Reviews for Portfolios of the Poor

"A refreshingly distinct path. Portfolios of the Poor . . . avoid[s] the big picture and zoom[s] in on the basics of daily poverty, exploring how poor families manage their money. . . . The diaries reveal a 'real, ongoing, and substantial demand' for better financial services, which poor families need to provide better health care and schooling for their children. . . . Rather than waiting for the world to debate and accept their ideas, these authors have taken them up on their own. In the war against global poverty, that feels like one small battle won."
- Carlos Lozada, Washington Post

"The research provides evidence of the sophistication with which poor people think about their finances."
- The Economist

"A fascinating new book"
- Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times "On the Ground”

"Ten years ago, the authors of this unusual study began collecting detailed yearlong 'financial diaries' from households in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa. . . . The diarists did things that might seem irrational--borrowing in order to save; paying interest on savings--but that made sense given their unpredictable incomes and limited options. While the authors do offer prescriptions for how to expand those options, it's their scrupulous attention to actual behavior that makes this book invaluable."
- The New Yorker

"The book's methodology and conclusions are fascinating."
- Publishers Weekly

The insights captured in Portfolios of the Poor laid the groundwork for the development of the Financial Diaries methodology, which was an innovative methodology at the time, and unprecedented as a multi-country study and popular as a research method for financial services providers to better understand clients.

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Updated January 2019