What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities and the Nation

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Corporation for Enterprise Development

Author +
Laura Choi, David Erickson, Kate Griffin, Andrea Levere, Ellen Seidman

Year: 2015

This book examines the concept of financial health and well-being from many perspectives, bringing together the voices of long-time champions of financial capability and newer voices hailing from a variety of sectors, such as public health, criminal justice, and business. What unites them is the shared recognition that we must do more to help all Americans have control over their financial lives and achieve their financial goals. As represented on the book’s cover, financial health and well-being is the bridge to a strong financial future, connecting individuals and families to greater opportunity, creating more vibrant communities, and in turn, strengthening the social and economic fabric of our nation.

In the United States, we have traditionally defined financial status by income or wealth, but experts in policy and practice from a range of fields are expanding our focus to better understand what consumers actually want and need in their financial lives. A consensus is emerging that satisfaction with one’s financial life has elements that are both objective (income, wealth, cash flow) and subjective (financial freedom, on track to meet financial goals). And as many of the authors in this book make clear, financial health is deeply tied to the availability of opportunity, which too often depends on factors outside an individual’s control, such as race, parental socioeconomic status, and macroeconomic climate.

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What It’s Worth is a joint project of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

This book builds on two earlier volumes: Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, and What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities. Each are part of an important national conversation on addressing poverty and identifying solutions to intractable issues.

Table of Contents

Janet Yellen, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
How the Road to Financial Security is Paved with Financial Capability
Andrea Levere and Leigh Tivol, CFED
The Future of Building Wealth: Can Financial Capability Overcome Demographic Destiny?
Ray Boshara, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
The Real Financial Lives of Americans
Jennifer Tescher and Rachel Schneider, Center for Financial Services Innovation
The Economy, the Financial Services System and Community
Financial Vulnerability is a Problem: An Economist’s View
Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
We Are in This Together: Bipartisan Solutions to Preserve the American Dream
Phil English, Arent Fox LLP
Jeremie Greer, CFED
Reestablishing Trust: An Essential First Step for Financial Institutions
Cathie Mahon, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
Consumer Protection Drives Financial Health
Raj Date, Fenway Summer LLC
Race, Place, and Financial Security: Building Equitable Communities of Opportunity
Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink
Stable Housing, Stable Families: Thinking beyond Homeownership
Rick Lazio, Jones Walker LLP
Starting at Home: Housing-based Approaches to Financial Stability
Paul Weech, NeighborWorks America
Employment and Business
Making Work Pay: Building Financial Health Improves Employment Outcomes
Michael Rubinger, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Thinking Outside the 401(k): Employer-Sponsored Financial Health Solutions
Regis Mulot, Staples Inc.
Empowering Entrepreneurs, Strengthening Communities
Janie Barrera, LiftFund
Health and Social Services
Louisville’s “Culture of Compassion”: A Model for Community-based Financial Empowerment
Greg Fischer, City of Louisville
Financial Health is Public Health
Jason Q. Purnell, Washington University in St. Louis
Treating Financial Well-being as a Public Health Issue: Lessons from Delaware
Rita Landgraf, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
Beyond Financial Education: Supporting Positive Financial Behaviors through Financial Coaching
J. Michael Collins, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration: A Strategy for Investing in Individuals, Families and Communities
Vivian Nixon, College and Community Fellowship
Susan Sturm, Columbia Law School and Center for Institutional and Social Change
Ending “Welfare As We Know It”: Redesigning Public Assistance through the Lens of Financial Health and Economic Mobility
Reggie Bicha and Keri Batchelder, Colorado Department of Human Services
Promoting Financial Health through Higher Education
Sarah Bloom Raskin, U.S. Department of the Treasury
A Lifecycle Approach to Putting Higher Education within Reach
Martha Kanter, New York University
When Colleges Get It Right, Students Succeed
Regina Stanback Stroud, Skyline College
Wealth and Generations
Phillip Longman, New America
African American Economic Inequality: A Twenty-First Century Challenge
Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Latinos in the Financial Shadows
José A. Quiñonez, Mission Asset Fund
The Lakota Funds Story: How Indian Country is Building Financial Capability
Elsie M. Meeks, Lakota Funds
Financial Insecurity in Asian American Pacific Islander Communities: An Untold Story of Racial Wealth Inequality
Lisa Hasegawa and Jane Duong, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
Women and Wealth: How to Build It
Heidi I. Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
From Impulse Control to Interest Rates: Building Financial Capability in Children and Youth
Elizabeth Odders-White and Charles Kalish, University of Wisconsin–Madison
The Upside of Aging: Maximizing Wisdom in Financial Decision Making
Ted Beck, National Endowment for Financial Education
What It’s Worth: Building Bridges to Financial Health and Well-being
Ellen Seidman
SO WHAT? Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize
Brandee McHale, Citi Foundation
Closing the Financial Capability Gap: A Call to Action for Private Markets
Asheesh Advani, Junior Achievement Worldwide
Toward Productive Research Agendas in Financial Inclusion, Security, and Development
Michael Sherraden and Margaret Sherraden, Washington University in St. Louis
Toward a New Business Model: Strengthening Families Helps to Strengthen Communities and the Nation
Laura Choi and David Erickson, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Building the Opportunity Economy
Robert Friedman, CFED