Project Background

A Fragile Balance: Emergency Savings and Liquid Resources for Low-Income Consumers is the culmination of an effort organized by the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to promote an innovation dialogue around emergency savings for low-income households. The effort was made possible by the generous the support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The effort started in 2012 with a case statement about the need for new financial strategies designed to help low-income individuals and households meet immediate non-recurring expenses. Then, in the fall of 2012, the Center for Financial Security issued a call for papers describing new products, policies, and programs to support emergency savings.

An advisory committee selected the strongest concepts, which were developed more fully for a Salon in May 2013. The Salon was an opportunity for practitioners and researchers from across the country to discuss program and policy innovations to support emergency savings. More information about the Salon including a summary of proceedings is available here. Concepts from the Salon were revised and now serve as the chapters in A Fragile Balance.

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