Encouraging the Working Poor to Save

There was an interesting article by Jackie Calmes in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal titled New Programs Spur Working Poor to Begin Saving (free). I’m all for that! I like programs that actually help people better their lives rather than just give them something.

According to the article, the new programs match the participant’s savings but only if they consistently save and agree to attend financial planning classes. FINALLY! I would love to volunteer to teach financial planning classes. Maybe I should find out about any local programs and volunteer my services.

One of the obstacles to getting the working poor to save has been the fact that households with $2,000 or more in assets, including retirement plans, are ineligible for basic welfare programs.

It is an interesting article. I urge EVERYONE to read it.

6 thoughts on “Encouraging the Working Poor to Save”

  1. That’s a great article, and I like the idea. I’d much rather see my tax money going toward this type of program than other entitlement programs.

    I’m not sure I like the implication from the article that Ms. Hughes will be using the savings and matched savings for a downpayment on a house. $4,500 is a great start, but in my opinion home ownership should come after she’s got her finances straightened out, including a reasonable emergency account (a few thousand dollars would be a good start) and retirement savings.

    And for Ms. Hughes, I’d think it might be terribly discouraging to go from $4500 in savings to a $84000 mortgage.

  2. Anyone who is interested in teaching personal finance classes can do so at the grade and high school levels through Junior Achivement (www.ja.org)

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