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?

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.

Flooded: How Natural Disasters Lead to Predatory Lending in the Rio Grande Valley

The devastation that communities in the Rio Grande Valley experience is twofold: the initial destruction of the floods and the cycle of debt and poverty as a result of predatory loans.

From the Social Welfare State to the Social Investment State

The welfare state at the start of the 21st century appears to be in the midst of a transformation. The original consensus was that,...
A ripple in water.

The Ripple Effects of Income Volatility

Research shows a connection between the financial instability of families and the economic health of communities.

Why the Community Reinvestment Act Must Be Expanded Broadly Throughout the Financial Industry

The financial industry has been one of the main perpetrators of racial discrimination. It should be obligated to serve all communities, particularly communities of color.

Entrenched Poverty, Juxtaposed Against Occasional Pockets of Progress

Recently, more than 150 people from across the nation rolled along the backroads of the iconic Mississippi Delta, peering through bus windows at scene after scene of entrenched poverty juxtaposed against occasional pockets of progress that had been achieved against seemingly insurmountable odds. While there were signs of advancement, they were set against the backdrop of conditions that disproportionately plague these places—substandard housing, underperforming schools, inadequate access to quality health care, and limited private and philanthropic investment. 
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.

Breaking Asset Poverty: Better Homeownership—and More

Rather than abandoning homeownership as an asset-building strategy the next administration must pursue alternative strategies: bringing back “good homeownership,” supporting quality affordable rental housing, and developing other ways to help families of modest means invest for themselves and their future.
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?
graduation

Small Investments Can Yield Big Returns. Review of A Few Thousand Dollars

Over a dozen stories of how Americans from all different backgrounds have managed to leverage a few thousand dollars to lead lives that have helped thousands of other people, and strategies to reinvigorate a movement to influence asset building policy nationally.
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.

How Tax Assessments are Racist

Between biased property appraisals that undervalue Black-owned properties and biased tax assessments that levy an unfair burden, homeowners of color are flanked by a double-whammy of racism.

Building Assets to Fight Poverty

As asset-building policy continues to expand, inclusion of the poor is the greatest challenge. Homeownership, as the fundamental American Dream, should be at the center of asset-building policy and community development.

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.
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.

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...
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.

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.

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?