Keep It

We have all heard the laments from rural people who work hard but just can’t seem to make ends meet. Even when they earn decent wages, families struggle to get by, let alone get ahead. Though counter to conventional wisdom, which notes the lower property costs in most, though not all, rural communities, the cost of living in rural communities can be high. So Earning It is not enough. Working families also need to Keep It. Families need affordable goods and services—located where they can easily get to them.

Lasting Outcome

When Rural Family Economic Success happens, it’s easy to see tangible signs in a community.  Here’s what it looks like when families are able to Keep more of what they earn:

kWorking families have access to and make good choices that safeguard their family income and lower their cost of living, forging stable and predictable financial lives.

This means that a family sets financial goals, builds a mainstream banking relationship, improves its credit record, obtains affordable financial services, accesses available tax benefits and public and private support to close the gap between income and expenses, and obtains their family’s essential goods and services at reasonable prices.


The RuFES approach includes 8 Keep It goals that, if met, contribute to sustained family economic success.  Follow the links below to find common sense reasons for why a goal is important, fast facts that back up the importance of the goal, and action ideas that rural communities are using to help families plant their feet firmly on the Keep It road toward family economic success.

Count Every Dollar: Establishing Financial Health

Make Every Dollar Count: Protecting Income and Decreasing Costs

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RuFES is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group.
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C., 20036