American Express has sponsored an interesting documentary which takes a look at a large group of people in this country which don’t or can’t (for a myriad of reasons) use mainstream banking institutions to manage their personal finances. A new label is floating around, “financially under-served”.
I’ll admit, when I first learned about Spent: Looking for Change – a film about personal finances sponsored by a credit card company – I was skeptical. However, I do appreciate whoever decides to shine a light on a problem that impacts 1 in 4 households in this country. As the film illustrates, there is a poverty profit sector of business that takes advantage of the less educated, those in financial distress, or those who just refuse to do better. Again, there are a myriad of reasons people find themselves in the cycle of using payday loans, rapid refund, or pawn shops. From the movie, I have had to adjust my understanding of the types of people who use these services on a regular basis.
I hesitate to lay all blame on the individual or on the poverty profit businesses for seizing an opportunity. It seems more useful to find solutions. How can 70 million financially under-served Americans be helped or help themselves out of these vicious cycles? Should we even try to work up to a solution for an instant gratification society who has options and may just choose not to employ the better options at hand? I’m asking provocative questions because I’m generally interested and want to hear from you. Please watch the video and let’s continue the great conversation that started on our Facebook page below.
Here are two very good commentaries on the topic of the film.