Had a great discussion with Ramon Nuez last night, and data came up. Hot topic of late, Big Data, Small Data, even Better Data. So what do you know about your personal data. Do you know what ad networks are collecting behavioral data on you to serve personalized ads? When’s the last time you downloaded your info from the two services that presumably have most of your data, Facebook and Google?
Why bring it up?
Well, one of the other things Ramon and I discussed was financial education. In our common experience growing up in Latino households and in the American education system, there wasn’t (isn’t) a lot of focus on wealth management or how almost any amount of money properly managed is better than any larger amount of money mismanaged. Add to that Ramon’s point of how many college students leave school as well trained debt consumers (apply for this credit card now and we’ll give you a free T-shirt!). Is it really that shocking that so many people took on mortgages that they could never have afforded?
I see data as the new money. Our personal data stores in whatever form they take in the future will provide us access to goods and services that cash alone won’t buy. It already happens; give me your friend list and I will give you this virtual tree and a virtual hula hoop for your virtual island on Facebook or give me access to everywhere you and your phone go and I will give you this app. Right now we routinely give away our data in exchange for (trivial) stuff. Are we going to wake up in 5 years and realize this is the equivalent of signing up for 10 credit cards and maxing them out because someone offered us a free t-shirt?
If we’ve learned the hard way that a lack of financial education leads to a lack of personal discipline leads to financial crisis, why not start our data education today?