February 28, 2023
Retiring in America isn’t easy. From underfunded 401(k)s to forgotten IRAs, retirement in America is fraught with challenges. These challenges are exacerbated by deficits in financial literacy that disproportionately impact groups that are at a higher risk for financial insecurity in retirement—including those with low incomes, minorities, and women.
Black people in the United States have, on average, lower earnings, higher unemployment rates, lower rates of homeownership, and less access to traditional banking services—all factors that contribute to economic disparities between their households and White households. Racially discriminatory housing practices, including redlining and blockbusting, contributed to unequal homeownership rates between Black and White Americans in the twentieth century, with the effects still being felt today. Considering the importance of homeownership in building wealth, we will illustrate how these practices have contributed to the racial wealth gap.
In August 2020, the Federal Reserve released its new monetary policy framework: the strategies, tools, and communication practices it employs to achieve its congressionally mandated goals of maximum employment and price stability. The new framework is based on a 20-month review during which Fed officials traveled the country and met with a wide range of organizations to hear about how monetary policy affects people’s daily lives and livelihoods. This framework states that the full employment mandate is viewed as “broad and inclusive.” Given the uneven recovery from the economic recession caused by the pandemic, what does this mean in practice? How can the Federal Reserve help ensure an inclusive form of full employment while also addressing its price stability mandate?