23% of low-income Americans say they have rainy day funds set aside that would cover their expenses for three months in case of an emergency compared with 48% of middle-income and 75% of upper-income adults.
While savings is a financial safety net, the pandemic was a sobering reminder that Iowa families do not have enough in savings to cover unforeseen emergencies. A recent Federal Reserve study found that 44 percent of American households would not have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency.
The Big Idea
Good public policy could enable incentive for Iowans to save. Permitted in 34 other states, “Prize Linked Savings” programs enable credit unions and banks to offer consumers an innovative savings program to change habits. The idea is to encourage saving through gamification, with savers earning chances to win a cash prize from their financial institution without ever putting their money at risk. If you don’t win the drawing, you keep all the money you deposit, plus any interest earned. The program simply provides a carrot by motivating better saving habits and has been proven effective.
Many Iowans know the importance of saving money, but often are faced with the reality of paying bills rather than building a financial safety net. Providing an incentive to save can help build economic stability for Iowa families, strengthening our workforce and growing local communities.
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