Employers, Retailers and Financial Service Providers to ‘Make Wealth Common’
Submitted by MetLife Foundation
Decades of research points to the material, psychological and social value of wealth. Yet, building financial security is a persistent challenge for lower-income Americans who continue to become less wealthy, not more. In fact, more than 40 percent of people in the United States cannot cover an unexpected $400 emergency expense, according to the Federal Reserve.
Today, MetLife Foundation and Commonwealth announced a new project, Making Wealth Common: Extending Financial Opportunity for All, which aims to reverse this trend beginning with over 300,000 financially vulnerable Americans. The four-year initiative, implemented by Commonwealth with a $3.4 million grant from MetLife Foundation, will uncover and highlight new consumer insights, and pilot practices to enable wealth creation for millions of low-income individuals and families over time.
“Workers deserve a shot at the American dream, but it can be hard for people to turn aspirations into reality - or even to keep dreaming - with nothing in the bank,” said Timothy Flacke, Executive Director of Commonwealth. “Financial products and tools that exist today have traditionally focused on middle- to upper-income customers and are marketed and distributed in ways that don’t necessarily work for financially vulnerable people. We’re going to think outside the usual box of income, wealth and spending studies to find new avenues to help people turn their lives toward the future.”
Commonwealth will partner with employers, retailers and other organizations to identify ways to help financially vulnerable people start to accumulate wealth. Commonwealth will examine personal outcomes such as hope and self-efficacy, as well as business benefits like loyalty, productivity and retention. Using customer insights, Commonwealth will help shape tools for companies and organizations that can most effectively reach lower-income workers.
“Solutions that meet customer and employee needs while also producing value for the businesses and organizations that offer them will be the most successful,” Flacke said.
“We want to help bring about new ways to enable millions of financially vulnerable individuals and families to create slack in household budgets and plan for the future,” said Sarah Willis, Director at MetLife Foundation. “We support Commonwealth for its approach to working across sectors to drive scale and adoption of new and proven wealth-building strategies.”
The work will further Commonwealth’s role as a trusted broker with employers, retailers and others.
Commonwealth’s mission is to strengthen the financial opportunity and security of financially vulnerable people by discovering ideas, piloting solutions and driving innovations to scale. For nearly two decades, this mission-driven organization has designed effective innovations, products and policies enabling financial institutions, retailers and others to help over a half a million people accumulate more than $1 billion in savings. Commonwealth collaborates with consumers, the financial services industry, policy makers, employers and mission-driven organizations to deliver solutions that are aligned with business objectives, good corporate citizenship and are good for consumers. Additional information is available at buildcommonwealth.org.
About MetLife Foundation
At MetLife Foundation, we believe financial health belongs to everyone. We bring together bold solutions, deep financial expertise and meaningful grants to build financial health for people and communities that are underserved and aspire for more. We partner with organizations around the world to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, engaging MetLife employees to help drive impact. To date, our financial health work has reached more than 6 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit metlife.org.
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MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. MetLife and MetLife Foundation have invested more than $15 million for Alzheimer's research and public information programs, including $10 million through the Awards for Medical Research program. Working with the Alzheimer's Association, the Foundation has supported caregiving videos, resources for the Hispanic community and the Safe Return identification program, which addresses the problem of senior wandering. The Foundation has expanded its focus on aging issues, including helping people remain physically and mentally fit and remaining engaged in the community. It also supports programs addressing issues of caregiving, intergenerational activities and volunteer opportunities. Grants support health, education, and civic and cultural programs. More information about MetLife Foundation is available at www.metlife.org.
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