Report: Nearly Half of Mainers at Risk of Financial Ruin

CFED finds that families “continue to exist in a state of persistent financial insecurity, making it difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future”

Augusta, Maine (Thursday, January 30, 2014) Nearly half of Maine households are one mishap away from financial ruin, according to a report released today  by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). Treading Water in the Deep End: Findings from the 2014 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard calculated the value of liquid assets-savings accounts, stocks, mutual funds, and retirement accounts. It found that 43.5% of American households and 46.5% of Maine households would fall into poverty within three months in the event of a sudden job loss, medical emergency, or other shock to their finances. In addition to assessing the economic health of low- and middle-income households and small businesses, the report ranks states based on their polices to promote economic opportunity and financial security. 
“Historically, Maine has fared better than most states in CFED’s scorecard and this year is no different, but the report highlights clear opportunities to keep from losing ground in the future,” said Maine Center for Economic Policy executive director Garrett Martin. “Most importantly, Maine must accept federal funding to provide health care for an additional 70,000 people under the Affordable Care Act, and increase the state earned income tax credit and make it refundable.”
On an encouraging note, Martin pointed to CFED’s findings regarding Maine’s performance on certain “businesses and jobs” metrics. Maine has higher rates of small business ownership and new business creation than the nation as a whole. 
“Unlike the ‘report cards’ from sources like Forbes magazine that focus mainly on measures associated with large, multinational businesses, CFED gives more weight to data associated with small businesses,” Martin said.
“Five years into the economic recovery, most American families no longer live in fear of losing their jobs or their homes,” the CFED report states. “Yet, these families continue to exist in a state of persistent financial insecurity, making it difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future. While indicators like unemployment, foreclosure and credit card debt show a slow but steady decline, the percentage of people who do not have a personal financial safety net hasn’t budged.” 
CFED is a self-described multi-faceted organization working at the local, state and federal levels to create economic opportunity that alleviates poverty. The 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard  is the most relevant, comprehensive assessment of economic opportunity and financial security for typical American families.  Over four-and-a-half years since the end of the recession, Maine families are still struggling to find full-time, good-paying jobs and nearly half do not have an adequate financial safety net. To view CFED’s Maine findings,click here