Marriage Education, Financial Literacy, and Asset Development Roundtable Meeting Summary. Next Steps


Potential Next Steps

  • Distributing to participants lists of local providers in other fields.
  • Short exchanges of practitioners to visit each other’s programs in order to better understand what the programs entail and find collaborative sweet spots.
  • Tracking the progress of fledgling collaborative ventures.
  • Distilling resources for practitioners that allow them to better integrate their services or make referrals without having to find and vet each resource independently.
  • Distilling the research-based interventions in all three fields as well as making the case for specific collaborative ventures to all three fields.
  • Finding a way to broaden the higher level policy discussion to include employment, finances, and assets in a broader range of family relationships.
  • Begin to explore the potential for analysis of common drivers of family success, like changing aspirations or expectations for the future.
  • Identify topics that bring together the three fields for further research. For example, health coverage was mentioned repeatedly as a problem for family relationships as well as debt. Also, the focus on the well-being of children may be a way to bridge between marriage and asset development efforts through vehicles like child development accounts. Recent research suggests that wealth may be a more important factor than income in improving child well-being.

Toward the end of the day, participants turned their attention to next steps, specifically what could be done to act on the momentum generated from the roundtable. They stressed the importance of how to collaborate and learning what a successful model looks like. A participant reminded the group that there is no such thing as an ideal model, so focusing on adapting to different service environments would be most effective. Despite learning from each other, there was still a need for more sharing of evidence-based practices and collaborations on smaller scales in order to gain more understanding and establish relationships and referral networks.

Since financial education is commonly included in marriage education programs, expanding the collaboration primarily involves making marriage education a part of financial education programs. It is important that people providing financial education and asset-building programs see how marriage education and related family skills programs coulbeneficial for them.

Increasing exposure is another essential step in beginning collaboration. To widen the awareness and skills of practitioners in each field, participants agreed that cross-trainings, presentations, and symposiums would be useful.

Finally, advocacy was suggested as an arena for collaboration. One attendee pointed out that the asset-building community is relatively small and could benefit from those in the marriage field advocating for inter-related policies, like the issues mentioned regarding asset limits and marriage penalties in public assistance programs. Also, attendees advised taking advantage of the smaller state and local groups, community organizations, and faith-based organizations rather than relying exclusively on the federal government.

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