Priority Issues: Financial Stability for Californians
Too many Californians do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. These individuals and families are walking a financial tightrope — they are barely able to get by, with no ability to save for college, a home, or for retirement. With your help, United Ways of California - along with United Way of America - is working to cut in half the number of lower-income families who are financially unstable. If we're successful, by 2018, 1.9 million working families will be on the road to economic independence.
Financial Stability Framework:
United Way's financial stability work begins with tools and strategies that help families increase and maximize their income in order to meet daily expenses, as well as to begin the longer-term process of saving and building assets.
Our nation's personal savings rate in 2006 was a negative 1 percent, the lowest since the Great Depression. Though saving is important for individuals and families at all income levels, it is especially critical for low- to moderate-income families, who often have no assets or access to credit and have a harder time remaining financially stable during changes in income due to illness, job loss or other unforeseen events. This underscores the importance of saving and provides access to products/services that make it easier to do so.
Gain and Sustain Assets
As people increase their income, enter the financial mainstream through relationships with financial institutions, build savings and reduce their debt, they will be better positioned to make choices about their financial well-being. These choices may include asset purchases such as a house or a vehicle, retirement and/or college savings, or the creation of a small business. This step offers strategies for individuals and families to achieve their asset goals and, once they have done so, to continue to build and sustain their assets in the long term.