What does "Financial Empowerment" mean to you?
December 14, 2010 10:19 AM   Subscribe

What does "Financial Empowerment" mean to you?

Disclosure: I work for Fifth Third Bank as the Social Media Strategist. I hear the phrase "financial empowerment" a lot, so I'm genuinely curious and interested in understanding what it means to different people. What does it mean to you?
posted by zooropa to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's a buzzword that means that someone is trying to sell me something I don't need.

I suspect that what it's supposed to mean is something like "having enough money and control over your finances that you can buy the things you need, save for the things you need to save for, and feel comfortable understanding what you're doing with your money." And all of that sounds great. But that's not what I hear when I hear that phrase. What I hear is "pay $9.99 a month for our service, and it will make your life absolutely no better than it is now, plus you'll get a lot of emails from us with flash animations in them."
posted by decathecting at 10:23 AM on December 14, 2010 [9 favorites]

I believe it is supposed to designate gaining control over one's (existing and potential) income -- granting the ability to wisely invest and save at will -- rather than having bills, loans and unnecessary/ill-advised purchases control the majority (if not entirety) of the income.

Except it's also a predatory buzzword, like decathecting explains, to everyone except people who click on "OBAMA WANTS TO GIVE $$$ TO MOMS TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL" and "FLATTEN YOUR STOMACH WITH THIS SECRET FROM THE ORIENT" banner ads.
posted by griphus at 10:31 AM on December 14, 2010

If someone says "Financial empowerment" to me, I hear "I am a salesman, not a banker or a financial planner." People's BS-o-meters work really well, particularly people who would be interested in following their bank on Twitter. "Financial Empowerment" sounds like a BS term that you'd get at a shady Primerica pitch.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:33 AM on December 14, 2010

Interesting perspectives going around.

I would think it means that I am financially confident of my situation. Meaning I know how to pick the right choices for my 401k, I have an emergency fund, I use my credit cards wisely and have zero to little balance, I own a low-mortgage loan with a fixed rate. Life is good because if you got your financial shit together, life is pretty easy.

Anything empowerment is a positive word.

Unless you're spewing HR schpeal. Then it's just schpeal. :)
posted by stormpooper at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2010

I've never seen any literature or adverts containing this phrase.

On first glance, I'd guess it would (should?) mean providing basic financial literacy so that people have the ability to make informed decisions about their own finances, to spot a shady deal when they see one, and to make financial plans for their future and budget accordingly.
posted by emilyw at 11:16 AM on December 14, 2010

Scam! Basically what decathecting said. But I am rather contrary and have a dislike of anything using the word 'empowering', so that could be colouring my opinion. I agree with emilyw that it looks like it should be a good thing, but I personally wouldn't subscribe to its newsletter.

(FWIW, I'm British, don't think I've seen anything using this exact phrasing, probably wouldn't pay much attention if I did).
posted by Lebannen at 11:59 AM on December 14, 2010

I guess it depends on who is saying it. An actual bank, or someone trying to sell "ZERO DOWN!!1!" furniture.

Reading it without a snark filter, it means what decathecting and emilyw said.

But social media is all about snark, so it probably won't fly there.
posted by gjc at 4:43 PM on December 14, 2010

What does "Financial Empowerment" mean to you?

Marketing BS. Run, don't walk.
posted by pompomtom at 8:56 PM on December 14, 2010

Response by poster: Your opinions are hugely appreciated, folks! Thank you for the honesty and candor.
posted by zooropa at 7:30 AM on December 15, 2010

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