founders Sophie and Julia have created an investment platform that gives young people the opportunity to learn more about capital-market topics, make fact-based decisions, and invest for the long term with a diversified portfolio. The aim is to make financial knowledge accessible to a broad audience. To achieve this, beatvest deliberately reduces complexities and avoids financial jargon.
TUM School of Management student Larissa Klose, who wrote her master’s thesis in collaboration with beatvest, proves that the approach works. “When I first started researching and writing, I was exactly one of those people who had not yet invested,” she says. “That has changed since. So, I’m the best example of how you can gain knowledge and start investing through the app’s learning content.”
Motivation as a key to investing
But it’s not just financial literacy that keeps people from investing. In her master’s thesis, Larissa found out that motivation also plays a decisive role in whether and how consistently individuals put their money to work. She devoted herself to the question of how to help out the two beatvest founders with this finding.
First of all: people want to be part of something. Creating communities, for example, can make people feel like they belong and help them work together toward a common goal.
Another important motivator is the prospect of success. Therefore, focusing the app users’ intentions on future rewards is only logical. Recommended actions and efficiency-enhancing elements not only give them hope, but also make their goal more attainable. Testimonials in which successful investors share their stories can inspire others to follow their example.
People are motivated by “carrots and sticks.” That’s why recalling moments in which individuals experienced feelings of pleasure – such as fun, laughter, joy, and satisfaction – can have a positive impact on their investment intentions. In addition, gamification can increase the effectiveness of e-learning.
A successful collaboration
beatvest’s goal is to get more people – especially young people – excited about financial education and investing. Larissa’s master’s thesis provided tangible ideas for further optimizing the app’s content. Founders Sophie Thurner and Julia Kruslin draw a positive conclusion: “With the help of Larissa’s master’s thesis, we were able to adapt our content to specific user groups and thus increase user engagement and satisfaction.”
The collaboration was an overall success, as Emanuel Renkl, Ph.D. student at the TUM Chair of Digital Finance, confirms. “As researchers, we want to test solutions to social problems,” he says. “The cooperation with beatvest enables us to apply our research findings in practice and thus make a lasting impact.”