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While Nevada’s economy has begun to improve and people are feeling more confident about the future, Nevadans’ personal finances still have a long way to go toward providing the financial security necessary to connect Nevadans to increasing economic prosperity. We want Nevada’s families to benefit from our economic expansion. The goal behind financial security is to give Nevada families the tools and resources needed so that they can take advantage of the opportunities presented by our economic expansion and so that Nevada is positioned to maximize its growth and diversification.
In this Toolkit we provide information on proven evidence based models that have been successfully implemented around the country and here in Nevada. You will find tools and materials on five specific areas where a focus on financial security has made a difference in helping Americans increase their financial footing.
During the financial crisis, across the country, the economic ladder was broken. Nevada was particularly hard hit such that today 56% of Nevada households do not have sufficient savings to cover 90 days of expenses should there be a job loss, medical emergency or other financial setback. Over 67% of Nevada consumers have subprime credit meaning that they are subject to higher interest rates and fees and restricted choices on everyday financial safeguards such as auto and homeowner insurance. Critically, our median household income fell by 22%, a drop larger than any other state and from which we have yet to rebound.
As Legislators you are naturally in a leadership role to build a partnership with the private sector to ensure that Nevada has the right business incentives, workforce strategies and infrastructure priorities to maximize our economic growth and diversification and that Nevada’s families have the resources to help better their financial prospects and leverage that growth into a stable and robust middle class.
The nonprofit community together with the private sector has already made inroads in a number of these areas. In addition, the state of Nevada, through its Legislators, has also begun to provide certain safeguards against consumer fraud and to address the need for financial literacy in our schools. Now is the time for a data-driven collaborative effort among the public, private and nonprofit sectors of our community to repair the economic ladder and improve the financial security for all Nevadans.
In this Toolkit, Opportunity Alliance has highlighted strategies in six specific areas where our legislature in collaboration with the private sector can facilitate greater financial security among Nevadans. Those areas are:
- Learn: Help Nevadans develop financial skills;
- Earn: Provide Nevadans with income earning potential and tax advantages;
- Save: Provide Nevadans with safe, affordable financial products and services and limit institutionalized predatory lending practices;
- Invest: Create savings and asset tools and resources;
- Protect: Provide legal, regulated and accessible savings and investment tools; and
- Assist: Create a continuum of support for Nevadans to learn, earn, save and
Finally, we offer you the opportunity to test your own financial security. How financially secure are you? You are invited to complete the Financial Security Index. The Financial Security Index asks a series of questions across three categories: knowledge, behavior, and attitudes. By answering the questions you can see how you compare to others like you. You will receive a final score (out of 100) and see how your responses break down across the three categories.