Americans don’t save enough - in 2005, Americans’ personal savings rate was negative for the first time since the Great Depression ─ instead of piling up savings, we are piling up debt. Two behavioral economics columns on how switching signup for a 401K plan from opt-in (say yes to be enrolled) to opt-out (say no to be un-enrolled) dramatically raises enrollment rates.Read More
Poor people are less likely to make smart financial decisions; however, new research in the U.S. says this is not about intelligence but rather about a brain being overwhelmed with issues related to poverty. To combat that barrier of stress, organizations around the world are making financial decisions easier for people experiencing poverty by making borrowing easier and automating future financial planning, like 401(k) contributions.Read More
Funding with too many strings attached makes it hard for non-profits to grow and be impactful. An American organization, Nonprofit Finance Fund (N.F.F.) Capital Partners division, is finding ways to finance non-profits likes companies and has already shown great success in pilot situations.Read More
Foreclosure affects millions of homeowners and millions more owe more on their mortgages than what their homes are worth, but Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), offers assistance. As a free service to borrowers, ESOP holds lenders accountable with fair lending agreements, creates constructive communication, and ultimately saves homes.Read More
After years of banning labor unions in Bangladesh, garment workers unionized to fight for higher wages and safer working conditions. For women, this isn't traditionally a space they were welcomed in, but now they’re holding their own meetings to ensure women’s safety is ensured on the job.Read More
More Than Wheels, a New Hampshire-based non-profit offers an economically stable solution to the high cost of owning a car. The program offers low-cost car loans that go toward the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles.Read More
A panoply of responses to poverty has emerged to address poverty in the United States and abroad. The responses share in three key tactics: Measuring impact, paying for success, and collaboration.Read More
Lotteries aren’t usually considered part of the solution to a savings crisis experienced across America, particularly by the nation's poor, but with more hopefuls purchasing lottery tickets than setting aside rainy day funds, one organization, Doorways to Dreams, is working to change federal and state laws to allow banks to offer prize-linked savings. In Michigan, the programs have seen some success.Read More
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, necessity has bred an interesting kind of financial invention for the New York MTA: the world’s first “catastrophe” bond - a reinsurance for the insurer - designed to protect public transportation infrastructure, specifically against storm surge. These bonds privatize risk for public gain, creating a kind of tool that may protect economic development against all kinds of natural and man-made disasters around the world.Read More
America’s system of health care is based on an old industrial-era model, without taking into account a decentralized, mobile, independent workforce that remains largely unprotected without health and unemployment insurance. The Freelancers Insurance Company, based in New York State, offers competitive premiums by having their executives receive salaries at low wages. The model keeps costs under control, which in turn makes health care more accessible to independent workers.Read More
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