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A solid ‘D’ for family financial security

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To the editor,

Recently the Corporation for Enterprise Development released its 2007-2008 Assets and Opportunities Scorecard that measures the financial security of families in the U.S. by looking at the whole picture of building assets and protecting against financial setbacks.

The scorecard also looks at 38 key policies that have greatest potential to impact financial security.

North Carolina received a solid “D.”

We earned our D because we lag behind in particular areas, such as helping families achieve financial security, succeeding in starting a business and attaining a higher education.

Though our score is disheartening, it is important to note that North Carolina is taking some of the right steps to ensure a better grade and a better future for our people.

The Financial Education and Asset Building Conference held recently brought several hundred people together to propagate best practices for saving and building wealth.

The record attendance of individuals, nonprofits and advocates was greater than that achieved in any other similar events in any other state.

Our General Assembly took several key steps in the recent legislative session to improve family financial stability, including expanding access to children’s health insurance through the new Kids Care program; passing North Carolina’s first Earned Income Tax Credit that will return $48 million to the pockets of low-income working families; and increasing North Carolina’s recurring investment in the Housing Trust Fund — a key program to create affordable housing.

Advocates have also come together to created a public policy task force to draft and recommend future changes to the legislature.

NC Saves continues to gain momentum with more than 3,500 registered savers and an active network of partner financial institutions.

These steps will help ensure a higher grade for North Carolina on future financial security scorecards, and will also improve the lives of North Carolinians by providing greater opportunity.

Our challenge now is to stay the course and build on our momentum.

Jill K. Cox, United Way of North Carolina, Raleigh

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