The Observatory of the Finances of Households and SMEs is an initiative of IE Foundation, which was created with the aim of carrying out pioneering research with social impact in the field of financial behaviour and training of households and SMEs. Its intention is to provide a solid base of knowledge and metrics to inspire public and private strategies and actions aimed at improving the financial skills and decisions of households and small entrepreneurs, in the conviction that this will result in greater well-being for the population and families, and greater growth, resilience and survival of SMEs.


The academic literature has reported a low level of financial capability in the population, despite evidence of the positive impact that greater financial capability has on households’ financial decisions and well-being: they save more, invest more, obtain higher returns, and plan financially for their retirement. However, evaluations of financial literacy programmes in the population provide disappointing results, in the sense that they do not find significant improvements in financial behaviour and decisions. In this sense, it is necessary to continue to deepen the analysis of what the components of financial training should be, analysing what financial knowledge is most relevant, what skills and habits need to be developed, etc.


The lack of interest of academic research in the study of the training and financial decisions of small entrepreneurs, and their impact on the evolution and survival of their businesses, is surprising. SMEs make up more than 99% of the productive businesses in both Spain and the EU. By December 2023, the number of SMEs in Spain amounted to nearly three million (2,942,582) compared to just over five thousand five hundred (5,520) large companies with 250 employees or more. Of all Spanish SMEs, more than half have no employees, and of those that do, only 1% have more than 50 employees. This comparison shows the importance of focusing on SMEs in view of their small size.


The Observatory will base its strategy on 3 PILLARS and will seek to establish alliances and collaborations with institutional and business partners to achieve its objectives and generate greater impact.


Our purpose is to conduct research that generates new knowledge and enhances understanding of the phenomena underlying the financial behavior of households and SMEs. Research reinforces its value when it is based on cooperation with the different actors in the environment, and is disseminated to society as a whole in order to have a positive impact.


A research initiative implemented through the collaboration of an academic institution and industry has the advantage of ensuring, on the one hand, the neutrality of the studies carried out and their scientific rigour, and on the other hand, the practical relevance of the research and activities developed.


Dissemination through the media and different formats (articles, interviews, podcasts, infographics, etc.) allows knowledge generated with neutrality and rigour to reach a wider audience in simple words and contextualised.