Roundtable Meeting: new ideas & new members

by Jared Penner
Posted on May 02, 2019

The Community Hub is always aiming to create more impact: we want to assist Europeans in making better financials decisions and improving their overall financial health. We organized a Roundtable, together with TFI contributors of the first hour, to discuss new activities so we can increase the impact of TFI.

First, TFI wants to thank all participants for their active contribution at the Roundtable, hosted at the Amazon Web Service offices in Amsterdam on April 26th. This event assembled a wide range of TFI contributors to discuss relevant topics on financial well-being. Together, we conceptualized practical actions and collaborative activities that will increase the outreach and impact of the Think Forward Initiative.

Ideas that emerged from the Roundtable that were received most enthusiastically by the participants were:

  1. An accelerator programme for NGOs: Just as TFI has set up an accelerator for financial health start-ups, this would fuel NGOs with the latest insights from consumer behavior research and provide them with practical ways in which they could enhance their programming.
  2. Clear definition and set of measurement systems to monitor and evaluate the financial health of Europeans: This would provide clarity on terminology and enable governments to measure the financial health of their citizens and the effectiveness of initiatives.
  3. A periodical, financial health check-up for individuals: This would be comparable to standard health check-ups or automobile tune-ups that many communities already have in place, allowing for a diagnosis of the problem and the prescription of an appropriate treatment.

To begin the Roundtable with a clear understanding of the main components and measurement indicators of financial health, Matthew Soursourian, Financial Sector Analyst at the Consulting Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), presented participants with an overview of the topic. He highlighted the evolution of the concept of financial health, showing how it has incorporated elements of financial literacy, behavioural economics, financial capability and financial inclusion. He then showed how some leading authorities are measuring financial health by examining savings, financial resilience, money management, planning ahead, usage of financial services and personal feelings.

This provided the foundation for a lively plenary discussion on the priorities and consumer pain points related to the financial health of Europeans. Jared Penner, Education Consultant and TFI Community Member, introduced the TFI personas and invited participants to share their perspective on the important financial issues facing the communities that they serve. These included: investment anxiety, rising housing costs, lack of financial security (now and in the future), fluctuating income, disillusionment with “cheaper” consumerism and the inability to recognize and evaluate financial risks. Participants continued their plenary discussion, debating various success factors and challenges involved with financial health interventions at both the macro and the micro level. This included consumer transparency, appropriate contextualization, nudging and positive default settings.

After breaking for lunch, Laura Straeter, TFI Senior Research Professional, provided an update on the latest projects and insights emerging from the TFI Research Hub. These included the power of social norm nudging in boosting saving behaviour and the effects of longevity in financial vulnerability. Joep Arends, TFI Accelerator Hub Lead, then presented the structure of the TFI Accelerator Hub and the latest start-ups working on financial health solutions to go through the TFI Growth Track.

Being fed with these diverse latest perspectives and developments in financial health, the participants were grouped together to conceptualize collaborative activities. The participants came up with activities that are useful for specific sectors represented in the TFI Community and that deepen the impact of TFI as a whole. This session focussed specifically on activities that would best meet the needs of government authorities, non-government organizations and industry platforms.

Each group listed as many ideas for their sector as possible and then rotated to the other groups to complement the ideas already listed. After this rotation, the original groups picked the two most promising ideas to further develop the details. Elevator pitches of the best ideas followed, and a round of critical questions was followed up by a voting round of the most favoured ideas. The TFI Community Hub is committed to getting at least two of these ideas off the ground and invites any interested TFI community members to assist in their realization. The Roundtable concluded with some well-deserved drinks in the Amazon Web Service reception area.

Do you also have brilliant ideas on how to spread financial health in Europe and want to contribute to the Think Forward Initiative? Please e-mail us at INFO@THINKFORWARDINITIATIVE.COM.