Linda’s story of financial manipulation

These profiles have been created after research with real customers in vulnerable situations. All names have been changed.

Divorce and separation can make people temporarily vulnerable. What are you assuming about your customers when you might not have the full picture? 
Linda is a 64-year-old retiree currently divorcing her husband of 20 years. Although a wealthy woman on paper, Linda has been financially manipulated by her husband throughout their marriage and has now found herself in a precarious legal and financial position as a result of his deception. With joint accounts frozen and a lack of guaranteed cash flow, Linda's reality is a struggle to make ends meet, combined with a feeling of dependence on others.

How can you design inclusively for Linda?

Ask yourself:

What level of financial understanding do you expect from your customers?

The compound effect of her education, faith in her husband and lack of exposure to the household accounts meant that Linda missed out on the financial and technological understanding needed to uncover issues earlier. She’s now in a position where she feels totally disempowered, uncertain of how to resolve her situation.

Are your customers ready to trust your support?

Linda trusted her husband to make decisions in their best interests and had an inherent faith in the 'joint' approach. This was a factor in enabling abuse and manipulation to continue and has left her unsure who she can trust.

Do you have the full picture in order to make a decision about your customers?

From the outside, it's easy to assume Linda is in a position to cope with her situation and can afford the support she needs. She has a pension, funds in her name, and a roof over her head. But her reality is a lack of guaranteed cash flow and ineligibility for support from the state. Her wealth does not determine her wellbeing or her ability to manage finances.

How do you help your customers prepare for vulnerability in the future?

The unpredictable nature of Linda’s income and accommodation in the short term means she's particularly vulnerable regarding any potential emergencies.

Who are your vulnerable customers?

Meet Jenny