Dilemme® is the result of 22 years of experience in providing support and guidance pertaining to the prevention of excessive debt.
Through its Dilemme budgetary education program, the CRÉSUS Foundation has set itself the mission of using a fun, interactive method to get people of all ages to think about questions relating to budget management, the advantages and risks of various methods of payment, how banks and insurance firms operate, credit and savings accounts – all in a context of exchange, integration and social responsibility, both individual and collective. The primary objective is to help every participant become an independent, responsible citizen.
Generally speaking, French and European citizens do not have a solid grasp of budgetary and financial concepts, both of which could help them to optimise their overall purchasing power. Young people in France leave school without any educational background in personal finance; any knowledge they do have generally comes from their family. Households lacking basic insight into budgetary and financial practices have more difficulty saving money and managing their revenues effectively (Stango and Zinman, 2007), and are consequently unable to build up resources in the mid- to long term (Lusardi and Mitchell, 2006, 2007, 2009). Such citizens are also easy targets for a society in which consumer temptation is everywhere. Access to improperly controlled credit, dematerialised methods of payment (in constant evolution and carrying untold risks), as well as banking products that are becoming more and more sophisticated - all of these factors are competing to exploit a segment of the population who are unable to defend themselves against a seemingly faceless banking and insurance sector.
In the context of a negative financial climate, in which insecurity and unforeseen factors are affecting people at every level of society, budgetary and financial awareness training is an effective and necessary initiative, though unfortunately the process could and should have begun much sooner. This kind of training allows each individual to become the master of their own destiny, fully aware of the dangers of short-termism and capable of managing interactions with complex social institutions on an equal footing. In France today, an emergency debt assistance request is filed every 2 minutes. Contrary to popular belief, excessive debt is a problem faced mostly by individuals who are employed and earn more than the minimum wage (only 16% of those seeking debt assistance with CRÉSUS in 2013 were unemployed). In 2013, twice as many of the people receiving help from CRÉSUS were earning €5000 or more than were receiving welfare benefits (RSA).
Budgetary and financial education programmes are still not made available to young people, who leave the education system without the basic practical knowledge that would enable them to achieve financial independence and avoid the risk of falling into poverty. Because talking about money is something of a taboo, budgetary education programs often fail to keep participants engaged. Magistrate's Courts meanwhile, may hand down instructions as a teacher to a student, but rarely manage to generate exchange or debate, or shared experience leading to sustainable changes in behaviour.
Meanwhile, we live in a society in which certain groups and institutions may evolve quite separately of one another, and where the behaviour of professionals in the banking and insurance sector towards certain clients generates deep suspicion and apprehension in the local population – meaning that finance professionals and their institutions are poorly understood and suffer from negative public image. Budgetary and financial education sessions using Dilemme may also allow professionals from the banking and insurance sectors to review some of their methods and modes of communication.
42 % of people do not know how to calculate the annual interest rate on a sum of €100
84.6 % of people think that financial products and services are complicated and confusing
58 % of the population struggle to pay their bills at the end of each month
46 % of French people think that they don't know enough about the subject to understand a document containing commercial information about a financial service or investment.