Lidia Rodríguez has gradually recovered her work rhythm after the covid-19 pandemic forced her to stop her work as a domestic worker. But she does not stop remembering the moment when she asked one of her cousins for money to be able to pay her rent. “She was very strong, I thought she was never going to end,” she mentions in consultation. She is part of the 59% of women who experienced some type of economic impact during the pandemic in the country.
According to the National Survey of Financial Inclusion (ENIF) 2021, presented this Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) and the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), Mexicans had to manage in various ways to be able to get ahead in financial terms. “12 million people lost their jobs, at least temporarily, and they sought to generate lower expenses,” he says. Edgar Vielma, general director of sociodemographic statistics of the Inegi.
It’s been more than two years since Mexicans have had to tighten their belts. In addition to the inflationary effect that has been developing in recent months, a series of measures that include borrowing, dipping into family savings or even pawning goods were some of the measures to mitigate the effects of this economic crisis.
This survey, which is carried out every four years in Mexico and which seeks to measure the way in which the inhabitants make use of their resources, as well as the access they have to formal financial products, ran into the health crisis last year. One of the elements to highlight, according to the directors of Inegi, is the contrast between the regions of the country. While more than half of the population reported having economic problems due to the health emergency, in northeastern Mexico that percentage was reduced by half and worsened to 67% in the central and Gulf states of Mexico.
Education and financial inclusion, stagnant
Mexicans are still not joining the formal financial system. According to the ENIF, the number of Mexicans who have a financial product went from 54 million in 2018 to almost 56.7 million in 2021, an increase of 2% in four years. The instruments that grew the most are those that use means of payment or payroll and those related to pensions, with a penetration of 32%.
On the other hand, future troubleshooting is left in the background. While credit penetration went from 44 to 47% in the last four years, insurance contracting (mainly life policies) fell from 35 to 32% of the total of adults, while of the total of people over 18 years of age, 40% had a Retirement Fund Administrator (Afore) in 2018 compared to 39% in 2021.
One of the challenges of the Mexican Government will be to bring financial education closer to the classroom. Óscar Rosado, president of the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Financial Services Users (Condusef) announced that from August this year, upper secondary and higher education students will have access to financial education subjects. “The lack of economic opportunities, the crisis caused by the pandemic and the cultural factor are the main adversaries to overcome,” Rosado mentioned.
According to the official, 254 technological institutions and more than 600,000 high school students will participate in this mandatory program in the first stage. Additionally, basic education schools in Mexico City will also have a pilot program that will include training for teachers to start with notions of financial education with minors.
Mexicans live day to day. According to the ENIF, only 41.5% of Mexican adults have a record of how much they spend and the debts they have to be able to pay, while half of the population only sets aside the money that they are going to use to spend or pay, something they do every day and not as a recurring habit.
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