In the United States, building financial literacy early in life is critical to our country’s future economic health. Five years into our economic recovery, nearly half (44%) of households are “liquid asset poor,” according to 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). This means a family has less than three months of savings and no slack in its budget, leaving the household vulnerable to credit card debt or predatory loans to cover the next car repair or emergency room visit.

These financial pressures are also prevalent in our military population, which faces unique challenges, especially for young veterans who can be preyed upon as they learn to manage a steady income for the first time. We are excited to be kicking off the design and development phase of the Financial Readiness for Returning Veterans program, a pilot funded by American Express that brings together the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust,,, and the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education.

Then there is technology as a tool of financial empowerment. Significance Labs’Rebank does just this by making it easier for low-income New Yorkers to compare their banking options, which can be confusing and hard to find because of restrictive minimums. So does Neighborhood Trust, a national leader in financial empowerment services and products that is now piloting PayGoal, a program designed for low-wage workers employed by small-to medium-sized firms.

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