Savings

Watch: Saving Up Doesn't Have to Be This Taxing

July 26, 2013

Editor's note: This post originally appeared on New America's In The Tank Blog.

Earlier this week, New America's Asset Building Program released a policy paper calling on Congress to drastically reform the tax code in order to effectively encourage saving. We spoke to Reid Cramer, Director of the Asset Building Program, on what's wrong with the current tax code; whom it's hurting; what promising reforms are currently in the works in Washington; and why this is so important for the U.S. economy.

Congressman Serrano Announces Intention to Introduce Financial Security Credit in House

July 25, 2013
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On Monday we released our paper “Personal Savings and Tax Reform: Principles and Policy Proposals for Reforming the Tax Code,” which included our proposal for a flexible, accessible Financial Security Credit for ordinary families. On Wednesday, Congressman José Serrano (D-NY-15) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to the House of Representatives announcing his intention to introduce the Financial Security Credit in legislative form. In the letter, Congressman Serrano said:

Currently, many American households are unprepared to meet short-term and long-term financial needs. More than 43% of American households lack the savings to cover basic living expenses for three months if a layoff or other emergency causes a loss of their current income. Without such a safety net, during financial emergencies many families are forced to rely on suboptimal options such as expensive credit cards and exploitative payday loans that then compound the difficulty of their financial situation, rather than helping solve it.

Playing the Long-Game on College Financing

July 22, 2013
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Sometimes when I need to motivate myself to do something, cheesy as it may be, I think about how it will benefit "future me." "Future me" will enjoy wearing the clean clothes that "present me" washed. "Future me" will be able to get out the door faster because "present me" packed my son's daycare bag. It works because, like Michael J. Fox a la Back to the Future, I know that "future me" will someday be "present me" and it will pay off. We could use more of this thinking when it comes to federal policies that help students pay for college.

Asset Building News Week, July 15-19

July 19, 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 savings, child poverty, and a few quick hits.

Paper Release: Personal Savings and Tax Reform

July 22, 2013
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With Congress locked in a seemingly endless loop of disagreement and dysfunction, hoping for a big, bipartisan effort to reform our tax code seems more and more like wishful thinking. Still, there are signs of promise. Senator Max Baucus and Representative Dave Camp, both chairmen of their respective tax-writing committees, launched a nation-wide “road show” last week to bring attention to the need for tax reform. While much of the attention generated by the effort has focused on the big money of corporate tax reform, a more urgent issue for average Americans is reforming personal savings incentives. A new paper that I co-authored with Reid Cramer explains why our current system, though supposedly providing generous tax incentives to save for retirement, homeownership, and education, actually fails to support savings among lower- and middle-income Americans and, in doing so, wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year.

Event Summary: Saving Financial Aid

July 15, 2013
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Today, the Asset Building Program co-hosted an event with the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) at the University of Kansas. The event focused on new research on the issue of children's savings for college and how policy can better help low- and middle-income students both get to college and stay enrolled. The research from the field is clear: having a savings account in a child's own name has a positive impact that is sustained even when controlling for family income, educational background and other important factors. A new AEDI report Building Assets, Delivering Results: Asset-based Financial aid and The Future of Higher Education was released at the event and is available now for download. We've done something new for this event and summarized the conversation in a Storify. Check it out here, or scroll to the bottom of this post to read it.

Upcoming Event: Saving Financial Aid

July 11, 2013
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The Asset Building Program is looking forward to hosting an event this coming Monday morning in collaboration with the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) at the University of Kansas. Join us on Monday, July 15th at 9:30 am here at our office in D.C. or live online. The event, Saving Financial Aid: Expanding Educational Opportunity and Reimagining the Way We Pay for College by Promoting Children’s Savings, will explore the relationship between savings and educational outcomes, the potential for policy to support the savings of lower-income Americans, and the importance of including an assets-perspective in the higher education financial aid conversation.

New Resources: Asset Limits Website and Policy Papers

July 11, 2013
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Today, the Asset Building Program is unveiling a new online resource about asset limits in public assistance programs. Asset limits have been a hot issue recently in the Farm Bill debate, with the House version of the bill calling for the elimination of states’ flexibility to set their own asset policies for SNAP. Though the House bill failed, the asset limit discussion isn’t over – particularly amidst new proposals to remove SNAP from the Farm Bill entirely, which some predict could be a strategy to pursue even bigger cuts.

This new resource, Modernizing Asset Limits: Promoting Savings, Simplicity and Self-Sufficiency is designed to serve as a tool for policymakers and the public about asset limits in both SNAP and other public assistance programs. It is accompanied by two new written products: a policy statement articulating a clear case for reform of asset limits across programs, and a SNAP-specific issue brief, which complement our recent research paper analyzing the state-level impact of asset tests on program access and administration.

Asset Limits in Public Assistance Programs

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2013

For many low-income families, slight changes in their financial circumstances can have dramatic consequences on their wellbeing. Missing a rent payment when hours at work are cut, missing meals when winter comes to pay for heat instead, or missing an opportunity to move to a safer neighborhood because there isn’t money for a security deposit. In these situations, even a small amount of additional resources can make the difference between getting by, falling behind, or getting ahead.

Asset Limits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • By
  • Rachel Black,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2013

Savings, even in modest amounts, have been shown to create a protective buffer within a family’s budget that minimizes these negative outcomes and promotes the positive.Ideally, savings would play a complementary role to the system of safety-net supports that are designed to provide temporary assistance to families for purchasing basic goods and services.

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