Too many Texans do not have the financial resources necessary to weather unexpected expenses, much less a devastating hurricane or pandemic. In 2016, 42.2% of Texas households were liquid asset poor, which means they lacked sufficient liquid assets to subsist at the poverty level for three months if they experienced a crisis leading to a loss of stable income. RAISE Texas is working to change this by expanding savings opportunities and pushing for policies that support savings.
The following are savings programs and opportunities that are part of our work:
- Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) for College: We are working to expand children’s savings accounts for college in partnership with Texas public schools, connecting college savings accounts to Texas’ mandated financial education curriculum.
- Prize-Linked Savings: RAISE Texas helped secure a legislative victory that now allows prize-linked savings programs in Texas. Our next steps are to expand the number of financial institutions offering prize-linked savings accounts, and to promote these fun savings opportunities statewide.
- Emergency Savings: We are exploring different policies and programs to help more Texans save for emergencies. Savings penalties, also known as asset limits, in safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) penalize households for having savings.
- Incentivized Savings: The research and the experience in our statewide network shows that incentives and matched savings work; the challenge is to secure sustainable funding.
- Tax Time Savings: From 2011-2015 we developed and funded the Tax-Time Savings Project, which encouraged Texas VITA filers to save a portion of their tax refund in either a savings bond or a matched savings account. This project enabled us to learn what works and doesn’t work in getting VITA sites to promote savings at tax time. Many VITA sites now integrate tax-time savings into their VITA work. We encourage more VITA sites to use tax-time as an opportunity to help their clients increase their savings.