Financial Inclusion

Having Fun while Saving at Tax Time

January 8, 2013
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Asset building practitioners are regularly trying to make the case that saving can be fun. It's a tough sell. The Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D Fund) is a big believer that harnessing the excitement behind lotteries, sweepstakes, and other competitions can help make saving more fun and more successful for individuals. Their work on prize-linked savings has shown that "'winning' is a powerful and motivating experience for savers and prospective savers." D2DFund is making some serious headway in making saving fun this year with a new tax-timed savings promotion called the SaveYourRefund Sweepstakes.  Here's how it works:

The SaveYourRefund Sweepstakes makes taxpayers a winner this tax season with chances to win $250 in weekly drawings or a grand prize of $25,000 by saving just $50 of their federal refund! Beginning February 1st, 2013 and running through April 15th, 2013, all U.S. Citizens and legal residents over age 18 that are due a federal tax refund can save a portion of that refund using IRS Form 8888 and enter the sweepstakes.

FDIC is Focusing on Saving and Financial Inclusion

January 4, 2013
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Just of few years ago, the FDIC seemed like a sleepy banking regulator hidden somewhere in Washington DC. Sure, we were all glad it was there to offer insurance on our bank deposits but you would be forgiven if you thought that was all it did.  The Great Recession and financial crisis of 2008 certainly changed all that. The elevated profile of the FDIC made Former Chair Sheila Bair a household name (at least in households tuning into current events).

The Fiscal Cliff Deal: Making Mortgage Writedowns Possible

January 4, 2013

Tucked away in the pages of the tax bill that averted the Fiscal Cliff (which Aleta Sprague reviewed here) is a crucial lifeline to struggling homeowners. Known as the Mortgage Debt Relief Act,  thousands of homeowners who go through a mortgage modification, short sale, or foreclosure correction will not owe federal taxes on that debt forgiveness. This is a big deal.

Asset Building News Week, January 1-4

January 4, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include the fiscal cliff deal, financial products, housing, credit and debt.

Report: Swapping Payday Loans for Auto-Title Loans in Ohio

December 20, 2012
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Beginning in 1996, Ohio saw an explosion of payday lenders. Over time, this was recognized as a problem, as the short terms and high interest rates of payday loans were seen to create a trap for borrowers. So the state legislature passed a law imposing new lending regulations that would better protect borrowers. That law, the Short Term Loan Act, was endorsed by voters in a statewide referendum.

I'm just a bill, sitting on Capitol Hill, problem solved, right? Well, no.

Guest Post: Promoting New Efforts to Get Kids to Save and Get Kids to College

December 19, 2012
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Editor’s Note:This post was authored by Michael Chasnow. Michael is the Operations Manager for the 1:1 Fund, an online community, conceived and capitalized by CFED, that promotes educational opportunity for low-income students. He received an MBA and masters in urban planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Graduating college is a critical step for children from lower income families aspiring to join the middle class. According to 2012 Postsecondary Education Opportunity Research, only 10% of low-income children living in families in the bottom quartile of income (~$33,000 and below) graduate from college by their mid-20s. This low graduation rate severely limits their future opportunities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals with a college degree earn on average over $900K more in their lifetime than high school grads, and, as the Lumina Foundation argues, more college graduates in the work force also benefits the U.S. economy by helping to create jobs. Additionally, graduating college increases one’s chances of gaining employment (and thus building wealth), with college graduates’ unemployment rates at 3.8% and workers with high school degrees at 8.1% as of November 2012.

Asset Building News Week, December 10-14

December 14, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include the social safety net, inequality and wealth gaps, housing, and financial institutions.

Event in NYC Thursday: Managing Shifted Risk

December 12, 2012

Our friends and readers in the greater NYC area should take note that we're co-hosting an event tomorrow eveing, Thursday December 13th from 6:30 pm to 8:15 pm, at the New America NYC space at 199 Lafayette Street, Suite 3B in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.

Asset Building News Week, December 3-7

December 7, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include housing, taxes and wealth gaps, the safety net, and financial products.

CGAP's Technology Blog: From Social Protection to Financial Inclusion and Beyond

November 26, 2012

This post was orginally published on CGAP's Technology Blog.

The idea that linking social protection payments to financial inclusion initiatives can reduce poverty is gaining increasing traction. In February of this year, CGAP published a paper on Social Cash Transfers and Financial Inclusion. In April, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held a workshop examining the potential of financially-inclusive electronic G2P payments. One of the core goals of the Better Than Cash Alliance, launched in September by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, UN Capital Development Fund, USAID, and Visa Inc., is to reduce the reliance on cash for G2P and other transfers in order to improve the effectiveness of aid.

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