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Solving the Retirement Puzzle with myRAs

May 12, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building Program released a paper today examining the potential of the Obama Administration’s myRA proposal to provide a meaningful savings opportunity for low- and middle-income Americans. The paper, “Solving the Retirement Puzzle: The Potential of myRAs to Build a Personal Safety Net,” examines the myRA program within the context of other recent policy proposals to address the looming retirement crisis. While many of the recent proposals have promise, they almost uniformly lack one key element to achieving widespread retirement security among low- and middle-income workers: supporting access to flexible resources that can be tapped in an emergency. This is where the myRA proposal stands out: it permits flexible withdrawals.

Solving the Retirement Puzzle

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Justin King,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • Aleta Sprague,
  • New America Foundation
May 12, 2014
The growing recognition that millions of Americans are ill-prepared for retirement has prompted a number of state and federal policy proposals to promote retirement security. Yet even the most promising proposals fail to acknowledge a prerequisite to sustaining long-term savings: access to flexible resources that can be tapped in an emergency or can support productive investments that can pay off over the long haul.

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.

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.

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.

Upcoming Event: Building Better Savings Products

July 27, 2012
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The Asset Building Program is looking forward to convening a panel of experts this coming Tuesday to look at savings product innovation geared toward low-income U.S. consumers. RSVP to attend in person or watch live starting at 12:15 Eastern time on Tuesday July 31.

Saving for a rainy day is an increasingly important priority for Americans of all income levels, but with limited resources to set aside, saving is a daunting task particularly for lower-income people. Unfortunately, the prevailing features for many basic savings accounts, such as minimum balance requirements and limited distribution, may not support the savings goals or meet the needs of many lower-income people.

Designing Attractive Savings Products for Lower-Income Consumers

June 12, 2012

On June 15, 2012, Senior Policy Analyst Pamela Chan spoke at the Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum Roundtable Café.

Savings Innovations in the Workplace

June 12, 2012

Senior Policy Analyst Pamela Chan spoke at the Grassroots and Groundwork Conference on June 7, 2012 about the AutoSave Pilot. AutoSave is a unique non-retirement savings plan that automatically diverts post-tax wages – through payroll deduction – into a high-quality and low-cost savings account, targeted to expand opportunities for low-income workers to build their personal assets. Once initiated, savings deposits are automatic and occur each pay period.

The AutoSave Pilot: Automating Savings for Workers by Linking Savings Products to Direct Deposit

June 12, 2012

On March 26, 2012, Senior Policy Analyst Pamela Chan spoke on a panel at the American Payroll Association Capital Summit entitled Promoting Paycards and Direct Deposit. Her presentation, The AutoSave Pilot: Automating Savings for Workers by Linking Savings Products to Direct Deposit, is available for download or to the right, under Related Files.

White House Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment

May 16, 2012
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Last Thursday, The White House hosted the first ever Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment.  Did you hear all about it?  Probably not – it somehow slipped the evening news. 

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