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Reflection on Our Consumer Debt Convening

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Blog Excerpt

Roughly 30 experts from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors came together to discuss the state of consumer debt research, the biggest drivers and impacts of consumer debt, whether certain types or amounts of consumer debt pose a danger to household financial health, and the possible influence of macro economic trends on consumer debt.

By EPIC

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Aspen’s Expanding Prosperity Impact Collaborative (EPIC) held the first of two private convenings on consumer debt on November 6-7 in Winchester, Virginia. Roughly 30 experts from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors came together to discuss the state of consumer debt research, the biggest drivers and impacts of consumer debt, whether certain types or amounts of consumer debt pose a danger to household financial health, and the possible influence of macro economic trends on consumer debt.

Those in attendance took a holistic view – focusing not just on the most well-known sources of debt like mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards, but also student loans, payday loans, auto title loans, and non-loan debt like past-due medical or utility bills and municipal fines and fees. The convening is part of a larger, 24-month process – similar to the one EPIC led on income volatility in 2016-17 – that will ultimately attempt to build convergence around the most pressing questions in need of further research and the most promising solutions for helping low- and moderate-income families overcome the potential negative consequences of consumer debt.

This work was inspired in part by the St. Louis Fed’s Tipping Points research, which has been spearheaded by FSP Senior Fellow Ray Boshara. And this month’s convening was recently featured – and partially summarized – in FSP Senior Fellow Tim Ogden’s Financial Access Initiative newsletter.

Watch our video on the EPIC process.

EPIC
INCOME VOLATILITY|CONSUMER DEBT

Income volatility is not a discrete, boutique problem. It's a new normal for American households.

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