Who Benefits from Your Financial Activity?

I’m enrolled in an online Coursera / McMaster course called Finance for Everyone: Decisions. One of the requirements is posting about what we’re learning. 

We’re learning about different financial stakeholders, and the motivations behind the decisions they make.

We were asked what stakeholders we most and least identified with in our everyday lives. For example, I said I most identified with:

  • Employees
  • Borrowers
  • Community Citizens

And least identified with:

  • Bankers
  • Lenders
  • Employers

But then we were asked which stakeholders we supported most through our own financial activity (spending and saving). That’s an eye-opener. A lot of my own financial activity serves the interests of the stakeholders I least identify with. I don’t think that’s necessarily always a bad thing, but it’s something to consider.

What if you wanted to shift that alignment though? What if you wanted to change your spending and saving habits to support stakeholders who have more common interests with you? How much “financial mobility” do people actually have? For example, if you’re already stuck serving the interests of bankers (through debt) and your employer (through wages and job security), can you afford to pay higher prices to serve the interests of smaller businesses or to contribute to community causes?