Finance and Assets

The Real Financial Stories Behind Big Data

December 5, 2019  • Institute Staff

Surveys that demonstrate the ways Americans have trouble making ends meet send a powerful message but leave out important nuance: they cannot examine the vital, on-the-ground experiences of individuals and families in today’s economy. To help tell the full story, the Institute’s Financial Security Program launched the Consumer Insights Collaborative, a unique effort across nine leading nonprofits to collectively understand and amplify data for the public good. The collaborative’s members provide financial security services and products that result in significant data about the more than 325,000 low- and moderate-income households across the United States, creating a rare, detailed view into the financial lives of many Americans. As a result, members identified routinely positive cash flow (income that exceeds expenses in most months) as the cornerstone cushion needed to boost shortterm financial stability, which is the foundation of long-term security. What’s more, the Consumer Insights Collaborative earned an honorable mention in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards for 2019.