New Ideas

Opportunities for Innovation: New Actors

Commonwealth is always looking for changes in the landscape that could lead to either new financial challenges or opportunities for new innovative solutions. Over the last year we have engaged in an extensive research project and have identified four areas (payments, insurance, decision making, and …

Opportunities for Innovation: Decision Making

Commonwealth is always looking for changes in the landscape that could lead to either new financial challenges or opportunities for new innovative solutions. Over the last year we have engaged in an extensive research project and have identified four areas (payments, insurance, decision making, and …

Viewpoint: FinTech Group Says New Sector Must Fulfill a Mission

This article originally appeared in the Boston Business Journal on September 21, 2018. As the Boston region’s entrepreneurs, bankers, venture capitalists, regulators, and technologists gathered around the Hub during Boston FinTech Week earlier this month, one important set of voices was under…

Leveraging Investors to Boost Employee Financial Security

At Commonwealth, we are exploring the role employers can play in the financial well-being of their employees. Our publication Financial Security in the Workplace: Making it Work for Financially Vulnerable Workers makes the case that businesses can support the financial security of their workers in w…

Promoting Financial Security at Tax Time

Come January each year, millions of American households prepare to file their income taxes. Financially vulnerable households—who may have limited or no tax liability and/or qualify for tax credits—commonly file for and are due tax refunds. In 2017 the IRS issued more than $300 billion i…

Using AI to Build Financial Security: 3 Questions Financial Institutions Should Ask Themselves

Over the past year, Commonwealth has hosted a series of Savings Innovation convenings in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (the Boston Fed) for banks, credit unions, and key regulators in the region. Each session focused on a different approach to address the troubling national sta…

The Changing Nature of Work: Amplifying the Voice of the Financially Vulnerable Worker

Commonwealth believes that society is more prosperous when everyone has financial security and opportunity, and employment is a primary avenue of opportunity. For many people, the nature of work is in flux. To understand how the financially vulnerable experience the changing nature of work, Commonwe…

Financial Security in the Workplace: Innovative Employer Strategies

The pressures of financial insecurity make it challenging for financially vulnerable workers to do their best work. In our last post and in our recent publication, Financial Security in the Workplace: Making it work for Financially Vulnerable Workers, we discussed the impact of financial insecu…

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…

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…

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?…

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…

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…