“Usually it’s the husband who gives orders and manages the money, but I don’t like that. In our family, my husband earns money, and I manage it.”
Aung is a farmer in the Shan state, where she’s lived her whole life and where her parents farmed the same land she now tends with her own family. She is the mother of four sons and a daughter. Her husband works for a Japanese NGO educating farmers in the region in organic practices. She primarily grows rice and corn, her cash crops, and, in slow periods of the year, she grows vegetables to sell to the markets and local hotels. She also grows seedlings, which she sells to the Japanese NGO for which her husband works. Aung’s formal education ended in eighth grade when she was 21 years old. She values education above all, and she deeply regrets that her education didn’t advance further. She feels unqualified to understand or access formal services and attributes the difficulty to her limited education. She dreams that her children will receive a strong education so that they can have better jobs and lives than hers.
Despite Aung’s minimal use of formal financial services, how has she managed to grow her family’s wealth and further her children’s education?
by the numbers
Like Aung, Cautious Individualists are typically rural, middle-aged, poorly educated women with a slightly higher socioeconomic (SES) rank. Approximately 6.3 million people (16% of the Burmese population)
fall in this segment.
SOCIOECONOMIC (SES 3-5)
HIGH INCOME VOLATILITY
Though Cautious Individualists are slightly more likely to have higher socioeconomic status (SES), they experience somewhat greater income volatility and are frequently disempowered in their
households’ financial management.
Financial Behavior & Attitudes
SAVINGS BEHAVIOR & ATTITUDES
They save infrequently compared to other segments and when they do so, are often not
very deliberate with how they save.
When confronted with different savings approaches, they often rely on informal group channels but rarely use mobile wallets.
BORROWING BEHAVIOR & ATTITUDES
They borrow infrequently, taking a reserved view of their dependability, viewing financial services as complex, and showing little trust in banks.
As with their savings behavior, more Cautious Individualists borrow with informal groups than from any other channel. Like virtually everyone in Myanmar, they do not own or borrow with mobile money wallets.