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?

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?

A Stubborn Gap

The difference in aggregate home value between blacks and whites in the American South has remained startlingly steady through periods of dramatic social change.

Keeping Everyone Afloat: Is Universal Basic Income the Answer?

Advocates and organizers who deal with the needs of the poor often say it's not really a housing/food/training issue, it's an income issue. So what would happen if we just addressed income?
Yellow sign reading 'Aloha.'

Reflecting and Planning Using a Community Wealth Building Lens

Over an organization’s 25 years in existence, how do staff and volunteers measure impact and build off of lessons learned to guide their next steps forward?
structural sinking boat

Financial Coaches, Let’s Be Upfront About Economic Structural Racism

Financial education messaging is too often presented as if individual behavior and attitudes are the cause of our growing economic challenges rather than our social, economic, and political systems.

Why Financial Education Should Get Political

Financial curricula for low-income households often focus on personal choices about budgeting and saving, but if they don't also address systemic problems, exploitation, and discrimination, they aren't speaking to their audience's reality.

Context for the Racial Wealth Divide May Free American Minds, and Mindsets

Black people were excluded from many of the income and wealth-building programs that helped build the foundation of white Americans’ wealth today.

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.
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.
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...
This Opa-locka, Florida resident had his loan request approved based on his character and not his credit score.

When a Person’s Character Trumps Their Credit Score

Some CDFIs approve loans based on a person’s character instead of their credit score. But they only recommend doing so when you know the applicant.

Stop Talking About the Racial Wealth Gap

It may seem counterintuitive, but in order to close the wealth gap, we must shift our focus from the gap itself to the policies, conditions, and systems that spawned it.

Not All Asian Elderly Are Well Off

Too many of us have the misconception that elderly Asian Americans live a charmed life that is financially secure with strong family ties. This isn’t accurate.
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.

Does the Current Reliance on Credit Scores Deny Deserving Applicants?

Last week, we asked readers if credit scores were too much of a driver in home loan approval. You answered overwhelmingly that yes, credit...

How Does Mobile Banking Affect the Unbanked?

The absence of bank branches and the proliferation of high-priced alternative lenders in the region only underscore the importance of access to affordable financial services.

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 […]
ladders

Measuring the Right Things: “Mobility from Poverty” Is More than Finances

How would you measure someone making progress toward escaping poverty? If you've been tuned in to the asset-building movement you might look at their accumulation of assets and preparation for a financial emergency. You might also want to look at cash flow. But can poverty-fighting be solely measured by money?
The cover of Generation Priced Out by Randy Shaw.

Millennials and the Affordability Crisis: A Review of Generation Priced Out

As tenant struggles become a bigger focus of activist recruitment, Randy Shaw’s new book, Generation Priced Out, is an essential organizing guide.

These States Are Trying to Level the Field for Disadvantaged Students

How would the trajectories of children’s lives change if they knew that their state, their community and their parents were investing in their future success for as long as they could remember?