While it has long been understood that low-income families struggle with limited financial resources, it is equally important to understand the way in with their lives are rife with financial volatility as well. From increasingly contingent and tenuous employment situations to reliance benefit programs with complex rules and challenges understanding and accessing credit, these families regularly face challenges related to the unpredictable, dynamic nature of their financial lives.  With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have only been amplified. In this brief backgrounder report, the International Rescue Committee looks at the nature of financial volatility in the lives of vulnerable, low-income families and provides suggestions for practitioners and policymakers interested in improving the economic wellbeing of these families.