Financial Health Means More than Financial Inclusion
Press Release: Here’s a sobering data point for you, courtesy of the recent EMERGE conference in New Orleans: 138 million people in the United States are financially unhealthy. They are not exclusively from the lower-income brackets, either. In fact, one-third of households with income of $100,000 (or more) struggle to manage their financial lives. They may be over-indebted or underinsured. They may not be able to manage day-to-day expenses, respond to emergencies quickly, or take advantage of opportunities. And most of them do not have adequate savings or pensions for retirement.
There is, in short, a major issue in this country with financial health, one that cuts across income brackets, and that goes beyond the related issue of financial inclusion.
Financial inclusion is the term MetLife Foundation uses to describe our grant-making focus. We aim at ensuring that more of the world’s households and businesses have convenient access to a full suite of quality, affordable financial services, delivered by trustworthy providers who treat them with respect. And financial inclusion is in fact a big issue. Two billion people worldwide lack access to financial services of any kind. Billions more are forced to make do with financial products that are insufficient, overpriced, impractical, unsafe—or all of the above.