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Increasing Financial Capabilities: A toolkit

Welcome to the WBS Financial Capabilities project's webpage.

Our project involves working with two groups of people, including University Students (at the University of Warwick) and Working-Age Adults (across England). The effectiveness of the tools described within this webpage are being evaluated with each population, and a report describing our findings should be available in Spring 2019.

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If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact us at: Kelly dot Schmidtke at wbs dot ac dot uk

The project is financially supported by The Money Advice Service [grant number A289, 2017].


In 2017 the Guardian reported that one in four families has less than £95 in savings. []

This amount is clearly insufficient to overcome unexpected expenses. While some unexpected expenses are a matter of bad fortune, like unexpected unemployment, others are simple a matter of time, like car repairs. We believe that people should be preparing for expenses like car repairs.

Unfortunately, a survey of 2,000 UK adults suggests that many people dip into their savings for very much expected payments, like shopping bills or rent.

This is potentially a problem, because if people are dipping into their savings for expected payments than it is unlikely that they will have sufficient savings for unexpected payments. One reason many people do not save money more effectively is that they lack the financial capability to do so.

The present project builds on previous qualitative research wherein two financial capability tools were developed. []

The first tool is a Habit Tool and the second tool is a Savings Tool.


The present webpage aims to empower money advisers to help clients use two tools and in so doing enhance their clients' financial capability and wellbeing.

Above are links to learn more about the Habit Tool and the Savings Tool. Where possible, links to relevant printable materials are made available.

Lead Researcher

Kelly Ann Schmidtke


Principal Investigator

Prof. Ivo Vlaev

Ivo Vlaev


Krishane Patel - University College London, UK

Sam Scharf - Orbit Housing Association, UK

Derek King - London School of Economics, UK

Antony Elliot - Fairbanking Foundation, UK