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Policy Issues

Policy Issues

CFED’s policy work focuses on issues at the federal, state and local levels and spans across the nine issue areas below.

Flexible Savings

One in five Americans has zero or negative net worth, and nearly half of households do not have a basic personal safety net to prepare for emergencies or future needs. Policies such as Individual Development Accounts, Children’s Savings Accounts, Support for Emergency Savings, Support for Retirement Savings and Prize-Linked Savings are helping bring these families back from the edge of financial insecurity.

Financial Capability and Inclusion

From understanding the meaning of one’s credit score to having access to a bank account, financial education and access are essential to one’s ability to build and protect assets. Much like physical fitness, financial fitness is a lifelong habit that requires constant maintenance. Policies such as financial education in schools to access to affordable and quality financial products and services, aim to bring financial education and access to families who need it the most.

Consumer Protection

Oftentimes, low-income, less-educated borrowers serve as easy targets for predatory lenders and debt collectors. While financial education can help individuals become informed consumers of financial products and services, consumer protection policies can help ensure that families and individuals are protected against predatory practices found in these markets.

Taxes and Tax Time

The federal government spends more than $540 billion per year helping Americans save and build assets, mostly on tax breaks for homeownership and education savings. Unfortunately, most of these tax incentives go to high-income earners, while low- and middle-income workers get little to nothing.

Homeownership

Owning a home is still one of the most important ways for low- to moderate-income and minority households to build wealth and move up the economic ladder. Yet, these households face a number of barriers to homeownership, like high down payments, high closing costs, and a credit market that makes it challenging for many working families to obtain quality mortgages.

Entrepreneurship

Many of our country's lowest-income workers turn to self-employment as a means of creating a job or to supplement a low-wage job. Entrepreneurship can be a pathway out of poverty, but many entrepreneurs are in need of support. Unfortunately, millions of Americans involved in microbusinesses (defined as businesses that require $35,000 or less in start-up capital and have five or fewer employees) or small businesses face disadvantages in establishing and operating their own businesses, including women, minorities, low-income individuals and people with disabilities.

College Savings and Children's Savings

Lower-income children with up to $500 saved for college are three times more likely to go to college and four times more likely to graduate. College savings can create a pathway to postsecondary educational success, but current federal support for college savings is inequitable.

Racial Wealth Divide Policy

The Racial Wealth Divide Initiative was launched in 2015 to help CFED address racial wealth inequality in a more comprehensive and targeted manner. Below are policy publications that have come directly out of that initiative. For more information, visit the Racial Wealth Divide page.

Retirement Savings

Nearly half of all working-age adults have no retirement savings, and those who do have far too little to maintain an acceptable standard of living in retirement. While most Americans face this uncertain future, the support that does exist in the form of federal spending is going to the highest income Americans, rather than those who need support the most.

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