Inspired by Michael Sherraden’s pivotal work in 1990, “asset building” emerged as a strategy for helping families escape poverty. Whereas traditional approaches to poverty alleviation emphasized increasing income, recent research has proven that income is necessary but insufficient for solving poverty. Instead, assets—concrete and tangible resources like a home, savings, an education or a business—must accompany income to help families move up the economic ladder.
Assets have been proven to create a financial buffer to weather emergencies, promote success in the labor market, inspire long-term thinking and planning, and enhance the economic and psychological well-being of individuals and their families. To learn more about these and other benefits of assets-based approaches to promoting pathways to financial security, read CFED’s publication, Why Assets Matter.