Explore Explore

The financial challenges and the solutions available to solve them are evolving. At Commonwealth we explore the "new". In this section, read about our newest ideas and thoughts.

Financial Security in the Workplace: Building A Foundation for Financial Wellness

Recent years have seen human resource professionals and advocates focus on employee financial wellness. Employees’ financial wellness, the thought goes, is a critical element of their overall wellness and impacts their performance at work. At Commonwealth, we have been exploring how this trend…

Using Facebook for Consumer Insights and Awareness

Connecting with financially vulnerable people is critical to our success. With the growth of social media, Commonwealth recently tested Facebook ads as an easy, and potentially cost-effective, way to raise awareness and hear from financially vulnerable people. We piloted this tool with two different…

Learnings from Boston Saves

CSA programs can provide many benefits to students, families, and communities. Commonwealth believes that they should be designed to meet the needs of the users they seek to benefit. In partnership with the City of Boston, Commonwealth conducted research with 100 Boston Public School families betwee…

Building Commonwealth in 2018

2018 is an exciting year of new work at Commonwealth. A few highlights of our year ahead include exploring new financial challenges faced by the financially vulnerable, testing new solutions to those challenges, and collaborating with partners to scale initiatives. Financial Challenge: Workers wor…

Tax Refund Splitting Can Help Families Save

From Berkshire County to Barnstable, one thing binds Massachusetts residents together: taxes. Tax time happens predictably every year, and a tax refund is often the largest single payment of money a household receives all year. While much of that refund may be…

The CFPB’s Data Sharing Principles

In October, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released “Consumer Protection Principles: Consumer-Authorized Financial Data Sharing and Aggregation.” These principles acknowledge the growth and promise of tools that, with user permission, access and use data from users&rsquo…

Board Reflections: An Interview with Brigitte Madrian

Board Reflections is a series of interviews with Commonwealth board members discussing their views on emerging financial challenges, innovative solutions, and the future. It is difficult to miss something you never had.  And what you call something makes a difference. Brigitte Madrian, a memb…

Supplementing Health Expenses with Savings

Commonwealth is committed to building the financial security of financially vulnerable people, and one of the factors that is increasingly contributing to financial insecurity is health expenses – the average annual deductible grew 125% from 2006 to 2015, causing out-of-pocket health care cost…

Board Reflections: An Interview with Howell Jackson

Board Reflections is a series of interviews with Commonwealth board members discussing their views on emerging financial challenges, innovative solutions, and the future. Personal choice.  Personal responsibility.  It is hard to argue against that pair of values. Yet while that is true i…

Opportunities of Hybrid Financial Products

by Commonwealth and Aspen Institute On May 18, the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (FSP) and Commonwealth convened leaders from the financial services, FinTech, investor, non-profit and human resources communities to explore the promise of “integrated” and “hybrid&rdquo…

Improving Financial Security Through Employer Benefits

Financial volatility caused by health expenses is a barrier to financial security. According to a study by JPMorgan Chase Institute, many families take at least 12 months to recover financially from a major medical expense. Can personalized data spur a behavior change in saving for medical expenses?…

Rise with your Raise: Linking Work to Financial Security

States, counties, and municipalities across the country have passed legislation to increase the minimum wage for 19 million workers, offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to build their financial security. At Commonwealth, we’re looking at how we can partner with workers, employers, financ…

Gifting Savings

A national survey by the Federal Reserve found that only 53% of respondents could cover a $400 emergency expense without selling something or borrowing money. This drops to 25% for households with incomes under $25,000. In addition, less than half of those making under $40,000 a year repor…

A New Framework for Innovation in the Federal Banking System

Federal regulatory agencies are often perceived as barriers to innovation, particularly in the financial services sector. However, there are efforts underway to change that perception. Last week the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a new framework for responsible innovation i…

Minimum Wage Hikes – What if….

What if the coming minimum wage increases could be used to build financial security and opportunity for working families? Since 2015, significant momentum for minimum wage increases has spread across states and employers, affecting millions of low-wage workers. The recent energy around minimum wage…

Auto Loan Payment Schedules – What if…

What if there was an auto loan with a customizable repayment schedule based on fluctuations in borrowers’ monthly income and expense? Access to reliable transportation is crucial to a household’s financial security and opportunity. In many places, public transportation can be limited, s…

Save Your Tubmans in an MLK, Jr.?  Yes, Please.

The day after the announcement in April that Harriet Tubman would be the new face of the $20 bill, the Treasury Department tweeted an image of four major national newspapers heralding the move on their front pages. The New York Times called it nothing short of “the most sweeping and historical…