Teetering: Why So Many Live On A Financial Tightrope And What To Do About It

Ken Rees

Nearly half of American adults walk a financial tightrope. They live paycheck to paycheck, in constant danger of job loss or unexpected expenses. Following decades of rising income instability and falling savings―not to mention the twin economic upheavals of the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic―they have become the new normal.

Rather than treat “Tightropers” as victims or blame them for their financial decisions, Teetering lets them tell their own stories of setbacks, sacrifice, and perseverance, and provides original research into their unique pressures and needs.

Tightropers deserve support at all stages of their lives to build savings for both daily emergencies and long-term retirement. Teetering shows how legislators and regulators can make a difference without unintended consequences and how financial technology innovation can help Tightropers manage their money in uncertain times.

Teetering makes the case for urgent action by financial institutions, investors, regulators, policymakers, employers, and influencers to recognize and address the financial forces that have pushed the American dream out of reach for so many. It proposes common ground solutions that work regardless of political leaning and provides a roadmap for how innovators can serve this growing need and how banks and others can start saying “yes” to their customers again.

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