Returning America to Thrift

Returning America to Thrift

The failure of most Americans to save adequately has profound national implications. Perhaps of greatest concern is the impact inadequate savings will have on lower income households. Families with little or no savings to protect them in case of health problems or job loss, or to invest in an education for a family member or a home to raise children, may experience more short and long-term pain than middle or upper income families with more resources. Yet research has shown that the poor can save. Changes to public policy that facilitate saving by improving access to high-quality savings products can be an important step in supporting saving for all Americans, especially those living on a lower income. For several years, Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D) has studied the use of US Savings Bonds as a tool to help lower income families save part of their tax refund. From late January to April 15, 2008, in cooperation with H&R Block and 32 community-based tax sites throughout the US, D2D offered US Savings Bonds to over 25,000 lower income tax clients. This paper presents results of this research, including policy recommendations.

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