529 plans

Roth Accounts for Youth Savings

March 7, 2014
Publication Image While the notion of universal children’s savings continues to receive serious consideration at the highest levels of federal lawmaking, there is no formal plan on the table to promote CSAs and no guarantee that a plan will be adopted in the near future. Congress will need to consider a wide array of options before making a move on CSAs, a process that could take years. In the meantime, there continues to be a big gap in the financial-services marketplace for parents who want to save for their children.

Asset Building News Week, February 10-14

February 14, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include children's savings accounts, education, and financial services.

An Assets Perspective to the War on Poverty: Access to Higher Education

January 16, 2014
Publication Image Over the past week, we’ve been taking a look at what we’ve learned since the War on Poverty began about why assets matter – and why they should be a key piece of our anti-poverty approach going forward. On Monday, Hannah Emple examined the relationship between assets and health, and on Tuesday, Elliot Schreur discussed how assets are essential to economic mobility. Today, in the final installment of our series, I’ll explore why assets matter for education – and how we can do better.

Event Series at the University of Kansas on Poverty, Assets, and the American Dream

September 6, 2013

The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI), and the KU Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice are convening a series of events over the next few months about the interplay of assets with upward economic and social mobility. Learn more about the series and RSVP for the first event here.

The first event kicks off next week on September 11 at the University of Kansas. Keynote speaker Dr. Mark Rank, a widely-recognized expert on poverty and inequality, will be discussing his research, including a finding that nearly 60 percent of Americans experience poverty at some point between the ages of 20 and 75. His talk, and the panel discussion to follow, will examine why poverty is portrayed as an individual failing despite its prevalence and structural origins, and how institutions can support (or stop hindering) upward economic mobility. 

Check out the details for Wednesday's event below and make a note of the dates of forthcoming events. In particular, note that our Senior Research Fellow, William Elliott, will be speaking at the November event about his work on improving children's educational outcomes through access to savings. The early 2014 events will feature Tom Shapiro, whose work with the Institute on Assets and Social Policy has greatly informed the national conversation on the causes of racial wealth disparities, and Michael Sherraden, whose work laid the earliest foundations of the asset building field.

The series will be available on livestream for those not able to travel to the Lawrence, Kansas area.

Playing the Long-Game on College Financing

July 22, 2013
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Sometimes when I need to motivate myself to do something, cheesy as it may be, I think about how it will benefit "future me." "Future me" will enjoy wearing the clean clothes that "present me" washed. "Future me" will be able to get out the door faster because "present me" packed my son's daycare bag. It works because, like Michael J. Fox a la Back to the Future, I know that "future me" will someday be "present me" and it will pay off. We could use more of this thinking when it comes to federal policies that help students pay for college.

Paper Release: Personal Savings and Tax Reform

July 22, 2013
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With Congress locked in a seemingly endless loop of disagreement and dysfunction, hoping for a big, bipartisan effort to reform our tax code seems more and more like wishful thinking. Still, there are signs of promise. Senator Max Baucus and Representative Dave Camp, both chairmen of their respective tax-writing committees, launched a nation-wide “road show” last week to bring attention to the need for tax reform. While much of the attention generated by the effort has focused on the big money of corporate tax reform, a more urgent issue for average Americans is reforming personal savings incentives. A new paper that I co-authored with Reid Cramer explains why our current system, though supposedly providing generous tax incentives to save for retirement, homeownership, and education, actually fails to support savings among lower- and middle-income Americans and, in doing so, wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars every year.

Personal Savings and Tax Reform

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • Elliot Schreur,
  • New America Foundation
July 22, 2013

The tax code is riddled with inequities, especially for families with lower incomes and fewer resources. While some low-income households benefit from refundable credits provided in the tax code such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, many more are categorically excluded from benefiting from valuable tax incentives. The nearly 70 percent of Americans that do not itemize on their tax returns cannot access a range of valuable benefits, deductions, and write-offs that amount to huge tax-saving benefits to higher-income households.

Event Summary: Saving Financial Aid

July 15, 2013
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Today, the Asset Building Program co-hosted an event with the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) at the University of Kansas. The event focused on new research on the issue of children's savings for college and how policy can better help low- and middle-income students both get to college and stay enrolled. The research from the field is clear: having a savings account in a child's own name has a positive impact that is sustained even when controlling for family income, educational background and other important factors. A new AEDI report Building Assets, Delivering Results: Asset-based Financial aid and The Future of Higher Education was released at the event and is available now for download. We've done something new for this event and summarized the conversation in a Storify. Check it out here, or scroll to the bottom of this post to read it.

Guest Blog Post: States Fail to Make the Grade When Providing Economic Security

May 28, 2013
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Editor's Note: This blog post is written by Matt Unrath, Director of National Projects at Wider Opportunities for Women. Matt oversees WOW’s national projects—The Family Economic Security Project, the Basic Economic Security Tables™ Initiative (BEST), the Women and Work project and the Economic Security for Survivors project. He serves as the principal contact for WOW’s state and local partners across the country and represents WOW in national advocacy efforts.

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