Friday, January 17, 2020: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Independence BR G, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Inequality, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy (IP&SWP)
Yunju Nam, PhD, School of Social Work
David Rothwell, PhD, Oregon State University
In this era of extreme inequality, it is imperative to enhance financial capability and to promote wealth building among marginalized populations. First, the wealth inequality is wider and more serious than any other economic indicators (Keister 2000, Pew Research Center 2013). Second, wealth plays a critical role in long-term economic security and development as it protects households from falling into poverty in the event of an economic shock (e.g., unexpected job loss) while providing an opportunity for upward mobility (e.g., financing college education and business start-ups) (Nam, Huang, and Sherraden 2008). Accordingly, encouraging and facilitating asset accumulation among economically vulnerable populations is essential in fighting widening economic inequality. However, our current knowledge on financial capability and asset-building among marginalized populations is far from complete: the lack of empirical evidence explaining the causes and impact of low financial capability and wealth ownership prohibits us from developing and implementing policies and interventions for these populations. This symposium presents findings on financial challenges and asset-building among racial and ethnic minority groups, immigrants, exploited older adults, and indebted young adults. Four papers in this symposium address two Social Work Grand Challenges: Reduce extreme economic inequality and Building Financial Capability for All. The first paper, Language Resources and Asset Ownership among Immigrants in Western New York examines the role of language resources in immigrants' asset ownership. This paper differs from the existing literature in that it pays attention to household- and community-level language resources in addition to individual ability to speak English. The second paper, Socioeconomic Inequities in the Impact of Debt on Young Adults' Financial Wellbeing tests whether the impacts of debt on young adults' subjective financial well-being (SFWB) differ by family background. This study shows that negative impacts of heavy burden of debt are more severe among young adults from disadvantaged families than their counterparts from advantaged families. The third paper, Financial Exploitation among Older Adults: Qualitative Study of University Law Clinic Clients shows the devastating impacts of financial exploitation on older adults' psychological and emotional well-being. This paper also presents the positive effects of the intervention at a University Law Clinic on financially exploited older adults. The fourth paper, How Much Does Wealth Matter in the Racial Health Gap? investigates associations between racial wealth disparities and the health gap. By comparing wealth and health statuses among Whites, African Americans, and Latinos, this study's findings suggest that reducing wealth inequality would reduce racial/ethnic health disparity. Taken together, these papers expand our knowledge on the challenges faced by marginalized populations, which is essential in developing effective social work interventions.
* noted as presenting author
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