There was a clear need for more comprehensive, longitudinal research. Participants stressed the need to find appropriate outcome measures and to seek a definition of success in these fields. Additionally, discovering how services fit together and defining a model is needed. Evaluation research will be crucial in looking at interventions like auto payroll deposit and removing asset limits. The limited research about financial education, asset building, and marriage education services for low-income people is an obstacle. Partners may not be confident in the efficacy of the programs, especially programming in fields other than one’s own. Even the number of approaches available and supported by different stakeholders makes it difficult to reach consensus on the three top priorities for improving the stability of low-income families, as evidenced in follow-up discussions with participants.
A debate ensued among participants over the effectiveness of financial education. Some suggested studying cases where it worked and looking at the components to understand why it succeeded. Follow up discussions with participants conducting research in this area, reinforced that conducting longitudinal qualitative research documenting low-income couples and families’ financial decision-making processes and skills would help elucidate financial and savings practices that may be difficult to measure in surveys. This research would be useful for developing collaborative program interventions.