Building assets requires the building of knowledge and information about finances. The weakening of the job-based system of retirement saving and health insurance means Californians need to understand today’s complex financial marketplace, and navigate an array of products and services available from a variety of financial services providers.
For low- to middle-income families who have fewer financial resources to begin with, a solid grounding in personal finance and a clear understanding both of the options and of the implications of financial decisions are critically important. California has a stake in ensuring that all families have access to adequate financial products and services, including banking, savings, and wealth-building opportunities, so that they can confidently take control of their personal finances.
The Asset Building program supports the incorporation of K-12 financial education in California’s curriculum, and has been working extensively with cities across the state on local programs and policies addressing the problem of lack of financial services for working families.
We develop and advance various pieces of legislation that address the need for financial education. In 2010, we are sponsoring AB 2457, which would create a Financial Literacy Fund, and AB 2581, the statewide Banking Development District measure. Bills from past sessions have included the 2008 bill that codified the state’s financial interest in reducing consumer debt, bolstering savings, and deterring financial predicaments like those evident in the current foreclosure crisis, and created the Financial Services Corps, a dedicated cadre of financial planner volunteers committed to helping low and middle-income Californians make sound financial decisions.
We also work at the local level- we were instrumental in the city of San Francisco's Bank On movement, its recently launched Payday Plus SF loan alternative, and have worked with the city of Los Angeles on Bank On LA and the City Council's Banking Development District ordinance.
For more, see Local Initiatives.
"The poorest families among us are given limited access to income supports and social services. This approach misses the potential of assets to help chart a path out of poverty. If we are to successfully broaden savings and assets ownership, our policy efforts must be expanded, strengthened, and directed toward those with the greatest need." - The Assets Agenda