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Savings & Ownership Caucus

What We Talk About When We Talk About Postal Banking

February 20, 2014
Publication Image The Weekly Wonk is a digital magazine and podcast from New America focused on the ideas and policy challenges that will shape our future. In this week's edition, Elliot Schreur from the Asset Building Program explains the dynamics and challenges around a recent proposal for the United States Postal Service to offer financial services.

Young Adults Experienced Financial Side Effects from the Great Recession

October 24, 2013
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Mounting debt, diminishing net worth, insufficient savings, increasing foreclosures, rising unemployment—all painful financial side effects of what has been dubbed the worst economic recession in almost a century. These side effects have been relatively well-documented. Rates of bankruptcy rose 74% and home foreclosures soared as much as 358% in some areas. Unemployment rates peaked at a national average of about 10%, with much higher rates documented for African Americans and Latinos. High rates of unemployment meant potentially fewer wages for day-to-day household needs. With only small amounts of savings or net worth to tide them over, millions of households turned to public assistance programs to sustain themselves. These effects are likely to follow households—and the children who grew up in these households during the Great Recession—for years to come.

Student Loan Debt May Put Young Adults in Financially Precarious Standing

May 13, 2013
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Student loan debt has been in the news a lot these days. In the last week, a number of news outlets wrote about mounting student loan debt and the delaying of life events by their borrowers (see ABC News, the Chronicle of Higher Education, CNN Money, the NY Times [here and here], and the Wall Street Journal, to name a few). The article in the NY Times provides a great example of this, "Consider Shane Gill, a 33-year-old high-school teacher in New York City. He does not have a car. He does not own a home. He is not married. And he is no anomaly: like hundreds of thousands of others in his generation, he has put off such major purchases or decisions in part because of his debts."

Children are Potential Future Investors who can and do Accumulate Savings

February 27, 2013
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This is America Saves Week, which is an annual campaign that encourages nationwide discussion on savings and promotes good savings behavior. For those of us in the asset-building field, this is an opportunity to elevate research on the relationship between savings and life outcomes. This research can help justify the importance of good savings behavior, especially when these habits and behaviors start early in life. So in honor of America Saves Week, here are some of the research highlights from the asset-building field. Specifically, these highlights come from our research at the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) at the University of Kansas School of Welfare, where we are studying the relationship between children's savings and their financial and educational outcomes later in life.

Bring Back Postal Banking!

February 15, 2013

David Dayen has a nicely written piece up on Pacific Standard ("Signed, Sealed, Delivered") arguing that  a "two birds, one stone" solution exists within the current struggles of the United States Postal Service. He argues that we could improve the USPS' bottom line and strike at the heart of the challenges faced by unbanked and underbanked Americans by allowing the USPS to offer basic financial services.

Accumulating Wealth is related to Youth’s Math Achievement

November 8, 2012
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The link between household wealth and youth’s educational outcomes has been confirmed by numerous research studies, finding that youth tend to do better educationally when their households have more wealth (click here and here for more information). A new paper from the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare confirms the relationship between household wealth and math achievement for youth from the U.S. and Ghana. The paper adds a unique contribution to existing research.

Event Summary: Saving (at) the Post Office

June 27, 2012
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Tuesday, June 26, the Asset Building Program hosted an event in conjunction with the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus to explore the concept of postal savings as a potential mechanism to promote small-dollar savings among ordinary Americans and to provide additional revenue and an updated service portfolio for the U.S. Postal Service. Justin King, Federal Policy Liaison with the Asset Building Program, began by outlining the issues at stake: a postal service struggling to stay afloat, the toll the recession has taken on the personal finances of Americans amid long-standing shortcomings in personal savings, and the potential role that the United States Postal Service could play in providing savings accounts and other small banking measures to Americans, particularly those poorly served by large financial institutions. He cited recently released data from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances that shows that Americans increasingly want to save for emergencies, but that many struggle to do so. He then introduced author and Princeton University professor Sheldon Garon along with his book, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves.

Event Tuesday: Saving (at) the Post Office

June 25, 2012
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New data from the Federal Reserve confirms what many have long known: that vast numbers of Americans continue to lack the necessary savings to support a financially stable life. Household savings are much more robust in many other countries, thanks to long-standing efforts to make small-dollar savings institutions available to every citizen. In other leading nations (notably Germany, France, and Japan), basic banking is often performed at a surprising institution--the Post Office!

Summarizing the Research: The Impact of Student Loans on College Graduation

May 9, 2012
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The topic of student loans is being debated in the Senate this week, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle hoping to pass legislation that would curb rising interest rates. Without legislation, interest rates on federal student loans will double from their current rate of 3.4% to 6.8% beginning on July 1st. A recent article in the New York Times provides a good summary of this debate.

Tax Time 2012: The Importance of the EITC

January 24, 2012

As noted by Hannah Emple on Friday, Tax Time 2012 is here. Every year brings some degree of change to the Tax Time process.

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