By J. Collins
A Fragile stability examines options to advertise emergency rate reductions, in particular between underserved households.
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Extra resources for A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers
In such an event, households may plan to use savings or formal credit, borrow informally from family or friends, increase income with additional labor, sell possessions, or invoke a combination of these strategies. Unlike the three-month threshold, the amount needed to meet this benchmark—$2,000—does not vary regardless of the household’s income or expense level. Those unable to cope with a $2,000 shock are considered financially fragile (Lusardi, Schneider, and Tufano 2011). Lusardi, Schneider, and Tufano’s results indicate about half of US households could not come up with $2,000 in one month.
Almost half of Americans are “liquid asset poor,” meaning they lack even a modest amount of accessible savings to tap into in the case of an emergency (Brooks et al. 2014). Liquid savings and long-term savings or assets are quite different forms of financial resources. Using long-term savings as liquid savings can have serious consequences. For example, withdrawals from retirement or education savings accounts often come with significant financial penalties. Likewise, borrowing against home equity can be difficult, especially in the short term.
Higher-income households are much less constrained, suggesting that focusing emergency savings initiatives on lower-income households could be a useful strategy. National Financial Capability Study The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation’s NFCS was designed in consultation with the US Department of the Treasury and the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. The 2012 NFSC sample includes about 25,000 responses collected through an Internet-based panel with approximately 500 respondents in each state and the District of Columbia.