Financial Well-Being

“Income is how you get out of poverty; assets are how you stay out.” How do we build policies, programs, and products that reduce systematic inequality and advance financial security for all?

Is Rags to Riches the Right Measure?

Comparative income quintiles don’t tell us very much about the material conditions of people’s lives. When someone rises into the top fifth, someone else falls into the bottom fifth.

Scoring Homeownership: Looking at the Long Game

Today’s economic climate offers little hope to many struggling families. Family incomes still lag in comparison, for example, to rising housing costs in many markets.

Keeping Justice in Mind as We Talk Asset-Building

I attended my first ever Assets Learning Conference, put on by CFED last week, and I have to say it was mighty impressive. And I was particularly pleased to see that economic justice and things like reforming the tax code to be less regressive and reward savings by low- and middle-income Americans, rather than mostly […]
From left, Andrea Levere, Andrea Luquetta-Kern, Woody Widrow, and Holly Frindell.

In Pursuit of Financial Well-Being: A Conversation on Fairness, Accessibility, and Empowerment

In a world of growing financial complexity, predatory products, stagnating wages, and escalating inequality, financial insecurity is a dramatic problem. We gathered a group of leaders who are combating financial insecurity for a conversation on how it all relates.
computer keyboard

Data Drives the Movement for Economic Justice

A government report concludes that residents of low- and moderate-income Census tracts have as much access to bank branches as residents in middle- and upper-income tracts in rural areas and large metropolitan areas. Yet access to bank services for low- and moderate-income consumers is still being lost. Why is that?

True Financial Capability Requires Expanding the Definition of Wealth

What is productive agricultural land and clean water worth? What are strong communal relationships worth? What is a clear connection to heritage, to culture, to past, to future, and self, worth?
redlining map and racial equity

Can Using a Racial Equity Lens Increase Capital in Communities of Color?

If CDFIs adopted traditional appraisal standards to determine loan amounts, they'd make very few loans in the communities they were founded to serve.
Does shared-equity homeownership build assets? Yes. And keeps them safer than traditional homeownership does. Various graphs and charts follow to back up this assertion. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Does Shared-Equity Homeownership Build Assets?

A: Yes! And keeps them safer than traditional homeownership does.

Income Is How You Get Out of Poverty, Assets are How You Stay Out

In our work to build communities of opportunity where low-income people and people of color can thrive, we must acknowledge that income is how you get out of poverty, assets are how you stay out.

Catch-22: The Tortuous Path to Home Repair Help

Mary Stimpson was supposed to be a high-priority candidate for assistance repairing her roof and furnace. Instead she languished for years without heat until some advocates went above and beyond. 
A ripple in water.

The Ripple Effects of Income Volatility

Research shows a connection between the financial instability of families and the economic health of communities.
A home at the Dos Pinos Housing Cooperative, the only limited-equity housing co-op in Davis, California.

A Low-Cost Ownership Oasis in a Desert of Apartment Unaffordability

When this limited-equity cooperative in California began more than 30 years ago, it wasn’t the most affordable place to live. But now the co-op’s monthly costs are 50 percent lower than the average market-rate apartment.

In LA, a New Resource to Pull Families Back From the Financial Brink

Regardless of income level, a family that is just getting by is locked in a state of stress and vulnerability.
A deteriorated Brownsville home.

There Is an Emergency at the Border. It’s Poverty.

Targeted investments that address persistent poverty are necessary and should supersede financial support of a border wall.
panoramic view of Pittsburgh

Border Patrol

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data from the 2007 American Community Survey, and with it announced a new class...
Young students wearing red shirts laugh as they participate in a college-bound program in Indiana.

College Bound: A Look at Children’s Savings Accounts

Children's savings accounts for higher education, even those that have accumulated only small amounts of money, can change expectations for low-income students and they might also provide a vehicle for larger wealth transfers.
We ask: What don't people who are getting rental assistance get a job? The Answer: More than half are elderly or disabled. Of the rest, most of them do have a job!

Q: Why Don’t People Who Get Rental Assistance Get a Job?

A: More than half are elderly or disabled. Of the rest, most of them do have a job! Ninety-four percent of rental assistance receipts are ...
A high school graduate who saved for college with the help of FUEL Education, now called Inversant.

In Which a Skeptic Is Won Over to Child Savings Accounts

While I am a firm believer in equal access to higher education for all, it’s over-emphasized in our individualistic culture as a solution to society’s woes.
A worker at Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, which recently secured new contracts for 3 million pounds of health care linens.

Building Prosperity—A Review of ‘The Making of a Democratic Economy’

A review of "The Making of a Democratic Economy: Building Prosperity for the Many, Not Just the Few," by Marjorie Kelly and Ted Howard

Discouraging the Voter

We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again, but, in Michigan—which is shaping up to be a crucial swing state in the presidential...