Made of Money has been working with people delivering financial wellbeing for over 15 years. So why do we do it?
To the best of our knowledge QSA’s Made of Money team was the first UK provider of financial capability support to recognise the importance of factors such as emotions and childhood influences in influencing each individual’s particular financial behaviour.
QSA’s reasoning and approach is that genuine financial capability requires much more than knowing how to budget, or being able to access a debt service. It requires individuals to understand their own financial behaviour and how this is created and influenced by factors unique to them – for example by family background and childhood experiences, emotional pressures, personal values and attitudes, and external factors such as advertising. As money is something of a taboo subject, people rarely engage with these issues or assess whether their financial habits serve them well.
Our theory of change is that by exploring these issues through fun and engaging sessions and resources, people become much more conscious of their own financial behaviour and how they can positively influence it. This provides the confidence and motivation to apply the practical money management skills they also learn in Made of Money programmes.
“I think this course has been life changing.”
This participant of a Made of Money programme came to all four sessions and had been very open about having had financial difficulties in the past, when she had been forced to stop working due to illness. She said that the best thing she learnt from the course was to “dedicate time to your finances”. After we talked about this in the second session, she made time to sit down and sort out her bills and paperwork, “just like I used to watch my Grandma do very week, but I never did it myself before. Some of the bills still need to be paid, but at least they’re in order!” She said she planned to keep doing this on a weekly/monthly basis.
Key to QSA’s distinctive approach has been our ability to use our unrestricted funding from individual supporters and unrestricted grant funders to independently research issues around financial capability, pilot different interventions and constantly evolve our approach through user-testing and co-design. This maintains our independence and flexibility in responding to need.
As one of the UK’s leading organisations in the field of financial capability, QSA’s made of Money team has worked with and on behalf of key funders and commissioners including Money and Pensions Service (MAPS), JP Morgan, Comic Relief and, most recently, Orbit Group housing association.
QSA’s direct delivery of financial capability support over the last 15 years has largely focussed on families and individuals living on low incomes. However we have also developed programmes for individuals with specific needs such as a lived experience of homelessness, those with addiction issues and people with mental health problems – working in close partnership with specialist organisations in these fields.