The Asset Building Program at New America is going offline to celebrate the holidays. We’ll be back in full swing the first week of January. But before we start rolling out our New Year’s resolutions, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the year past. In that spirit, we leave you with our Best of Assets 2015 collection. Over our holiday break, we’ll be tweeting these links and others to showcase our favorite moments from the past year. You can follow the conversation and contribute your own favorites on Twitter via #Assets2015!
The Asset Building Program
Best of Assets 2015
POLICY: Moving the ball down the field
“Nationwide Launch of myRA is a Promising Solution to The Retirement Savings Gap” highlights the national launch of myRA, which stands to provide a simple, affordable, safe, and flexible savings option for millions of Americans.
“New America’s Asset Building Program Commends Proposed Child Savings Account Legislation” praises Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-M.N.) for introducing legislation to create universal, progressive child savings accounts.
“New Financial Security Credit Legislation Could Help More Americans Save” relates the introduction of legislation to encourage a higher household savings rate nationwide by incentivizing savings by low- and moderate-income earners at tax time.
“Guidance on State-Based IRAs” describes proposed regulations by the Department of Labor that created a safe harbor from ERISA for state-sponsored retirement programs that meet certain provisions. This allowed several states to move forward with their automatic-IRA proposals.
RESEARCH: For a deep dive into our policy proposals
Retirement Security Federalism in Action: An Analysis of the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program highlights the role that state-based retirement programs can play in securing prosperous retirements for private workers.
Flexible Savings: The Missing Foundation for Financial Security describes the significance of liquid savings that can be tapped without penalty and identifies policy interventions to promote such flexible savings.
YouthSave 2010 – 2015: Findings from a Global Financial Inclusion Partnership presents a concise summary of knowledge generated and lessons learned from this five-year project.
Leveraging Public Assistance to Promote Financial Inclusion: A New Approach for TANF notes that from asset caps to transaction fees, TANF not only fails to support saving and financial inclusion, but also often actively discourages it.
ARTICLES: Our policy innovations in short form
“Give the Unemployed a Second Chance” Rachel Black and Aleta Sprague argue that being unemployed shouldn’t make you unemployable and explore the idea of a second chance economy.
“Don’t Tax College Savings Yet” Justin King took President Obama and his critics to task, and proposes that the 529 college savings system could be transformed into an important tool for low- and moderate-income Americans, as innovation is being tested at the local level.
“The Post Ownership Society” Monica Potts discusses how the “sharing economy” allows Millennials to cope with downward mobility, while making them poorer.
“A Poor Way of Measuring Poverty” Patricia Hart and Rachel Black investigate the shortcomings of the federal poverty measure and recommend holistic approaches for understanding and addressing poverty in America.
EVENTS: With videos for your viewing pleasure
“Going (for) Broke: Improving the Financial Health of Millennials and Beyond” explores promising models to help young people navigate complicated financial terrain.
“The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Erodes the American Dream” examines new approaches to enroll and graduate students fully prepared for life.
“A 21st Century EITC: Fighting Poverty in an Age of Income Volatility” reimagines the potential of the Earned Income Tax Credit as a tool to build savings and buffer economic shocks.
“The Color of Debt: Investigating Debt Collection and the Racial Wealth Gap” considers the racial wealth gap, discrimination in debt collection, and where policy can make a difference.
QUOTES: Overheard in the Assets Building Program
“Asset limits are antithetical to the idea of promoting self-sufficiency.” – Rachel Black, The Washington Post
“Now that everyone is on the record saying college savings is so great, what are we going to do to about this 3% uptake rate?”– Justin King, MainStreet
“The state of wealth inequality in America is a choice, clearly reflected in a set of regressive tax policies that have shifted the burden away from accumulated capital.” – Reid Cramer, Washington Times
PARTNERS: What’s happening in the field
2015 was a remarkable year for the asset building field. The issue of emergency savings joined wealth inequality at the fore of public consciousness and was highlighted consistently by prominent national organizations. Children’s Savings Accounts continued to grow in stature and impact. Here’s just a sampling of some of the most exciting developments we noticed from our friends and partners in asset building:
CFED launched the Campaign for Every Kid’s Future, designed to raise awareness of Children's Savings Accounts and provide at least 1.4 million children with accounts by 2020. CFED drove attention to the potential of the tax time moment with a new proposal to boost savings through a Rainy Day EITC.
The Pew Charitable Trusts put the spotlight on household finances in 2015, releasing reports on The Precarious State of Family Balance Sheets and The Role of Emergency Savings in Family Financial Security.
The JP Morgan Chase Institute examined proprietary data from their customers and found intense financial volatility and a lack of savings, read Weathering Volatility: Big Data on the Financial Ups and Downs of U.S. Individuals.
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, CFED, and many other partners collaborated to produce What It’s Worth, a “roadmap for what families, communities and our nation can do to move forward on the path to financial well-being.”