Financial Wellness and RecoveryNadeem Shaikh: There is a widely recognised mental health crisis in western countries. It affects different groups of people in different ways but one of the more disturbing aspects of the current crisis is its impact on young people. Girls under the age of 18 are suffering something like an epidemic of self-harming behaviours from anorexia to addictive cutting. Boys see high levels of ADHD and violent behaviour. In the next age group up, 18-25, the problems are compounded by the movement from child to adult services and the need to develop some kind of financial independence. The traditional approach of enlightened financial services, based on inclusion, does not really have the answers to this ever growing problem.
Mind, the mental health charity, captures the problem in a simple graphic:
For the Fintech industry helping to address this crisis should be the defining challenge of our generation. Because we have the tools that can help. We have those tools if we can make a paradigm shift to understand the totality of the role of the financial wellbeing plays in the lives of people with mental illness and indeed, without mental illness. That is the essence of the Financial Wellness approach.
There are three levels on which taking the Financial Wellbeing approach to the development and delivery of Financial Services can assist in the process of recovery:
There are many Fintech start-ups that are focussed on looking at their clients holistically and trying to devise apps and services that meet all their needs. That can mean things that are as simple as designing secure applications that are simple and intuitive to use, that provide one stop services and that allow for and can manage mistakes. Accessibility of services is about taking the stress out of managing your resources so that you can get the most out of them. It is about human centric design that allows for mistakes and redos. It is about working with those in recovery to design the products that they want and need.
Managing of our finances through technology needs education and engagement. In that critical 18-25 age group the financial services industry can do much more to engage the neuro-diverse community to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to feel and be more independent. That might mean reaching into schools with programmes targeting specifically at the neuro-diverse. It should mean working with government to ensure that national curriculum is up to date in terms of the Fintech training needs of vulnerable young people.
Empowerment is a crucial element in recovery. There needs to be a financial wellness partnership between the industry and the NHS in the UK and other services in other countries, that can provide the combination of technology, innovation and training that people in recovery need. It has to begin before in-patients become out patients, it has to begin before a young person leaves home and potentially drops off the radar.
In short, financial wellness for good mental health is not an add on or luxury that we consider an act of charity. It is central to the recovery process and it should be the source of inspiration and motivation for Fintech innovators.
Nadeem Shaikh is a financial futurologist who is mapping the next fifty years of financial services and technology. He is a passionate about the need for brining Financial Wellness in the heart of the debate about the future of finance.
Nadeem is a corporate executive-turned-entrepreneur-turned campaigner with over 20 years of experience in the financial services and information technology sectors. He has held a number of strategic, senior roles in a wide range of businesses.
At First Data Corporation (2005-2010), a global technology and payments processing leader, he served as the Head of Financial Institutions, International overseeing businesses in over 50 international markets and previously as the President for First Data’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division.
From 1989-2004, he held various senior management positions at American Management Systems.
He was a founder and managing director at Anthemis Group (2010-18). Anthemis Group is a dynamic growth company focused on re-inventing financial services through technology for the 21st century. The company advises, transforms and invests in businesses that are building better ways to design, produce, consume and distribute financial services in the information economy.
Nadeem graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University of New York at Albany and holds a MBA from London Business School.
Specialties: Financial Services, International Management Experience, Information Technology, Outsourcing, Strategic Management and IT Consulting, Joint Ventures, Transaction Processing, Venture Capital, Global Sales, New Ventures, New Business Strategy, New Market Development, Product Development, Mergers and Acquisitions, Payments, Credit Cards, Trade Services, Systems Integration, Large Scale Program Management, Change Management, Multi-Cultural Teams, Virtual Teams, Business Turnaround