September 2014

Rebalancing the American Dream: Forging Pathways to Financial Security - Volume 26, Issue 2

Accumulated wealth and diversified savings can be far more important than income for keeping household finances stable through volatile shifts in the economy. The damaging impact of the foreclosure crisis and recession on homeownership brought this point into stark relief. Many financially-constrained households concentrate their wealth solely in their homes, and the broader housing market upheaval changed the prospects for prosperity for those Americans whose hold on financial stability was tenuous at best. By further diversifying their assets beyond physical property alone, low- and moderate-income homeowners may be able to better maintain long-term financial security. It is also important to acknowledge that homeownership is not a viable or preferred asset building option for some Americans. For all of these households, a continuum of wealth building approaches beyond homeownership offers opportunities to establish, diversify, and grow their asset portfolio. This issue of Community Investments focuses on the efforts that help households build on their earnings and invest in their future. Highlighted here are programs and policies that expand consumer access to more affordable financial products; support renters in building their credit history; and provide assistance to families investing in their futures through children’s savings accounts, entrepreneurship, and retirement.

Read the full issue (pdf, 1.56 mb)

Table of Contents

CI Notebook

An introduction to this issue of Community Investments by Andrea Levere, President, CFED.

Understanding the Wealth Gap: How Did We Get Here?

What were the longer-term and more recent factors and patterns behind the growth of the current wealth gap among American households?

The Continuing Importance of Homeownership: Evidence from the Community Advantage Program

Learn how stable mortgage loans and sustainable homeownership practices can work to reestablish homeownership as a viable wealth-building option for many LMI households.

Rent Reporting and the Importance of Credit-Building Options for Renters

A Q&A discussion highlighting emerging programs that give renters the opportunity to save and build wealth.

The Promise of Child Development Accounts: Current Evidence and Future Directions

Exploring child development account programs that help low-income families save for their children’s education and a secure financial future.

Local Government Solutions to Household Financial Instability: The Supervitamin Effect

How can municipal governments develop and participate in financial stability efforts in their communities?

Building Wealth and Stability through Entrepreneurship

A Q&A discussion examining strategies for building wealth through LMI small business development.

Responding to a Growing Retirement Savings Crisis: A Promising Proposal in Illinois

A look at a proposed state-level program to encourage retirement savings for workers without employer-based savings plans.

Meet the New Landlords: The Rise of Single-Family Investors in the Housing Market

An examination of single-family rental home investors and implications for both renters and the broader housing market.

Native Americans and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program

A new set-aside in California’s low income housing tax credit program aims to ensure tribes can fairly compete for the tax credit funding needed to develop affordable homes on tribal land.

Data Snapshot

Which states have the highest concentrations of liquid-asset poor residents?

Research Briefs

New studies identify regional trends in debt accumulation across the United States and use street-level map resources to track gentrification in Chicago neighborhoods.