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?

Almost Home

Shortly after her 18th birthday, Cindy (not her real name) left her group home in the Bronx to live with her mother. Although under...
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.
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.
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?

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?

Who Is Still Unbanked, And What Can We Do About it?

Seven percent of U.S. households, a group roughly the size of the population of Australia, were “unbanked” in 2015, meaning they have neither a checking nor savings account. This is the lowest unbanked rate recorded since the survey first launched in 2009
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?
A woman leads a credit building class at Stephens Creek Crossing, a Hope 6 property owned and operated by Home Forward.

An Opportunity for Housing Providers to Help Renters Build Credit

Of the 987 low-income renters whose rents were reported through a pilot program, 79 percent saw their VantageScore increase by an average of 23 points, and 15 percent moved into a lower credit score risk tier.

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...

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?
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.

The Fight for Full-Time Work in San Jose

Unpredictable hours lead to unpredictable cash flow, which is a barrier to budgeting and saving. One response to this, the Opportunity to Work Initiative, would require that San Jose employers give more hours to part-time employees before hiring new staff.

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.

Homeownership Without a Net

Despite some new reforms, low-income households buying homes outside the traditional mortgage market are still at tremendous risk—and often legal limbo.
houses

Can Estate Planning be Used to Help Preserve Economic Assets in Low-Income Communities?

Estate planning should be employed as part of a broader plan of preservation of wealth and assets in communities of color. 
home with sold sign in front

Equitable Tax Reform Begins at Home(ownership)

Talk of tax reform has reached a fever pitch, but most Americans don't realize just how high the stakes are and what impact the final legislation could have on their own financial security for years to come.

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?
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.

Well Worth the Read

Reading What It’s Worth was like walking through one of the glorious Asset Learning Conferences that CFED organizes, equipped with a magical Harry Potter wand that allows me to stop and re-work time so I can peer into each workshop at my leisure.

Extending a Bank Branch to the Community

The systemic closing of bank branches in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods is followed by payday lenders, pawnshops, and check cashing services stepping in to fill the void.