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Finance and Assets

A Few Thousand Dollars, Sparking Prosperity for Everyone: A Book Talk with Robert E. Friedman


The Aspen Institute is pleased to host Robert Friedman to discuss his new book “A Few Thousand Dollars: Sparking Prosperity for Everyone” on Monday, October 22 at Noon.

Nearly half of Americans do not have a few thousand dollars to weather an unexpected illness, job loss, or accident. This causes many Americans, especially in communities of color to be locked out of the mainstream economy, unable to add their talents, work, and dreams, unable to share in the bounty of this economy. Without a nest egg most Americans cannot invest in their future—and the future of our country—through saving, entrepreneurship, education, and homeownership. We can—and we should—do better.

Helaine Olen, author and journalist, will moderate a conversation with longtime leader in the field of asset-building Robert E. Friedman as he demonstrates how a few simple policy changes would address wealth inequality—and build a better economy and a stronger country for us all. In six sharp, compelling chapters, accented by sixteen original black-and-white illustrations by Rohan Eason that present the realities of income and asset inequality and explain the needed policy interventions, Friedman addresses savings, business, education, home, and prosperity to articulate a vision for making inclusive investments without spending an additional dollar. This is an investment with a huge return: the redemption of the American promise of prosperity for all and closing the racial wealth divide.


Robert (Bob) Friedman, @prosperitybob, is the Founder, Chair of the Board and General Counsel for Prosperity Now. A recognized pioneer in the asset-building and economic development movement, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development from President Bill Clinton in 1999. He helped create the U.S. microenterprise, savings and asset-building fields and the international economic development and child savings fields. Currently, he is focused on economic development strategies that ensure an inclusive economy where all children and adults have a reasonable opportunity to save, go to college, start a business, buy a home and otherwise build an economic future for themselves, their families and the country as a whole. 


Helaine Olen, @helaineolen, is a contributor to the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog and the author of “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry” and co-author of “The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated.” Her journalism and commentary have also appeared in Slate, the Nation, the New York Times, the Atlantic and the Los Angeles Times, and she’s appeared on both The Daily Show and Frontline to discuss her work, personal finance and public policy issues. She serves on the advisory board of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.



Please contact Nicole Scott at if you have any questions.



Event information
Mon Oct 22, 2018
12:00pm - 1:30pm EDT
The Aspen Institute
2300 N Street NW
Washington, DC