What is Asset Building?

Income by itself does not create wealth. ‘Assets’ move families beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck. Traditionally assets include bank accounts, savings, homeownership, businesses, education, investments and retirement accounts, and property ownership. However assets can also include good credit, emergency savings and citizenship. Assets are powerful tools for financial well-being. Children of families with savings are more likely to climb the wealth ladder especially children of low income and working families. Asset ownership is associated with higher rates of college attendance and completion. In short, the combination of these assets creates financial security for low income, working and middle class families.

Asset-building refers to a wide range of strategies and efforts such as financial education, purchasing a home, starting a retirement account, pursuing education and workforce development opportunities that lead to higher paying jobs, starting savings accounts for college and retirement, starting businesses and more. Asset-building gives people the opportunity to build their own financial future with partners in education, banking, business and community programs. The bottom line is that we are all in the asset-building business for ourselves, the people we serve and the communities we live in.

The Idaho Asset Building Network is a movement-oriented group of practitioners, advocates, policymakers and others statewide working to expand the reach and deepen the impact of asset-based strategies. The Network is guided by a group on the front lines of service delivery, coalition building and policy advocacy.