The Power of Community to Create Lasting Financial Health

Sawa research in partnership with Common Cents Lab, part of the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University

My sense of community springs from my childhood: I grew up in southern Mississippi. Most of the people in my community didn’t have access to the economic rails that many people take for granted: a checking account, the ability to walk into a bank and get a loan. They would have been denied. 

Good Information Crowds Out Bad Information

When I was a senior in high school, I was accepted into Harvard. When the envelope arrived, I thought, This is a lovely piece of paper, but I can’t go. We couldn’t afford it.

On a phone call with my parents and the Harvard admissions counselors, they asked us, “How much can you contribute?” 

We’re Better Together: How We Can Pool Risk So No One Is Financially Alone

Five thousand years ago, Chinese merchants were transporting their goods by boat on the rushing river — a faster, yet riskier method than by land. Some boats survived, some were lost to the rapids. Did they decide that it was too risky to take the water? Nope, simply that it was too great a risk to bear alone. They pooled their risk by distributing their goods among each others’ boats, so each boat carried a bit of everyone’s load — and put the boats in the water with the security that when one sank no one would to absorb the entire loss on their own.¹

Cognitive Biases That Lead to the Splitting of America

38% of Republicans said they would “feel somewhat or very upset at the prospect of their child marrying someone from the opposite party,” according to research from a 2020 Economist/YouGov poll. Likewise, said exactly the same percentage (38%) of Democrats. We haven’t always felt this way. In 1960, people hardly shrugged at the question — only 5% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats said they would be upset.

Fifty Percent of the United States Owns Only Two Percent of Its Wealth

Take the population of the U.S. and split it down the middle. There’s half. Now, take the wealth of the U.S. and split it down the middle (50%), then half it again (25%), and again (12.5%), and again (6.25%), and again (3.13%), and finally slice off just a bit more (2%) — there’s two percent.