Money Trends for 2007 and Beyond

Greg Balanko-Dickson has challenged me to work on the financial section of the Trends Map. Greg, I accept your challenge.

So what’s this all about?

A couple of days ago I published a link to a very interesting Trends Map by some futurist forecasting folks. I added my comments about the financial section of that map.

Greg then came along and offered his own comments and suggested he would try to have a go at revising the Map. He asked if I would do the financial section of the Trends Map. I took him up on the challenge.

After studying the map and trying my hand at it, I finally came to the realization that a different format was needed. My version of the financial trends is laid out here: Money Trends 2007 (PDF).

Several things are different in the approach I’ve taken.

First of all, I like to see trends laid out individually, with each topic its own page. A trend is easier to comprehend when you have less information on a page. Besides, people tend to analyze one particular topic at a time, not everything all at once. So it also makes sense to look just at the trends for one topic at a time, and not try to digest them all at once.

Second, I think of trends on a time continuum. Trends — the major trends that are covered in a document like this — take hold and grow over time. And typically one behavior or trend is declining while another is growing, and so it’s important to see both happening at the same time. That’s why I presented the money trends along a time continuum, starting in 2007.

Third, the time horizon needs to be lengthened. When we are looking at trends of this magnitude, it takes years –sometimes decades — for trends to fully unfold and evolve. So, rather than looking just at 2007, I’ve looked ahead 20 years or more.

Finally, I called this document Money Trends, because that’s really what it is about: money. I have not tried to cover all aspects of all financial trends — that’s simply too big a topic.

Let me know what you think.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

6 Reactions
  1. Great job Anita, I do not understand some of the terminology, specifically, could help my small brain understand what Stored Value cards and Contactless payment systems are?

    I understand what you mean by keeping one page per type of chart and I am really curious to overlay my demographic trend chart in the background to see what may correlate.

    I will be in touch.

  2. I like this version better than the subway map version, but it still seems flawed to me.

    The subway map version drives me nuts because, though it’s pretty, it doesn’t give any indication of it’s own logic. Why do the bends occur where they do? On a subway it’s generally pretty obvious that geography rules the route. What force is causing these pipes to bend? And what does it mean, for example, when the “Medicine and Well Being” pipe crosses three times over the “River of Consciousness”? Inscrutable.

    Your version is cleaner and easier to grasp at first glance. However, there is still no sense of scale. The space (time?) between use of debit cards and PayPal is similar to the space/time between death of coins and death of paper bills. But how much time is that? Or is the scale something other than time? It’s probably not possible on a casual chart like this, but it’d be so nice to see the individual data points (or at least some sort of aggregated version) represented by a sparkline or something.

    Fun to think about though!

  3. Hi Greg,

    Yes, I spent so much time on the form of the trend map, that I did not focus on the substance.

    Stored value cards are essentially gift cards, prepaid phone cards, prepaid credit cards, and similar types of cards that you purchase. Stored value cards have a fixed value — some are replenish-able, but most are discarded after the value is used up. The significance of stored value cards is that they get us closer to electronic transactions, and away from using cash or checks.

    Contactless payment systems are simply credit cards or sometimes key fobs or other gizmos that have an embedded RFID (radio frequency identification) chip in them to record the payment. Several systems are on the market in the U.S.: Mobil SpeedPass, Mastercard PayPass, Blink credit card, and so on. With such systems you simply wave the card or key fob in front of the reader, or tap it on the reader, and the payment is transacted. The significance of contactless payment systems is that such systems speed up transactions. Again, it takes us closer to exclusively using electronic currency.

    In essence, it is the inexorable march toward 100% electronic transactions that someday (not this year, but way far in the future) we will get to.

    Again, I limited my trends map simply to money. I do not attempt to cover all aspects of finances, such as stock markets, commodities, banking systems, currency markets, etc. Those topics would require separate treatment.

    Besides, in reality, most small business owners are going to be interested in the money and payment systems, because it affects how they accept payment from their customers, how they invoice and pay for supplies and services, etc. Thoee changes are being seen and felt now, even though 100% shifts will not be complete for many years to come.


  4. Hi Bren,

    Yes, you’ve hit on a good point. Time scale is hard to show — even harder to predict.

    Add to that the fact that I used fairly imprecise tools to draw my map — it’s a Word document. Not the best tool for drawing graphs and maps, I know. It is hard to place things exactly where you want them. The only advantage to using Word is that it is quick and dirty.

    If I could predict better the future timing for some of these trends, then I agree a sparkline or similar concise chart would be very useful.


  5. Anita,
    I read this post earlier but could not become clear about EFT and stored value card. For the last few days, I read about Electronic Fund Transfer and Stored Value cards on the net. Now, I understand your map very clearly. You have done a great job Anita; THUMBS UP!!! You have focused a lot on Internet. In a country like USA, where hundreds and thousands of people are now using internet, it is natural that more and more business operations are going to be performed through internet by credit card, electronic fund transfer and other process.