Learn More: A Collection of Resources on Building Savings and Assets

Posted January 20, 2016, By Beadsie Woo

Savings and assets — emergency savings, a college fund, homeownership — help families become financially stable, which in turn allows them to help their children realize their full potential. But some families’ daily struggle to support themselves leaves nothing for tomorrow. Almost half of Americans cannot handle a $400 emergency — the cost of replacing a car alternator, for example — let alone pay for a college education or a home.

Our new federal policy brief underscores the importance of savings and assets in helping low-income families weather financial crises and move toward self-sufficiency. It also details how families of color have faced historical obstacles in reaching these goals, resulting in a persistent racial wealth gap that has widened since the Great Recession. The following resources offer additional insights on the importance of savings and assets for families, the racial wealth gap and state and federal policies focused on asset building. They also provide further information on the policy solutions we recommend to increase the financial stability of low-income families, particularly those of color.

On the Importance of Assets

Family Assets and Child Outcomes: Evidence and Directions
The Assets Perspective: The Rise of Asset Building and Its Impact on Social Policy
Upside Down: The $400 Billion Federal Asset-Building Budget
Who Benefits From Asset-Building Tax Subsidies?
Who Gets the $400 Billion in Annual Federal Asset-Building Tax Subsidies?
Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy: Resources
CFED: Federal Policy Resource Center
New America Foundation: Asset Building Program
Inclusion in Asset Building

On the Racial Wealth Gap

Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Is a Priority for National Economic Security
Closing the Racial Wealth Gap for the Next Generation
The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters
Center for Global Policy Solutions: Resources

Related to Our Federal Policy Recommendations

Emergency/Retirement Savings

Flexible Savings: The Missing Foundation for Financial Security and Economic Mobility
Making Retirement Saving Even More Valuable by Adding Automatic Emergency Savings

Asset Limits

Asset Limits Are a Barrier to Economic Security and Mobility
Barriers to Savings: Asset Tests

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

Asset-Oriented Rental Assistance: Next Generation Reforms for HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Housing More People More Effectively Through a Dynamic Housing Policy

Children’s Savings Accounts

Children’s Savings Accounts Expand Opportunity
Investing in Dreams: A Blueprint for Investing in Children’s Savings Accounts
Moving Toward a Policy Agenda for Improving Children’s Savings Account Delivery Systems
College Savings Plans: A Platform for Inclusive and Progressive Child Development Accounts
Children’s Education Savings Accounts: A Case Study of San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College Program

On State Policy Opportunities

Boosting Economic Mobility Through Prize-Linked Savings
Prize-Linked Savings: Creating Financial Confidence and Opportunity
Predatory Lending Takes Advantage of Financial Insecurity