Key is holding a job, not just getting one

In his Reuters Opinion piece, LISC President and CEO Michael Rubinger stresses the importance of financial literacy for low-income working individuals. Through LISC's Financial Opportunity Centers, LISC not only helps people find jobs but also gain the financial know-how to improve their families' economic circumstances.

16 Jan 2013 - Michael Rubinger, LISC President and CEO
(As published in Reuters, Jan. 16, 2013)


In these hard times, many people believe the solution to our nation’s economic ills can be summed up in one word – jobs. But that’s just the start. A stable economy can only exist when every family finds a place in the economic mainstream. Finding that place requires financial literacy.

Michael Rubinger

Yet the basic financial skills much of the middle class learned as teenagers can be a foreign language to the working poor. Real economic inclusion takes savvy – knowing how to handle workplace challenges, stick to a budget, and build good credit. If middle-class and well-off Americans benefit from financial counsel, then why not the working poor?

Financial literacy matters. Far more than half of all Americans will slip in and out of poverty at least once in their lifetime. Struggling to make ends meet is harder when you don’t know the financial ropes. It means continuing to rely on costly, seat-of-the-pants solutions when money is tight – like payday loans and check-cashing outlets.

When you’re poor and you have bad credit, life costs more – car loan rates are higher, cell phone and utility companies demand steep deposits, prospective employers check credit scores. Opening a bank account? Forget it.

What if we could bring real, hands-on financial literacy to those who need it most? An innovative model called Financial Opportunity Centers has shown real promise, helping nearly 30,000 low-income individuals reach economic viability through a three-pronged approach:

First, training and counseling to help clients land a job and keep it. Second, one-on-one financial coaching in such basics as opening a bank account and establishing or building credit. Third, instruction in how to access public benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or housing support. This crucial assistance is something many low-income people may not know about – or may be too proud to claim.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a national nonprofit that invests approximately $1 billion annually in poor neighborhoods across the nation, is bringing this model to those who need it most. Continued[+]...

> Read the full Reuters Opinion piece.


> "Better Ways to Bring Social Programs to Scale" by Chris Walker, LISC Director of Research and Assessment (as published in Philanthropy News Digest's blog, Jan. 11, 2013)

> "Scaling smarter, scaling for keeps" by Chris Walker, LISC Director of Research and Assessment (as published in Stanford Social Innovation Review's blog, Dec. 28, 2012)

> VIDEO: LISC Financial Opportunity Centers

Article Type: Blog Post