Overcoming Barriers to Financial Inclusion
MetLife Foundation has funded a two-year initiative to help advance the financial services industry’s ability to reach unserved and underserved populations. In partnership with The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI), the Institute of International Finance (IIF), together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a technical partner, this project, titled ‘Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion: Best Practices,’ will facilitate learning and action on how financial institutions can respond to the specific challenges of reaching lower income market segments.
Through research, knowledge exchange, best practices, real world examples and expert insights, the project will identify and transmit practical guidance that financial institutions can use to expand quality services to the poor. This builds on their previous joint-study titled “The Business of Financial Inclusion: Insights from Banks in Emerging Markets.”
Inclusion Plus Wraps in Ireland; China and India Up Next
In September this year, MetLife Foundation launched the first of many Inclusion Plus challenges in Ireland, bringing together top social entrepreneurs innovating to advance financial health in their communities. MetLife Ireland associates rose to the occasion as well, with more than 20% of associates in Ireland volunteering as judges or mentors to the entrepreneurs. Click here to see a recap of how MetLife Foundation and MetLife Ireland contributed to Ireland’s vibrant entrepreneurial scene.
From Ireland, Inclusion Plus moves to China and India, where MetLife Foundation has seen record breaking numbers of entrepreneurs apply in addition to MetLife associates leveraging their business skills for social impact. Final awards are scheduled for January in Shanghai and April in Mumbai.
Financial Wellness Dos and Don’ts for 2017
The time is upon us to set goals for the year ahead. In order to help people incorporate financially healthy behavior into their 2017 plan, MetLife Foundation, in collaboration with its partners Ideas 42 and Common Cents Lab, has compiled a Top 5 list of actions individuals can take to increase personal financial wellness:
1. Goals and Commitments: Make commitments to yourself that are all or nothing. For example: I will always bring my lunch (saves about $2,000 a year) and never buy it out. Research shows that when you make a commitment like this, you stick with it 90% of the time.
2. Automatic Savings: Set up automatic transfers to savings on pay day, or shortly thereafter.
3. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Keep a liquid savings account alongside a checking account for emergencies, but open another savings account at a separate bank to create psychological distance. This will help keep you from spending those funds.
4. Cash Flow Default: Time your automatic bill payments with your income - this helps ensure you're paying on time, makes it easier to budget throughout the month, and may be psychologically more satisfying.
5. Schedule A Moment: Set up time to sit down with a spouse, friend or family member to jointly review financial goals, track progress, etc. Make it fun! Grab snacks or a drink while you're at it.
MLF Receives Award for Veterans Financial Inclusion
On November 2nd, MetLife Foundation received recognition for its work with VeteransPlus to develop an app that helps enlisted service people and veterans manage their finances. The award was granted during the MVET event at 1095 and featured the Superintendent of West Point, General Robert Caslen. The app has been available for six months and is currently being used by 25,000 Veterans Plus members. The award, titled the “Foundations In Support of Heroes” (F.I.S.H) Award, takes its inspiration from the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. This adage reflects the VeteransPlus mission to provide a lifetime of financial wellness and MetLife Foundation’s focus on the successful reintegration of our nations Heroes through financial inclusion and opportunity.