What is Bó?
By Gemma Tortella, Digital Anthropologist
As well as getting to know us all at Bó HQ, she’s also been speaking to a group of people in Worthing, Sussex as part of her fieldwork. We sat down with Gemma and asked her a little bit more about what she’s been up to.
Bó: What are you researching and why?
GT: In Worthing I’m researching how people feel about and manage their money. At Bó, I’m doing the same thing with employees but also trying to understand who Bó thinks will benefit most from its new account and how the team is trying to learn about its future customers.
Bó: Anything you want to share from your research so far?
GT: However well trained you are as an anthropologist you can’t help coming with your own experiences to your field site. Because I’m not particularly organised money-wise, I assumed most people might be the same. But what I found in Worthing is that mostly people feel they are pretty organised and careful with their money.
Bó: Has your research helped you understand how people learn about money?
GT: In my first chats with people, however we started the conversation, people would talk to me about their families and their upbringing. Your relationships with your parents, family and friends greatly shape your attitudes to money. Anthropologists study groups of people because no one really lives as an individual and this was very apparent as soon as the subject of money was raised.
Bó: What’s been the most surprising finding so far?
GT: The most surprising finding, although it shouldn't be, because I know the facts, is how the burden of children vs. career is one that women still carry. Women's financial lives are shaped in a way that men's aren't, for example choosing whether to change jobs based on future maternity pay or making a monthly budget without including child maintenance because you can't rely on your ex giving it to you. Whether a woman had children or not, this really dominated my discussions in Worthing.
Bó: Has this study changed how you personally think about money?
GT: Yes, it has changed me a bit. Spending time in Worthing where a lot of the participants buy second hand for either purely financial reasons or for ethical reasons has made me pause for thought before buying new clothes or household goods. The project has generally made me more conscious and mindful about money. This hasn't necessarily made me spend less; I am just clearer about why I'm buying this or that and actually feel less guilty when I do 'treat' myself.
About Gemma Tortella
Having studied Social Anthropology at LSE, Gemma subsequently spent many years working in the arts as a talks programmer and curator of public events at the ICA, The School of Life and The Guardian. Digital Anthropology is a growing field, bringing together the insight and methods of anthropology and applying them to the digital, which now mediates so much of what we do. She is currently completing an MSc in Digital Anthropology at UCL.
You must be 18 or over and a UK tax resident to be eligible for a Bó account. You’ll also need an iPhone on iOS 10 (or later) or an Android phone with 6.0 Marshmallow or above.
Bó is part of National Westminster Bank Plc (“NatWest”), registered in England and Wales (Registered Number 929027). Registered Office: 250 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4AA. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. NatWest is entered on the Financial Services Register and its Register number is 121878. The Financial Services Register can be accessed at. NatWest's registered VAT number is GB 243852752.
Bó is protected by The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Read more here.
Photo credit: The pic of the mopey pug and all the lovely portrait shots come from unsplash.com. Thanks guys!