Why Most Americans Can't Afford a $400 Bill - Rachel Schneider (Author of the Financial Diaries, and Entrepreneur in Resident at the Aspen Institute's FSP) followed 235 American families to understand why so many American's still feel financial duress...
Why Most Americans Can’t Afford a $400 Bill
Rachel Schneider is the Omidyar Network Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (FSP), and co-author of The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty. Described as a “must-read for anyone interested in causes of – and potential solutions to – American poverty” by Publisher’s Weekly, The Financial Diaries challenges conventional wisdom about inequality. As a social entrepreneur, Rachel is launching a new effort to explore how the social contract should evolve as a result. She is particularly interested in how small, strategic cash infusions can go a longer way by helping families at pivotal moments in which they simply don’t have the cash on hand that they need. She is developing hypotheses about how cash infusions can not only be stopgap measures, but also be a bridge toward stability and an investment in mobility. She is seeking partners with whom to expand and test those hypotheses by designing and implementing prototypes, and drawing attention to the range of solutions that can help families in need.
For the last decade, Rachel has lead many of the projects at the heart of the work of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), where she is still a Senior Advisor. She is both a conceptual, and a practical thinker, with an unusual ability to think both about big ideas and about the smaller steps that can be taken today. Her research has been cited in the nation’s largest publications, and she is a highly sought-after consultant, writer and public speaker.
Rachel began her career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch & Co., but credits her commitment to the potential for innovative finance to solve major social problems from her days as a VISTA Volunteer (now AmeriCorps). She holds a J.D./M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from UC Berkeley
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What is American Enough?
America's identity is evolving in real time. Immigrants are being scoffed at for looking a certain way and not being "American" enough. Transgender individuals are being determined not "fit enough" to serve in our military. Sexual assault and neo-nazi behavior is being condoned by the Oval Office. The First Amendment is being ridiculed. And, America's moral authority is eroding internationally, begging the question of who is "enough" of an American ally.
Former Obama White House senior advisor and Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Commerce, Vikrum Aiyer, is joined by journalists, comedians, politicians, activists, and listeners, to unpack this crucial existential moment for our nation's identity.