Think of the people you know who live paycheck to paycheck. Whether they see themselves as teetering on the edge or doing OK, they’re vulnerable to what comes next. If the wheels stay on the bus, the household keeps it together. When one comes off – due to illness or job loss or increases in expenses like child care – those who have emergency savings or family to rely on can get back on track. Those who don’t can easily slide deeper into instability and poverty. In the short term this means missed mortgage payments, missed days at work, or deteriorating health. In the long term, it can have devastating effects on individuals, families and communities. Wealth, defined even in its most modest terms, is what helps individuals and families ride out the inevitable uncertainties of life.