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Report: Nearly half of WV residents lack savings

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CHARLESTON (AP) — Nearly half of West Virginians have almost no savings to carry them through crises such as the loss of a job or a serious health problem, the Corporation for Enterprise Development said in a new report.

Forty-seven percent of residents have no financial cushion, including a majority of residents who live below the federal poverty level of $23,050 for a family of four, the organization said in its 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, which was released Wednesday.

The report called people who cannot pay basic living expenses for just three months "liquid asset poor." A family of four needs more than $5,762 in savings to meet basic needs for three months.

"In order to cope with the recession's continued impact, these families have had to prioritize today's expenses over tomorrow's goals," Andrea Levere, the organization's president, said in a news release.

West Virginia was ranked 23rd among the states and the District of Columbia for residents' ability to become financially secure.

The report recommended several policy solutions, including increasing the state minimum wage and create a self-employment assistance program.

"The Assets for All Coalition is committed to working with the West Virginia Legislature to enact laws that would promote the financial security of low-wealth persons," said Michelle Foster of the West Virginia Assets for All Coalition. "We will particularly be focusing on legislation that would invest in entrepreneurship, increase incomes, connect residents to the financial mainstream, protect homeowners and build assets."

The report evaluated 53 measures, including home ownership, low-wage jobs and the rate of uninsured low-income children.

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Online: http://cfed.org

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.