As New Mexico’s largest city, the City of Albuquerque is working to increase opportunities for economic development and social mobility for all residents. Code for America partnered with the Albuquerque Mayor’s Office to research and build interventions addressing the barriers that residents face in accessing critical information, services, and employment opportunities.

Research

In the United States, New Mexico has the highest percentage of working poor residents (44%), where residents depend on one or more government services to survive. Through conversations with residents, fellows learned that many residents live in a state of financial immediacy. They are consistently one step behind, unable to think about gaining new skills or their future because they're too busy struggling to meet their basic needs.

When “life happens” for many Albuquerque residents – a car breaks down or a family member unexpectedly loses a job – many don’t have enough savings to fall back on. In times of need, residents often reach out to their employers for support because many have exhausted resources from family and friends. Employers often want to help their employees achieve financial stability, but don’t know how.

Solution

The fellows saw an opportunity to provide employers with the tools to help their employees understand and achieve financial wellness. The City could empower communities by encouraging them to be proactive instead of reactive and taking advantage of pre-existing government services. 

Fellows developed the Financial Wellness Calculator so employers can help their employees achieve financial wellness by connecting them to pre-existing government services. Through an anonymous survey, employers can collect attitudinal data (how people feel about their finances) with their behavior (how often they save), to give employers a holistic view into the financial health of their staff.

The Financial Wellness Calculator also creates a community database of financial wellness data that is open for analysis. For example, government officials can see all of the anonymous, aggregated data, from all of the organizations using the platform to see trends and needs in the community, which can help them make better decisions on how they allocate resources to service providers.

Sustainability 

The City of Albuquerque hired one of the fellows as a technical partner to continue building the prototype. It highlights a shift of the City to continue to practice user-centered design and focus on the agile delivery of core services. In addition, WESST and Nusenda will continue to pilot the Financial Wellness Calculator.