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?

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.

Financial Inclusion Begins With Our Tax Code

Changes to the tax code, and tax programs that support low-wage earners, will strengthen gains made in the asset-building field.

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.

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.

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?

Financial Counseling and Coaching Need to be Professionalized

What happens to families who are financially vulnerable and rely upon free financial counseling and coaching services to get out of debt or repair their credit score?

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.

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.

Safe Banking for Seniors

To support older adults to safely age in community, we need to consider what they need out of banking—and what they need to be protected from.

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 […]

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.

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.
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.

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.

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...

CRA Modernization:  A Critical Moment for Underserved Neighborhoods

The Community Reinvestment Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act hold great promise for the creation of a more financially inclusive nation, but both depend on critical "moments in time" in Congress that will determine whether they become good laws or are weakened beyond recognition

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...

The Reports are In: Homeownership Rising, Renters Suffering, Income Gaps Growing

City Life, Homeownership, and the American Dream Americans' impressions of cities are improving, according to Fannie Mae's 1997 National Housing Survey, City Life, Homeownership, and...