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?

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?
Two employees of Grace Federal Solutions in North Carolina, an African-American man and woman, chat in the hallway of their offices. The company secured a loan from a CDFI.

CDFIs Led By People of Color Face Financial Disparities Too

A lack of access to capital, capacity-building resources, and technical assistance significantly constrains the ability of CDFIs led by people of color to achieve greater impact.
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.
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.
CFPB exterior

A Message for CFPB’s Kathy Kraninger: Stand with People, Not Profits

The CFPB's new head must unequivocally stand with low-income communities of color and restore public trust.
Business Hours sign on glass door.

Unstacking the Deck for African-American Entrepreneurs

The truth is most entrepreneurs’ firms don’t grow quickly, employ people, or earn much money. And, more importantly, entrepreneurial success has far less to do with exceptional skill than with one’s ability to weather repeated failure and financial loss.
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 ...
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?

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
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...
A chart of the United States showing where the U.S. Financial Diaries study occurred - California, Eastern Mississippi, Ohio/Kentucky, and New York City.

Is Financial Unsteadiness the New Normal?

A yearlong analysis of 200-plus households suggests that we should add a third leg to the financial security stool along with income and assets: cash flow.
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?
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.

When The Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses Fought Back

Financial Justice is the untold story of how a diverse group of progressive organizations took on the powerful financial lobby, pushed Congress to create a strong new consumer protection agency and against the odds, won.
A blue and white Louisiana road sign.

After a Far Fall, Is Louisiana Becoming a Better Place for its Lower Income...

When the 2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard was published last month, it was no surprise that Louisiana ranked second-to-last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as it typically falls somewhere near the bottom. In many ways, the Scorecard confirmed what we already knew: that most Louisiana families, especially low-income families and families of color, are not faring well financially. What was surprising, however, was how far Louisiana had fallen.
A key in focus

Despite Progress, States Have Work to do to Ensure Access to Affordable Rental Housing...

If expanding access to homeownership can reverse the trends of growing racial wealth inequality, why are we seeing so many states roll back the supports that make homeownership possible?

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?

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.
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.