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?

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.

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?
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?

A Stubborn Gap

The difference in aggregate home value between blacks and whites in the American South has remained startlingly steady through periods of dramatic social change.
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.
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. 

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?

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.

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.
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.
panoramic view of Pittsburgh

Border Patrol

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data from the 2007 American Community Survey, and with it announced a new class...

Catch-22: The Tortuous Path to Home Repair Help

Mary Stimpson was supposed to be a high-priority candidate for assistance repairing her roof and furnace. Instead she languished for years without heat until some advocates went above and beyond. 
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.

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.

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.

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.

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
home with for sale sign in foreground

Is the Housing Market the Answer to the Racial Wealth Gap?

In discussions around closing the racial wealth gap, we should be reminded that a very large portion of wealth gained by white Americans should be seen as ill-gotten.