A study finds nearly a quarter of all Iowans have no financial cushion to rely upon if there’s a serious event in their lives, like getting fired or being in a serious car accident. Jennifer Brooks, spokeswoman for the national nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development, says “asset poor” is the term used in the report and Iowa ranked 12th in the U.S. for asset poverty.
“So what we found in Iowa is that nearly 23% of households were asset poor, meaning, they didn’t have enough income to meet their day-to-day needs at the poverty level if their income was interrupted,” Brooks says. “So if they lost a job or they had some kind of medical emergency, 23% didn’t have enough to sort of make it.” She says the financial security of Iowans was slightly better than the nationwide picture.
“When we last did the score card in 2009, 22% of households were asset poor,” Brooks says. “That number’s increased to 27%, so Iowa’s doing a little bit better than the national average but there are still a significant proportion of folks in Iowa who really can’t make it.”
Another measure used in the study of residents’ financial instability goes one step beyond asset poverty and into a category called liquid asset poverty. “To get that measure, we basically take out some resources like a home or a car or a business that would be very difficult to turn into cash if you lost your job to figure out what resources people actually have,” Brooks says, “so it’s money in the bank, retirement savings, that type of asset that they could easily access.”
In Iowa, 29% of residents were liquid asset poor — nearly one third of the population. The survey ranks all 50 states in 52 measures of financial security. See the full report at: “scorecard.cfed.org“