The Challenge and Opportunity

What is the Future of Wealth?

Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, drawing on its ability to convene leaders across the financial security field and create convergence around ideas to help families thrive, aims to advance a new wealth agenda and reimagine the Future of Wealth for households across America. In order to envision and advance a new wealth agenda, our goals must be ambitious, specific, and urgent enough to enable us to hold ourselves accountable for measurable change.

In the decades leading to the 2020s, the US has experienced historic levels of income and wealth inequality.

The bottom 50% of the population holds less than 1% of the nation’s wealth, a low point not seen since the 1920s.

Wealth inequality exists on racial, gender, sexual orientation, generational and geographic lines.

There has been no increase in wealth held by Black households over the past seventy years.

We believe that transformational change requires innovation, trust, leadership, and entrepreneurial thinking. With a set of strategic partners — including established leaders in the financial security field, funders and philanthropic partners, corporate and community leaders, policymakers, and innovative researchers and thought leaders — we will host deep, deliberate private and public dialogues and elevate evidence-based research and solutions that will strengthen the financial health and security of financially vulnerable Americans.

We must also explicitly utilize a reparative lens, with the goal of increasing the wealth of black and brown households by meaningful and measurable amounts after too many decades as the target of wealth-stripping actions.

To do so, we seek to activate policy reforms, market innovation, and leadership from people experiencing the burdens of wealth disparities.

Realizing our vision will mean millions of families across the United States attain financial security and can build enough wealth to enable full participation in society, personal agency, and dignity. The benefits will flow to individuals, communities, the economy, and our democracy. The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program has partnered with the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank to outline a better vision for the future.

Our publication, The Future of Building Wealth, includes 63 original essays from 106 invited contributors, offering novel ideas to build the balance sheets of struggling US families.