In the Houston MSA, 12 percent of households live in income poverty, but more than three times —39 percent—are financially vulnerable. Financially vulnerable households lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses for three months in the event of an emergency, such as a job loss or health crisis. With a limited number of options, these “liquid asset poor” working families can get caught in a vicious cycle of debt. The inability to bounce back from financial pitfalls is not only a detriment to families but also to the economic growth of the cities in which they live.
In the fall of 2017, for some residents of the greater Houston-area, a financial pitfall was right around the corner. Heavy rains and flooding as a result of Hurricane Harvey led to a financial crisis for individuals, families, and businesses alike. Those who were financially prepared generally were able to recover more quickly; however, no one escaped the effects of this natural disaster. HMW’s classes and events help lay the groundwork for a recovery, enabling Houstonians to develop the financial skills they need to be prepared in the face of catastrophic loss and other emergencies. When people receive financial education, they are more likely to save, have sound credit and manage their money. Financial education is a key milestone in achieving financial stability – and why Houston Money Week continues to engage community organizations to partner in this effort. HMW helps people establish positive relationships with financial institutions, a critical part of sound financial management. Having the proper insurance protection in place enables individuals to maintain financial stability and plan for and recover from emergencies. Houston Money Week raises awareness throughout the community about the importance of using financial products and services responsibly, managing money proactively and building skills create a solid financial footing.