Why Financial Security and Mobility Matters
For more than two centuries, economic opportunity and upward mobility have formed the foundation of the American Dream, and they remain at the core of our nation's identity. An emerging body of research indicates that savings and assets play an integral role in both a family’s short-term financial health and their ability to move up the economic ladder over time. Pew research published in 2013 found that households that left the bottom of the income ladder had six times more savings than those that did not. As policymakers seek to foster economic opportunity, it’s critical that their decisions be informed by a robust and nonpartisan fact base on the status of family balance sheets, and the importance of family financial capital for achieving the American Dream.
How We Conduct Our Work
The project researches family finances to inform the public and policymakers on ways to improve the financial well-being of all Americans. The initiative seeks to understand the impacts of short-term savings on economic stability for different types of families and the major factors that promote and inhibit financial health and upward mobility.
Research & AnalysisView All
The Role of Emergency Savings in Family Financial Security: What Resources Do Families Have for Financial Emergencies?
For the typical family, earnings have grown little over the past decade and income has frequently been volatile, with more than half of U.S. households reporting that income or expenses vary from month to month. Income alone, however, no matter how consistent, does not guarantee that households can accumulate a sufficient financial cushion to protect themselves from the unexpected. One in 3... Read More
In a series of three issue briefs to be released over the coming weeks, Pew shows the extent to which households are financially vulnerable when faced with a financial shock. The briefs provide insight into the financial risks that Americans face and the impact of shocks on family balance sheets; households’ level of preparation to address emergency needs; and the implications of... Read More
The Role of Emergency Savings in Family Financial Security: How Do Families Cope With Financial Shocks?
Most households have a set of relatively fixed expenses that they expect to pay each month, and a financial shock—such as a car repair or a loss of income from fluctuating work hours or a pay cut—can make meeting those obligations much more difficult. Over the course of a year, households of all types are likely to experience such shocks, which affect every aspect of family balance... Read More