Financial Inclusion

Wealth Inequality Goes Viral

March 7, 2013

I first saw this video on the Facebook page of a friend I consider to be wildly apolitical. Now it's been seen 3.5 million times, and been written up by Ezra Klein, Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic...that's right, a video about wealth inequality has gone viral.

We've been talking about wealth inequality for years, so it's really exciting to see someone else reframe information that's been out there and use new methods to drive the attention of the public to a critical issue.

Guest Post: Using Tax Refunds to Build Savings

March 6, 2013
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Editor’s note:This blog post was authored by Jerry Kelly, National Director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Ready.Save.Grow. campaign. 

Encouraged by recent economic gains and lower levels of household debt, Americans are seeking greater financial stability by making saving a priority.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we saved 6.5 percent of our disposable personal income in December 2012, up from 3.4 percent in December 2011. That translates to $805.2 billion in annual savings.

At the same time, however, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) reports that almost half of our households don’t have enough savings to fall back on in the event of an emergency.

Asset Building News Week, February 25-March 1

March 1, 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 household balance sheet, cash and payments, higher education, housing, and public benefits.

Mythbusters: Payday Lending Version, Part II

February 28, 2013
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Last year I analyzed four myths about payday lending that the Pew Charitable Trust’s “Payday Lending in America” project proved to be highly suspect in the first iteration of their study on borrowers. Their newest report (How Borrowers Choose and Repay Payday Loans) goes into more depth, revealing a love-hate relationship between borrowers and high-cost, short term loans. The report tells a conflicting story of dependence, need, stress, relief, and any other emotion associated with finances that you could think of. Borrowing from the Mythbusters again, here’s the skinny on Pew’s new report.

"The Difference Between Living in Your House and Sleeping in Your Car"

February 27, 2013

At this week's "Can America Save Itself?" event, attendees were able to hear four distinct policy proposals that would work to increase the amount and rate of savings for American families. Not necessarily barn-burning stuff for the average viewer.

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.

Events Explore New Retirement Savings Ideas

February 14, 2013
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Two events this week explored some important policy territory for government supported retirement savings accounts. First, at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a panel of experts and policymakers met on Tuesday to discuss the future of retirement security in light of proposed cuts to Social Security, the marked shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans, and the possibility of state-level action to ensure greater access to savings opportunities. Yesterday, an event at Brookings explored the implications of a recent study suggesting that tax incentives may be an ineffective tool for promoting retirement savings. While each discussion featured a range of perspectives, both highlighted the success of default features like automatic enrollment and explored the potential of retirement accounts tied to the worker rather than the workplace. Still, the question remains: how can retirement policy effectively help workers both contribute to their accounts and maintain their balances until retirement age?

Asset Building News Week, February 4-8

February 8, 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 housing and homeownership, savings and debt, consumer protection, and inequality.

Experts Converge on Beijing to Discuss Lifelong Asset Building

January 28, 2013
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By Katie Stalter, Center for Social Development

This was originally posted on The Center for Social Development's site.

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