Providers are predominantly older men who are mostly in farming or employed. They are conservative heads of the household who save frequently but have low trust in banks. They are not natural risk-takers unless driven by their circumstances and seek out conversations with peers in person and on the phone.
up to tertiary
have access to land
Who are they?
“I just want stability in my life. This means a better job, education for my children, and savings if there are funds left over.”
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS (SES)
Providers are relatively low-SES and poorly educated. Their chief income source is farming, followed by full-time employment. Two-thirds of Providers are male.
71% of Providers report making the household decisions themselves which is the highest across all segments. Only 8% report relying on a spouse for decisions about how money is spent, which is considerably lower than the India average. Amongst the 15% who report that “other people” make their financial decisions, it is likely that many of them will be friends as Providers primarily trust their friends as sources of information.
HOUSEHOLD DECISION MAKING
What do they want?
Providers aspire to preserve and maintain their role as the family provider and key authority figure. As heads of the household, they have always been in charge of their family’s needs, such as school fees and daily expenses. They would like to stabilize their incomes and have steady jobs that give them assurances they will meet their family’s needs and expenses every month. They also aspire to grow their savings with saving schemes.
How do they manage their finances?
“I could have taken a loan, but I didn’t know how to.”
Providers’ overall financial health is less than the average for India. Providers experience significant income volatility, above the national average, which contributes to their struggle to meet daily household needs and larger expenses such as school fees.
SAVINGS WITH FAMILY OR AT HOME
Providers are close to the average in saving and setting aside money for safekeeping at home with their family, with 25% of Providers saving in this manner at least once a month.
Providers are average users of technology. They have average smartphone ownership and tend not to use digital technologies and social media, partly driven by their traditional behaviors.
However, despite being the oldest of the segment, Providers have the highest access to feature phones across the segments. They are heavy feature phone users with 36% making and receiving calls over 5 times a day — considerably higher than other segments. They tend to use their phones primarily to connect within their friend network. Their high use of basic phones in contrast to their low rates of smartphone access suggests that issues such as access and affording network credit may drive low usage.
TECH USE FREQUENCY
How do they think?
"I have never taken a risky investment."
Providers have low self-esteem. More than half (52%) of Providers have low to the lowest level of self-belief and a pessimistic outlook. This is partly because they feel saddled with obligations to provide for their family, both for household expenses and larger expenses such as school fees. As Providers have a traditional, conservative outlook to life with a strong respect for hierarchy, they feel compelled to take on the burden of the responsibility of their family on themselves, which may further contribute to their low self-esteem. In addition, in an emergency, they predominantly rely on their own personal resources rather than seek help from others, which adds to their experienced burden.
Providers’ low self-esteem, combined with their high external locus of control (perception of low control over their ability to change and create success in their lives) is a risk factor for Providers in difficult times. 53% of Providers perceive a lack of agency and inability to change their circumstances, which further propels them into a vulnerable position.
LOCUS OF CONTROL
Providers are close to the average in their goal-orientation, dependability and discipline, with 43% scoring high on dependability. Providers save frequently in formal finance (33% of Providers save with their bank account at least once), but less than the India average in informal finance channels. While cautious savers, Providers are less likely to plan extensively and maintain records as a result of their lower levels of conscientiousness. This can be problematic given they face the burden of large expenses such as school fees every month. Providers would benefit from cultivating skills and tools to build their expense management skills and protect them in times of difficulty.
Providers both trust and actively turn to family for financial information, although less than the national average with only 38% of Providers relying on family compared to the average of 50%. This reflects their status as heads of household who take the majority of the financial decisions and therefore, turn less to other family members for guidance. However, compared to the average, they turn to their friends for information with 27% of Providers relying on friends, compared to 20% of the national average.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Providers are less central in their social networks than other segments, but are not socially isolated within their communities, with 36% reporting that they are the first to hear important news in their community compared to the national average of 46%.
Providers are somewhat reliant on having others (e.g. family, friends) with them to review financial information, with 29% requiring high reliance on others for guidance, compared to the average of 23%. Despite experience with formal finance, they are in need of assistance around saving schemes and loan options.
How might we create simple products and services
that integrate step-by-step financial education?
How might we create products and services that
integrate goal-based mechanisms and allow individuals
to save towards specific needs such as children’s education?
“I just want stability in my life. This means
a better job, education for my children,
and savings if there are funds left over.”
Suman is the father of three daughters (ages 5-10), living in Muzaffarpur. He used to work as a supervisor at a local hardware store, but recently lost his job due to an argument with the store owner. Suman does not earn a regular salary and feels the burden of supporting his entire family. Suman studied till 12th standard, but left school to get married. As newlyweds, Suman and his wife struggled financially. Suman’s main motivation is to provide for his family. As the sole provider of the household, Suman has to support all his family’s expenses, with a major burden being his three daughters’ monthly school fees.
Formal channels need to help
build goal-based saving habits
Despite saving in a bank frequently, Suman regularly fails to make ends meet at the end of the month. As the household expenses and children’s school fees mount, Suman needs guidance in goal-based saving and how to build his saving habits in a way that it allows him to feel in control.
Suman would benefit from a saving scheme with a mechanism that allows for easy tracking and review of account activity, to give him agency and confidence to finance his three daughters’ education.
Formal finance channels need
to build financial literacy
Suman wishes to avail of loans from banks but does not know where to turn. Due to his low financial literacy, he frequently takes loans from informal money lenders with high interests. Suman would like financial education and advice, but feels he can only rely on his small group of friends, due to mistrust of private banks and institutions.
Formal financial services should integrate personalised financial education initiatives that help break down the complexity of financial services into easy-to-understand steps with clear terms.