Session: Reducing Financial Precariousness and Promoting Long-Term Financial Security (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

116 Reducing Financial Precariousness and Promoting Long-Term Financial Security

Friday, January 13, 2023: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Paradise Valley, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Inequality, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy
Symposium Organizer:
Yingying Zeng, Ph.D Candidate; MSW; MSP;, Washington University in St. Louis
Financial security is critical to people's wellbeing and key to reaching their potential. However, households' financial security today is threatened by increasing income volatility and limited financial buffers. A growing number of families are experiencing material hardship and mental stress due to financial difficulties. According to the Federal Reserve System (2021), as of 2020, nearly one-fourth of U.S. adults were worse off financially compared to 12 months earlier, and the racial gap in financial wellbeing grew. Marginalized populations, such as low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrants, are at extremely high risk of experiencing financial insecurity due to discrimination, lack of financial access, and insufficient material resources. The purpose of this symposium is to demonstrate factors that contribute to or inhibit financial security among immigrants, a large segment of the socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and propose a new measure to research financial precarity. Discussants of this symposium will offer research and policy recommendations for building long-term financial wellbeing among marginalized populations.

The first study finds that racial/ethnic discrimination commonly experienced by Korean immigrants negatively impacts their financial access. Although this discrimination has no statistically significant impact on their ability to access banking services, it discourages them from applying for credit, which is critical to long-term financial security, and consequently increases their risk of experiencing self-reported material hardship.

The second study reports a negative impact of being unbanked on income-generating financial assets among lawful permanent residents in the United States, with self-selection issues addressed. It highlights the importance of expanding financial access for immigrants, especially for racial/ethnic minorities and those who hold lower socioeconomic status.

The first two studies illuminate financial security through the lens of material resources and financial assets with a focus on immigrant populations. In addition to implications for policies and practices, they also call for research to better conceptualize financial precarity to study financial security issues among different populations.

As an innovative step, the third study takes a holistic approach to measuring financial precarity, which encapsulates both material hardship and psychological distress. This measure sheds light on individuals' financial insecurity through both objective and subjective dimensions and could help policymakers and practitioners better understand the experiences of those struggling with financial difficulties.

Today, social workers promote household financial security by helping clients build financial knowledge, advocating for financial opportunities, and assisting them to improve their financial health. This symposium disseminates research findings on important financial security issues among low-income and marginalized populations. This effort to reduce financial precarity among immigrants and build better measures falls in line with the goals of Building Financial Capability and Assets for All Grand Challenge. Findings from this symposium could be beneficial to researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to address the issue of long-term household financial security among different populations to reduce financial precariousness and improve financial wellbeing.

* noted as presenting author
Discrimination Experience, Financial Access, and Material Hardship: Evidence from Survey of Korean Immigrants in Alabama
Yunju Nam, PhD, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Eun Young Choi, MA, University of Southern California; Cho Rong Won, MSW, University of Alabama; Hee Yun Lee, PhD, University of Alabama
Does Banking Experience Improve Asset Building Among Immigrants? a Propensity Score Analysis
Yingying Zeng, Ph.D Candidate; MSW; MSP;, Washington University in St. Louis
Measuring Financial Precarity with Objective and Subjective Dimensions
Jeffrey Anvari-Clark, PhD, University of Maryland, Baltimore
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