Creating Better Portfolios: Core Financial Products for the Poor

May 2010
By FAI

Creating Better Portfolios: Core Financial Products for the Poor
Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day examines the basic question of how the world’s poorest households survive on such modest incomes. The authors report on yearlong "financial diaries" of villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa-surveys that track penny by penny how households manage their money (see Research Methodologies Briefing Note). The stories of these families are often surprising and sometimes inspiring. Most poor households do not live hand to mouth, spending what they earn in a desperate bid to keep afloat. Instead, they rely upon an array of complex tools, and lead active financial lives because they are poor, not in spite of it. They create “portfolios” that leverage both informal networks and formal institutions to address their immediate and long-term needs.