Red States, Blue States: Fragile Financial State



I must have heard the phrase “our work is now more important than ever” at least 100 times about 100 different issues since election day. But for the 18,000 low-income Americans across all fifty states who have joined EARN since October 1st, improving the financial health and stability of their families was always their most important priority.

Whether you live in Omaha or Detroit, San Francisco or Phoenix, the fear of not having enough regular income to pay your bills tops the list of concerns for the 90 financially-struggling Americans EARN spoke to in a recent round of interviews.

No matter where you live – or who you voted for – crippling financial instability is causing almost constant stress for too many, as described by a consumer in Phoenix, AZ “I have enough to pay my bills, but anytime something goes wrong, I’m back in the hole.”

More than one in three told us they worry about money every day, and 55% said they are concerned about the employment and income status of themselves or their spouse.

While most are fairly confident they can cover their day-to-day expenses, that confidence generally comes with a serious caveat.  As a respondent from Richmond, VA put it “if I don’t get sick, I feel definitely confident I can cover [my expenses]”.

EARN is dedicated to constantly improving our programs based on direct feedback from those who know best – clients themselves. EARN’s rigorous and original research, including analysis of EARN’s robust user data sets and extensive interviews, allows us to rapidly respond to the needs of our growing online community. EARN is listening – and taking swift action.

Based on requests from our members to offer more savings account options, we recently added four new financial institutions to our platform. With the addition of Capital One 360, BBVA, Simple and Ally we now support savings accounts at 15 financial institutions.

Today our Savings by Design initiative launched a major partnership with NeighborWorks America to boost emergency savings for low-income families across seventeen NeighborWorks housing sites. Together, we plan to help 350 affordable housing residents save their first $500 and gain greater financial stability.

This is good news (and right now we could all use a little good news). EARN’s bold push to address America’s savings crisis head on is starting to have impact. And we are just getting going.

A successful EARN Saver from Memphis, Tennessee said it best: “I learned that every little bit counts as long as you don’t give up. Things will come up and life will happen but if you stick to saving it WILL be worth it in the end.”

The resilience and optimism of our Savers is a daily inspiration to me: every little action counts. Don’t give up. Join us, in believing and investing in the dreams of hardworking people all across this country.

Best wishes,

Leigh Phillips
President & CEO