Roughly one third of American households are living paycheck-to-paycheck and over half of all Americans report not having enough savings set aside in case of an emergency. This problem plagues the middle class and those living below the poverty line. What the groups have in common is financial instability, a circumstance that is heavily influenced by fluctuations in income and spending needs -- and inevitable mismatches between the two. The Atlantic convened participants in a dinner conversation to address the fundamental reasons behind and potential strategies for the alleviation of economic insecurity in American households.
Among the questions asked: Where do current budget allocations for improving financial literacy and stability fail? How can families balance (often unforeseeable) short-term needs with long-term savings? How have borrowing and saving changed in the last decade? Are there any surprising common denominators between families with secure financial histories? Are solutions targeted to specific outcomes, such as retirement security or student loan programs, exacerbating other financial problems? What strategies or programs have been most successful in helping families manage income-spending mismatches effectively? What does the safety net of tomorrow look like?