At Treasury, we want Oregonians to better understand how to make money work for them, and how to get ahead financially. We also know that not everybody is starting from the same place.
State Treasurer Tobias Read recently launched Treasury’s Financial Empowerment Advisory Team, with a goal of making financial education tools more prevalent and accessible to those who need them most. Financial empowerment initiatives from this Treasury-led group are created with the idea that every Oregonian can benefit from more financial capability, confidence and wellness.
A key part of Treasury’s efforts is to highlight how equity and racial equity impact financial education and empowerment in underrepresented communities. For too long, the path toward opportunity for many Oregonians has been impeded by race-based obstacles.
To help advance this important conversation, Treasury and the Oregon College Savings Plan were among the sponsors of a racial equity focused conference in October that considered ways to lower barriers to financial security.
The agenda included conversations about addressing “wealth stripping,” the fees and government penalties that disproportionately impact people in poverty, and an overview of studies that have considered the racial wealth gap in Oregon.
The RE:Conference! was presented by Neighborhood Partnerships, a Portland nonprofit that tackles priorities like housing justice and economic justice, and also helps connect low-income Oregonians to subsidized asset-building programs like Individual Development Accounts. The nonprofit has developed financial education curriculum that prioritizes equity and reflects cultural and racial differences in how people talk about money and wealth.
Attendees came from a cross-section of social service providers, Oregon sovereign tribes, consumer protection entities, financial businesses such as credit unions, government agencies, and nonprofits including AARP Oregon.
Treasury-administered savings plans offer low-barrier and tax-saving ways to save for retirement, college and job training, and disability-connected costs.
“As Oregonians, we are all in this together,” said Treasurer Read. “Everyone deserves accessible financial resources, education and tools to build a more secure future, and we were pleased to help present this important forum.”
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