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Behavioral Economics

MyRA for Renters? Sounds Familiar

May 14, 2014
Josh Barro has an interesting column for the New York Times today on how we can promote savings for renters. Homeownership, he acknowledges, is a method of “forced savings”: “Every month, you write a check to the bank, part of which goes to pay interest, and part of which goes to reduce the balance of your loan. Over time, you own more of the home. In a country that doesn’t save enough, forced saving is a real virtue of owning a home.” Renters miss out on that built-in wealth-building opportunity.
Barro goes on to present a creative idea to help renters save too: “Why not also allow landlords to participate in myRA, with tenants able to roll a retirement savings contribution into their rent checks?” MyRA is a proposal from the Obama administration that would improve access to retirement savings accounts through the workplace for employees who are currently underserved. (MyRA also happens to be the topic of a new policy paper that my colleagues put out this week, which you should read here.)
I agree with Barro that building a savings option into the act of paying rent is a good idea. Automation helps people do something they likely wouldn’t consciously do otherwise. In fact, it’s such a good idea that the federal government has been doing something very similar for over 20 years, through its Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

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.

The Sidebar: The Law of Drones and Relaxation

February 15, 2013
Rosa Brooks scrutinizes the leaked Justice Department memo that aims to provide legal rationale for the administration's drone program. Brigid Schulte introduces us to surprising research on how to be happier, healthier and more productive. Elizabeth Weingarten hosts.

Investing in Girls

  • By
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • Nicole Tosh,
  • Jamie Holmes,
  • New America Foundation
October 11, 2012

Over the last decade, anti-poverty initiatives across the developing world have increasingly focused on gender-based strategies, and in particular, on achieving equality and empowerment through gender-focused program innovation. While important progress has been made in the last several years, men still outnumber women in paid employment in almost every region of the developing world, with more women working informally, and in more vulnerable employment positions, than men.

Treasury’s MyMoneyAppUp Challenge and the MOOLAH App Idea

October 2, 2012
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Last week, my colleague, Eric Tyler, and I participated in the MyMoneyAppUp Challenge hosted by the US Treasury, D2D, and CFSI. The Challenge encouraged ordinary citizens to come up with an idea for an app that would improve the financial capability of Americans.

Discussant Comments on Implications of Field Experiments on Designing Savings Products & Programs for Lower-Income Consumers

September 27, 2012

On September 27, 2012, Pamela Chan spoke as a discussant on the Savings Panel at the 2nd Annual FDIC Consumer Research Symposium. Her comments are available here, or for download under the related files section to the right.

FDIC 2011 Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households Highlight Opportunities for Bank Savings Accounts

September 13, 2012
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Yesterday, the FDIC released a new report detailing the results of the 2011 Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households (“Households” Survey). The first survey was done back in 2009. The FDIC is required by legislative mandate to survey banks’ efforts to serve the unbanked and will continue doing the Households survey every two years. Key findings from the report, as summarized by the FDIC, are:

  • 8.2 percent of U.S.

Event Summary: Building Better Savings Products

August 2, 2012
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On Tuesday, July 31, the Asset Building Program hosted an event which investigated innovative savings programs for low-income Americans. “Building Better Savings Products,” moderated by Senior Policy Analyst Pamela Chan, brought together a group of panelists who have all been trying to tackle the issue of access to financial services in various ways.

NEW DATA: Teens in Poor Nations Seek to Save More Money For the Future

August 1, 2012
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Originally posted on youthsave.org

New Research Explains Savings Habits of Young People in Developing Nations

Next Steps in Youth Savings: Policies, Products & Profitability

July 30, 2012

Last week, the YouthSave consortium held a timely event to discuss new research exploring the financial lives of youth. Currently, a third of the world’s population is under the age of 19, and young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. The panelists attempted to shed light on how financial institutions could alleviate the pressures of this youth bulge and help create meaningful financial products and economic opportunities. In the event’s closing remarks, Alexia Latortue, Deputy CEO of CGAP, offered a realistic and on-point breakdown of the opportunities and challenges at hand.

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