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?

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.

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.

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.
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
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.

Food Banks: Another Crisis Casualty?

Last week, when a prominent and long-standing central New Jersey soup kitchen went to the newspapers as a last resort to inform the public...

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 woman and man stand together smiling in front of their new home in North Carolina. They received a loan not based on credit scores, but on character.

Challenging the Almighty Credit Score

A majority of mainstream lenders base loan approvals on a hotly debated three-digit score. Are there better, fairer ways to assess risk?
physician takes blood pressure

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Sept. 21

News from—and affecting—the community development world.
Small American flag with fringed edges attached to a wire stick.

Why Giving Up on Homeownership Is Giving In

These ideas aren’t new, but pulling them together in a collective, coherent way will push back against those who, like their predecessors of 80, 70, 60 and 50 years ago, would deny long-term stability to those for reasons more than just the color of their money.
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?

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 […]
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?

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?
Black computer enter key

SoFi, Not So Good: Is This Virtual Redlining?

SoFi is practicing product segregation. It wants to serve affluent people with its best products and shunt low- and moderate-income borrowers into inferior products that do not meaningfully serve credit needs.

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 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.

Millennial Women and Retirement Savings: Start Where You Are

Today, most women have the autonomy and ability to take charge of our finances, but we don’t all do it.
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 ...

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.