Children's Savings Accounts

Research, Practice, and Implications for Policy Design

The American Dream is built upon the enduring values of equal opportunity and personal responsibility. Ensuring that this dream remains attainable depends upon America being able to promote these values among rising generations. Research and experience in the field consistently supports the thesis that children's savings accounts (CSAs) can provide a vehicle to support these objectives. These accounts can serve as a magnet for savings and investment from families and communities, and meaningfully promote increased savings, responsible financial behavior, and achievement that can facilitate the climb up the economic ladder. Previous CSA proposals have attracted the attention of policymakers across the political spectrum, and with renewed leadership,CSAs can be a foundational element of a bipartisan opportunity and economic mobility agenda.

This paper reviews the research foundations for this policy idea, describes the proliferation of recent policy efforts in diverse contexts, and considers some of the key policy design questions relevant for a federal policy effort.

ATTACHMENT:

Children's Savings Accounts

Authors:

Justin King is policy director of the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. In this position, he works to develop and advance innovative public policies that expand economic opportunity by broadening access to high-quality financial products, increasing savings and growing asset ownership.

Rachel Black is the co-director of the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. In this role, she leads research, analysis, and public commentary around a portfolio of issues devoted to creating a more equitable public policy approach to  advancing a new vision for social policy that allows all families to thrive in an era of growing risk, uncertainty, and inequality.

Reid Cramer is director of the Millennials Initiative at New America. Previously, he served as the Asset Building program's research director and as a co-director of New America's Next Social Contract Initiative.