Today's weak economy, highlighted by job layoffs, high unemployment, and limited lines of credit, underscores the need for families to have savings to draw on during an emergency. Yet, the majority of low-income families have too few assets to weather emergencies. Even prior to the current recession, 57 percent of low-income families were liquid asset poor. This article discusses low-income families' asset holdings and promising policies aimed at addressing their short- and long-term needs. The package of proposals addresses the needs of families over the life course and considers the tension inherent in meeting families' short- and long-term asset-building goals.
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