Abstract Many people in the United States have achieved economic stability through self-employment and are often seen as embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and seizing opportunity. Yet, research also suggests that self-employment may be precarious for many people in the lower socioeconomic strata. Drawing on a unique dataset that combines longitudinal survey data with administrative tax […]
Frank-Miller, E. and Despard, M.; Dissemination of research findings from the Employee Financial Wellness Programs project through a series of webinars to the National Fund for Workforce Solutions’ regional collaboratives. Hosted by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Despard, M.; Presentation to philanthropic leaders through the Asset Funders Network summarizing research findings and recommendations from the Employee Financial Wellness Programs project. Hosted by the Asset Funders Network: Working Group on Work and Wealth.
Roll, S. P., Davison, G., Grinstein-Weiss, M., Despard, M. R., & Bufe, S. (2018). Refund to Savings 2015–2016: Field experiments to promote tax-time saving in low- and moderate-income households (CSD Research Report No. 18-28). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.
Workplace-based Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs) aim to strengthen employees’ financial well-being through services such as financial coaching, payroll advances and short term installment loans, credit counseling, debt management, and online financial management tools. Although EFWPs are a fast-growing part of employee benefit packages, offerings vary widely in service type and delivery method across employers, […]
Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs) consist of a wide array of workplace-based services and benefits that aim to enhance employees’ financial well-being, such as in-person financial coaching, online financial management tools, and payroll advances or short-term loans. EFWP provision varies across employers with few organizations offering the same set of services. The recently released Employee […]
Material and health care hardship is common among households with low incomes and is associated with a host of adverse outcomes but can be mitigated with having savings. The authors assessed the effects of online tax-time savings interventions informed by behavioral economics on hardship among a sample of low- and moderate-income tax filers (N = 4,738). The […]
Being unbanked makes it difficult for low and moderate-income (LMI) households to manage finances, save, and access credit. We assessed effects of an online tax-time savings intervention on savings account openings in the 6 months following tax filing among a sample of4,692 LMI tax filers. Treatment group participants had 60% greater odds of opening a […]
Material hardship is common among low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. Without liquid financial assets, these households are more likely to experience hardship in the face of financial shocks—large and unexpected expenses or dips in income. Authors hypothesized that shocks have a direct effect on hardship, and that liquid financial assets partially mediate the relationship between […]
Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households need financial assets to help cope with income and expenditure shocks. Prior research identifies racial differences in wealth and wealth effects. We examined whether these gaps and effects exist for liquid financial assets. Using group invariance tests in structural equation modeling, we assessed the relationship between financial shocks and material […]
Tax refunds give many low-and moderate-income (LMI) households a rare opportunity to save for unexpected expenses. We conducted three experiments aimed at increasing tax-time savings by LMI consumers. In a large field experiment, the most effective intervention increased the average savings deposits by about 50%. Delivered as people filed taxes online, this treatment consisted of […]
Alternative financial services (AFS) such as check cashing and payday loans may help unbanked households meet transaction and credit needs, yet often at a very high price. Saving tax refunds can help low- and moderate-income (LMI) households build emergency savings as a way to reduce dependence on AFS and cope effectively with irregular cash flows […]
Despard, M. R., Perantie, D. C., Taylor, S. H., Grinstein-Weiss, M., Friedline, T., & Raghavan, R. (2016). Student debt and hardship: Evidence from a large sample of low- and moderate-income households. Children and Youth Services Review, 70, 8–18. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.09.001
A lack of emergency savings renders low-income households vulnerable to material hardships resulting from unexpected expenses or loss of income. Having emergency savings helps these households respond to unexpected events, maintain consumption, and avoid high-cost credit products. Because many low-income households receive sizable federal tax refunds, tax time is an opportunity for these households to […]
Having a bank account is one important way for households to securely accumulate savings, build credit, and earn interest on assets. Nationally, 7.7% of households are unbanked—lacking both a checking and a savings account. One proposed step toward financial inclusion is to encourage unbanked households to open accounts and deposit refunds into savings at tax […]
Health insurance is an important resource for enabling access to and use of medical care, and is associated with reduced risk for mortality and poor health outcomes. Health insurance also protects households from incurring major medical expenses and unmanageable levels of medical debt. About a quarter of a sample of low- and moderate-income (LMI) tax […]
Unable to conduct everyday financial transactions without a bank account or in need of flexible, shortterm credit, many low- and moderate-income (LMI) households turn to alternative financial services (AFSs). This brief summarizes research on AFS use among LMI tax filers participating in the Refund to Savings (R2S) Initiative. We make an important contribution to AFS […]