Webinar about Who Benefits from Federal Tax Subsidies | Thursday, December 4th
The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is co-hosting a webinar on Thursday, December 4th, at 1:00 p.m. CST. The title of the webinar is: Who Benefits from Federal Tax Subsidies? The presenters will explore who benefits from federal tax expenditures by income, race, ethnicity, and zip code. For further information, and to register for the webinar, please see below.
Who Benefits from Federal Tax Subsidies? Thursday, December 4, 2014
11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST
A national discussion is underway about the causes and effects of income and wealth inequality, including recent attention to the role of the U.S. tax code. The federal tax code contains more than $1 trillion in tax subsidies known to policymakers and economists as “tax expenditures” because they are a form of spending through the tax code. Of these subsidies, more than half a trillion, $540 billion, support some form of savings or investment (e.g., higher education, retirement, homeownership); but wealthier households receive most of the benefits.
PolicyLink, CFED, the Asset Funders Network, and the co-hosts listed below, invite you to a webinar to explore who benefits from federal tax expenditures by income, race, ethnicity, and zip code. The webinar will feature new data and insights from CFED, PolicyLink, and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, along with a discussion about how tax policy proposals expand savings and investment opportunities for lower-income households and households of color.
Lewis Brown Jr., Senior Associate, PolicyLink
Amanda Feinstein, Senior Program Officer, Walter & Elise Haas Fund & Steering Committee Member, Asset Funders Network
Jeremie Greer, Director of Government Affairs, CFED
Benjamin H. Harris, Fellow and Hamilton Project Policy Director, Brookings Institution
Contact Information: Christy Finsel, Executive Director for Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assets Matter | Building an Inclusive Economy for all Californians
Thursday, November 20, 2014
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (PST)
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA
Register today for the 2014 statewide assets symposium: Assets Matter: Building an Inclusive Economy for All Californians. The symposium will be held on November 20th from 9am-6pm in San Francisco. Together with local, state, and national policymakers, advocates, practitioners, funders, and academics, we will elevate the best ideas to build an economy that works for everyone.
We're proud to release the symposium agenda, complete with selected panels and presenters who we believe will foster an action-oriented discussion. We have an impressive lineup of speakers from across the state who represent the rich diversity of perspectives and approach necessary when tackling inequality and advancing wealth-building opportunities. Click here to download and print the agenda, or here to register for the symposium.
You won't want to miss our thought provoking and inspirational featured speakers:
Director of award-winning documentary Inequality for All. Jacob will discuss how the media can change the popular narrative on poverty and build support for change.
Co-founder and CEO of Self-Help Credit Union. Martin will share his ideas about how our country's most burgeoning issues are affective low-wealth households.
My Classroom Economy is designed to increase the financial capability of elementary school students through an in-class simulated economy. Students practice making decisions about spending and saving within their classrooms, while learning the outcomes of their choices in the process. They believe this applied learning approach has incredible potential to build positive lifelong financial habits. My Classroom Economy is not a curriculum or a class and should not take time away from other instructional goals.
They are seeking 3-6 school districts nationally to be part of a pilot. Being part of the pilot would mean that 4th and 5th grade classrooms are randomly assigned to implement the program for a 6-10 week period in the spring of 2015. Schools and teachers will receive an honorarium for taking part. Teachers will receive basic training in how to set the program up, including materials and systems to administer the economy.
They welcome any questions or suggestions for school districts to reach out to. They are hoping to have school systems in place by November.
A one-page Q+A about the project is availablehere. For further information, please contact CFS Faculty Director J. Michael Collins at email@example.com. School districts interested in participating may visit bit.ly/YIAin2 to complete a short questionnaire.
First Nations Development Institute | Protecting Native Money from Financial Fraud
Financial fraud has been far too common in Native American communities, and it is a growing problem with the recent increase in tribal lawsuit settlement payments. First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has partnered with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation to produce a pamphlet that can help people protect themselves from common financial fraud techniques.
Over the past five years more than $1 billion in tribal trust settlements have been reached, including the Keepseagle and Cobell class-action legal settlements. Many of these have resulted in payments to individual tribal members, which makes them prime targets for fraudsters who follow a simple strategy: Follow the money. The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is collaborating with First Nations to help reach the recipients of these trust fund settlements, as well as other tribal members who may be targeted for their wealth.
The pamphlet, titled “Fighting Fraud 101: Smart Tips for Investors,” is designed to appeal to individuals, members of tribal investment committees, and retirees. It lists some common fraud tactics, such as the “Social Consensus” tactic that leads you to believe that your savvy friends and neighbors may have already invested in a product. With the “Source Credibility” tactic, a fraudster may falsely suggest they have worked with other tribal investment committees or helped people manage lump-sum payouts from tribal lawsuits to try to gain trust. The pamphlet also teaches several techniques to avoid being taken advantage of and how to report suspicious behavior.
“We are honored to be able to collaborate with several national partners, including the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, to provide financial education for tribal members,” said First Nations President Michael E. Roberts.
On October 29, 2014, First Nations representatives Sarah Dewees and Shawn Spruce spoke at a Federal Trade Commission event in Washington, D.C., titled “Fraud Affects Every Community.” The purpose of this meeting was to highlight the range of consumer, financial and investor fraud techniques that affect diverse communities. “A lot of people aren't aware that financial fraud is a big problem on many Indian reservations,” noted Dewees, who is senior director of research, policy and asset-building programs at First Nations. “I am happy we have been able to continue our work with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the Office of the Special Trustee to help community members protect themselves against financial fraud.”
About First Nations Development Institute For 34 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.
Program Contact: Sarah Dewees, First Nations Senior Director of Research, Policy and Asset-Building Programs firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 371-5615
U.S. Treasury | myRA: A Simple, Safe, Affordable Retirement Savings Account
The U.S. Department of the Treasury will develop the myRASM (“My Retirement Account”) program, offering a new retirement savings account for individuals looking for a simple, safe, and affordable way to start saving. Individuals will be able to open accounts with no start-up cost and contribute to them every payday. myRA balances will never go down and there will be no fees. Initially, myRA will be made available through employers and the investment held in the account will be backed by the U.S. Treasury.
WHO WILL myRA BE FOR?
myRA will be Roth IRA accounts available to anyone who has an annual income of less than $129,000 a year for individuals and $191,000 for couples. myRA will be for individuals who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan. myRA is designed for individuals who want an investment with a low opening amount.
HOW WILL myRA WORK?
The myRA investment will earn interest at the same variable rate as the Government Securities Investment Fund in the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees. Individuals may voluntarily roll over myRA to private-sector retirement accounts at any time. Once myRA reaches $15,000, or after 30 years, the balance will be transferred to a private-sector retirement account. Treasury will finalize transfer procedures when it launches the myRA program later this year.
HOW WILL EMPLOYEES SIGN UP FOR myRA?
Once the accounts are available, employees of participating employers will start by signing up for a myRA account online. Then they will set up payroll direct deposit with their employers to have a portion of their paychecks ($50, $25, $7—any amount!) deposited into their myRAs automatically every payday.
Deposits automatic every payday
Portable – not tied to a single employer
Contributions can be withdrawn tax free
Earnings can be withdrawn tax free after five years and the saver is 59½
Will never go down in value
Information will be private and secure
Backed by the U.S. Treasury
No cost to open an account
Contribute every payday ($50, $25, $7—any amount!)
Roth IRA tax advantages
WHEN WILL myRA BE AVAILABLE?
Treasury will begin rolling out myRA in late 2014.
HOW WILL EMPLOYERS PARTICIPATE?
myRA will be free and easy for employers to make available to employees. Employers may distribute myRA information but will not administer employee accounts, contribute to them, or match employee contributions. On payday, employers will send a direct deposit to participating employees’ myRAs.
The Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis (CSD) is fortunate to have support from Wells Fargo Advisors to undertake a three-year project (2012-2015) in Financial Capability and Asset Building (FCAB). This initiative builds on CSD’s definition of financial capability as both the knowledge to make optimal financial decisions and the access to appropriate and beneficial financial services. FCAB builds on CSD’s prior research, policy, and financial product leadership in asset building for the entire population. The aim of FCAB is to increase financial capability, particularly among low-and-middle income households and households of color. The major pathway for FCAB is to address the wide gap in professional training of practitioners who serve low- and moderate-income households.
Background and context. Social work, home economics, and other applied professions emerged during periods of economic and social strain. These professions were a response to rising industrialization and urbanization, which resulted in rapid economic and social change, creating greater rifts between rich and poor, native-born and immigrants, and people of different religious faiths (Addams, 1893b). Most of the problems encountered by early social workers and home economists resulted from poverty and service to the poor dominated professional practice at the turn of the 20th Century.
As educational programs in social work grew, courses and publications focused on household economic life, including topics such as household earnings, budgeting, spending, and saving. Unfortunately, by mid-century, the focus on family finances was largely abandoned by both social workers and home economists. Home economists turned their attention toward homemaker practices such as nutrition, cooking, and sewing, and social workers shifted their attention toward psychological interpretations more than practical problem solving (Specht & Courtney, 1995).
Today, no profession adequately addresses financial capability of low- and moderate-income populations. Furthermore, no profession adequately trains practitioners to address family financial challenges on the scale required during an economic downturn. In the wake of the mortgage crisis, high unemployment, and rising inequality, the time is right for a revival and renewal of professional interest and commitment to financial capability.
Doorways to Dreams Fund - The Power of Translation I SavingsQuest
Translating established ideas from other industries to substantiate your own innovations can be challenging. But, as the Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund shows, the process can be instructive and rewarding.
"Innovators don't always need to reinvent the wheel," said Nick Maynard, Senior Innovation Director at D2D. "What is more important - and often more effective - is to leverage foundational work of others and harness the excitement around existing products."
With support from CFSI's Financial Capability Innovation Fund II, D2D has designed and will soon launch SavingsQuest. Simply put, D2D is testing "FitBit for savings". This digital tool is designed to do more than just match trends: it is meant to leverage gamification and real-time data to change the savings behavior of its users.
Agency Resumes Mailing Social Security Statements | Encourages People to Create a Secure my Social Security Account to Obtain Their Statement Online, Anytime
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced the agency will resume the periodic mailing of Social Security Statements—once every five years for most workers-- while encouraging everyone to create a secure my Social Security account to immediately access their Statement online, anytime. The Statement is a valuable financial planning tool providing workers age 18 and older with important individualized information regarding their earnings, tax contributions, and estimates for future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits.
“We have listened to our customers, advocates, and Congress; and renewing the mailing of theStatement reinforces our commitment to provide the public with an easy, efficient way to obtain an estimate of their future Social Security benefits,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said. “I encourage everyone to create their own secure my Social Security account to obtain immediate access to theirStatement online, anytime.”
Beginning this month, workers attaining ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 who are not receiving Social Security benefits and who are not registered for a my Social Security account will receive the Statement in the mail about 3 months before their birthday. After age 60, people will receive a Statement every year. The agency expects to send nearly 48 million Statements each year.
The Social Security Statement helps people plan for their financial future. In addition to providing future benefit estimates, the Statement highlights a person’s complete earnings history, allowing workers to verify the accuracy of their earnings. This is important because an individual’s future benefit amount is determined by the amount of their earnings over their lifetime. To date, more than 14 million people have established a personalized my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
With a my Social Security account, people may access the Statement from the comfort of their home, office or library whenever they choose. Individuals who currently receive benefits should sign up for a my Social Security account to manage their benefit payments and, when the need arises, get an instant benefit verification letter, change their address and phone number, and start or change direct deposit of their benefit payment.
Acting Commissioner Colvin reinforced that “whether conducting business with Social Security via the Internet, mail, telephone or face-to-face, we will continue to provide convenient, cost-effective, secure and quality customer service to meet the needs of the public we serve.”
Pass-it-On! When Adult Children Need Financial Help
Children can be one of the great joys of life, but let’s face it: Kids are expensive. Every year since 1960, the federal government has estimated the average cost for a middle-income couple to raise a child through age 17. For a child born in 1960, the estimated cost was $25,229 ($195,690 in 2012 dollars). For a child born in 2012, the estimate was $241,080.1 Then there’s the cost of a college education, which could be $100,000 or more (for tuition, fees, room, and board) at a private four-year college.2 After that, though, the kids are on their own, right? Well, not exactly.
Examine your own financial situation. Don’t just pull out your checkbook. Consider whether you can really afford to help. Will helping now compromise your ability to live in retirement? If so, look for other ways to provide assistance.
Understand your child’s situation. Is this an unexpected short-term crisis? Or is it a chronic issue? What kind of sacrifices is your child making to improve his or her financial situation? What steps can he or she take to avoid a future crisis?
Establish whether monetary help is a gift or a loan. Making it a loan could help your child develop financial responsibility. If it’s a loan, set a realistic repayment schedule. A gift exceeding $14,000 ($28,000 for a couple) could be subject to gift taxes.
Consider other ways to help. Could your child move in with you on a temporary basis? Do you have an extra car for job transportation? Can you provide child care for grandchildren? Do you have contacts who might help your child find a job? Are there outside agencies that could help?
Having children is a lifetime commitment, and it’s natural to want to help them no matter how old they are. When it comes to helping adult children financially, however, it may be better to treat them less like children and more like adults.