Our Impact Our Impact

In this section, you will find briefs, research reports, videos, and infographics that describe our work and the impact it has had on building financial security and opportunity. At Commonwealth we believe that sharing the results of our work inspires others to act.

See below for our featured publications. You can also access All Publications here.


Rules of Thumb for Loan Repayment

Traditional forms of financial education, such as student loan entrance and exit counseling, have proven immemorable and unimpactful. Alternative and innovative solutions are needed, including rules of thumb. Rules of thumb are simple, memorable, actionable, broadly applicable, and inexpensive to pr…

SaveYourRefund 2018

Learn more about the winners and savers from SaveYourRefund 2018.

Integrated Product Design to Build Savings

In December 2017, Commonwealth and The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Boston Fed) hosted a Savings Innovation convening focused on integrated product design. Twenty-one banks, credit unions, and nonprofits in the region gathered to discuss financial security challenges and approaches to addressing…

Six Years of SaveYourRefund

SaveYourRefund (SYR) completed its sixth successful year in 2018. Learn about how it has grown and the impact it has made on tax filers across the country.

Webinar: The Changing Nature of Work

The nature of work has changed, and will continue to change, in ways that are hard to predict. But, all indications are that traditional full-time work for one employer will continue to diminish, while other forms of work arrangements flourish. Commonwealth has engaged in research to increase knowle…

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

For many people, the nature of work is in flux. All indications are that the Traditional full-time job with one employer will continue to become less common as other work arrangements flourish. Those Non-Traditional alternatives are themselves evolving rapidly. To increase knowledge about how these …

The Case for a Well-Designed High-Deductible Health Plan

HDHPs are attractive because they provide short-term cost savings on premiums to both the employer and employee. However, unless they are well designed, HDHPs increase the risk of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for employees. This can lead to medical debt, delayed medical care, missed work, and l…

Raise-Centered Financial Security Strategies: Findings From Rise with the Raise

Across the country, financially vulnerable workers are witnessing increases to their take-home pay as companies boost compensation and jurisdictions raise statutory minimum wages. Through pilot interventions and consumer research with hundreds of workers, Commonwealth has studied how wage hikes…

Financial Security in the Workplace

In America’s human resources community, the moment of “financial wellness” has arrived. In growing numbers, employers are concluding that benefits to support workers’ financial wellbeing should go well beyond retirement benefits. More and more firms believe that personal fina…

SavingsQuest: Gamification Brings Savings to the 21st Century

Commonwealth designed and tested a gamified savings app called SavingsQuest, a modern, accessible approach that facilitates microsaving and reinforces the principle that every contribution counts. As a gamified experience, the app makes engaging in savings behavior more interesting and desirable. Le…

SavingsQuest Infographic

Even with access to savings products, consumers still struggle to actually save. Engagement with video games, however, continues to soar. The problem is that saving just isn't fun, and it isn't associated with immediate rewards. We developed a solution that combines savings with the fun and …

Prize-Linked Savings in Credit Unions: 2017

In 2017, Prize-Linked Savings (PLS) products continued to expand and reach more people. All three of the PLS products highlighted in this piece saw growth, from the flagship Save to Win (STW) product to the two new products from 2016, WINcentive Savings Accounts (WSA) from the Minnesota Credit Union…

Commonwealth 2017 Accomplishments

In 2017, we developed new ideas, tested innovative solutions, and worked with partners to improve the lives of financially vulnerable Americans at scale. Here are just a few examples of the work we're proud of from 2017.

Minimum Wage Survey Results

In 2017, Commonwealth conducted a national survey of minimum wage workers. Our goal was to better understand the unique perspectives and financial challenges of those workers. This infographic shows some of what we learned.

Addressing the Emergency Savings Challenge

In June 2017, Commonwealth and The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (“the Boston Fed”) hosted a convening, “The Emergency Savings Innovation Challenge,” to invite banks, credit unions and key regulators in the region to discuss the financial insecurity crisis and approaches to …

Walmart MoneyCard Prize Savings: One Year Anniversary Brief

Innovative financial products can help financially vulnerable people save money. Walmart’s MoneyCard Prize Savings program, designed in partnership with Green Dot Bank and Commonwealth, is demonstrating that case. Prize Savings uses the chance to win cash prizes to make saving fun and to engag…

Ramp It Up: Gamifying College Financial Readiness

Access to a college education is one of the key drivers of financial security, and financial aid (loans, grants, and scholarships) can make college a viable opportunity for many students. However, understanding how to access such aid requires financial capability and specific knowledge that can be l…

Product Spotlight: Neighborhood Credit Union’s Prize- Linked Savings Account

For over a decade, Neighborhood Credit Union in Dallas, Texas has offered a unique sweepstakesbased prize-linked savings (PLS) product called Prize Savings. This PLS product provides an example of how individual financial institutions can independently launch and manage innovative savings products t…

Rise with the Raise: Findings From Early Pilots

Nearly 19MM minimum wage workers across the country will receive annual raises of $61.5 billion by 2022. Commonwealth is partnering with employers to ensure as many of these workers as possible can use these raises to build their financial security. Employee financial insecurity can often result in …

Savings Behaviors Among Youth of Color

In the summer of 2015, Commonwealth and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) piloted a payroll program that used prizes to facilitate positive financial behaviors among 50,000 youth participating in DYCD's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). In the process, …