Byron Amores
Co-Founder
Habits.ai
/
Startup Contributor

Wellness and Finance Go Hand in Hand

By Byron Amores | Tue, 04/05/2022 - 11:00

In the last 150 years, there have been major economic crises worldwide, with a widespread impact on the majority of the population. In some cases, this impact is evidenced directly and in others indirectly. This means that for some it meant economic losses of assets that probably took years to build and for others it meant that the context was generating more gaps that distanced the possibility of accessing a better quality of life and financial stability.

Going from the macro to the micro, this means that we have a global crisis on average every 10 years, without considering local crises in countries or regions, sectoral crises, and individual crises.

Although there are several influential factors, today, the world is experiencing a crisis of distribution of wealth. Only 1 percent of the population accumulates 99 percent of the wealth and one in 10 people lives on less than US$1.90 a day. Given the current conditions and the gaps created, this situation seems like it could only get worse. Those who most need to know how to manage their resources have little knowledge, skills, and tools to manage them and most fall into a trap with no way out of endless debt.

This article has nothing to do with the fair or unfair reasons for this distribution. It is the starting point to understand that there is a serious problem whose solution can bring great collective benefits.

We are far from wanting to talk about stability or financial freedom when the problem is that there is no financial well-being for the vast majority of the population, which is also very vulnerable to the vicissitudes of recurring crises.

In light of this introduction, two questions arise: what is financial well-being and how can its non-existence in society be solved?

Although there are several relevant concepts, I am going to take as a reference some aspects as questions, which are indicators of financial well-being:

  • Do I have the ability to control my income and expenses?
  • Can I cover current expenses with the income I receive and eventually generate savings?
  • If I stop receiving the income I have, for how long can I maintain the quality of life that I lead a day, a week, a month?

Although many of the readers of this article likely have the answers to the previous questions resolved, it is worth mentioning that financial well-being can also affect people of high net worth and income.

The challenge is how to get the vast majority of people to a certain level of financial well-being. It is worth asking then, what tools can we count on and what role can technology play in this regard? What ecosystem is required so that this situation can change?

There is already a large industry in the market, between startups and companies, that is working in the financial sector and that is best known as fintech. The capacity and agility of these companies have been causing a real disruption whose impact is already beginning to be felt.

An example is the case of a new digital bank in Latin America whose origins date back to 2014 in Brazil and which in less than a decade has managed to consolidate more than 48 million customers, a figure for which many traditional banks have taken several years. What is the secret? From my perspective as an entrepreneur, it was to use technology simply and affordably for the vast majority of people with limited access to banking.

The socio-economic impact that this fintech has achieved is tremendous and marks a course for which there were many barriers to entry for people who had little chance of having an account or service in the traditional banking system, because the traditional system is expensive, not very scalable and people who are in more remote and less privileged areas were not within the market target.

Another example is the crypto economy. Although very controversial and even without clear regulations to control it, it has also made it possible to democratize access to risky investments and business models that did not exist before. Although it has as many detractors as promoters, it cannot be denied that its entry barriers are low and it has allowed people who previously had no way to invest to do so and thus generate profits with the model.

Now, given this disruptive change, should we think that it is enough? The truth is, no. A clear example is in the area of ​​insurance: millions of people and families in Latin America are neglected and do not have an option to protect their assets in the event of an unwanted event. With the correct model and the appropriate use of technology, it is possible to generate an impact in this segment that companies have disregarded.

Additionally, the ecosystem also requires financial education, skills to manage money, and secure assets. These changes are taking place at an accelerated pace and are taking a separate path from the traditional industry, which is paying little attention to it. Therefore, we can infer that before 2025, a new litter of startups will be emerging, among these: wellness/healthtech, fintech and insuretech. These will bring exponential solutions that will not be limited to one geography and that will use technology to empower people to achieve their financial well-being through new consumption habits, control of their expenses, and the ability to invest to leverage themselves financially and secure what they have built.

I am proud to be among those who are challenging the traditional structure to be a catalyst for change and seek a triple impact where the person, the company, and society can benefit. This can only bring good news and development for all socioeconomic sectors.

Well-being undoubtedly has to do with physical, mental, and now, financial health.

Photo by:   Byron Amores