The smart money: Lisa Brüggen lends academic insights to NIBUD, the Netherlands’ household finance adviser

Professor Lisa Brüggen has been named to the supervisory board of NIBUD, the National Institute for Family Finance Information. An independent not-for-profit institute, NIBUD offers information and advice on personal finance and budgeting, and since its founding in 1979, it has become a highly respected household name.

Brüggen, who this month was named to a chair in financial services at SBE, will join senior figures from politics and government, the pension industry and the Central Credit Registration Office (BKR) on NIBUD’s six-person board on 1 December 2017.

“I accepted this position because NIBUD’s aims align nicely with my own research and my personal mission: helping to improve people’s financial welfare,” she says.

“My task will be to ensure that NIBUD’s goals are achieved, from compliance with laws and regulations to the integrity, efficiency and quality of the services they provide.”

A recent Dutch study, Brüggen notes, found that a remarkable 90% of respondents were aware of NIBUD’s work.

“With such high name recognition, NIBUD has the perfect starting point to stimulate people to engage in financial planning. Their tools, budget planners, educational activities and research span the entire spectrum, from figuring out a monthly budget to retirement planning, repaying debt, and calculating students’ budget requirements.”

Brüggen, who joined SBE as a doctoral candidate in 2001 and who this month was promoted to a professorship, adds, “When you ask a Dutch person where you can get advice on your household budget, most would refer you to NIBUD. I tried to come up with the name of an equivalent institute in Germany, my home country, and I couldn’t. Of course many countries around the world have institutions with similar missions, and NIBUD collaborates closely with them, but what makes NIBUD unique is its recognition and standing.”

Turning to question of the public impact of academic research, does she see NIBUD as a good example of an organisation that knows the value of scholarly insight?

“I think it is great that NIBUD is extending the supervisory board by adding an academic. I believe I can bring a different set of knowledge and a different perspective to the other members, and the supervisory board apparently sees value in this,” Brüggen replies.

“But I also believe that it is academics’ task to demonstrate the value of our work to policymakers and public bodies. For the most part, it’s not realistic to expect them to read our academic papers. So if we want them to listen to us, we have to find other ways to share our insights and show the value of our work.”