Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Texas Saves


By Don Baylor and Chuck Stokes

This week, Texas is one of many states celebrating America Saves Week, a national week to promote personal savings and encourage individuals to take financial action. American Saves Week couldn't come at a better time, with so many Texan families struggling. To strengthen our communities, Texas needs to adopt a new blueprint for helping families save.

As noted in Why Thrift Matters: 20 Propositions, a report recently released by the Institute for American Values, Americans are rediscovering the  thrift of our forefathers and mothers, who worked hard, saved their money and shared their wealth with those in need. The recipe for building financially strong families and communities remains the same today. Texas Saves Week reminds us that we need only look back to find a wiser way forward. We need to work together, not just for individual change, but to create a culture that values hard work, planning ahead and the importance of community.

Creating a college-going culture is widely acknowledged as the best way to secure a better future by increasing the earning potential of tomorrow's labor force. In Texas, we need to direct similar energy to creating a savings culture. Like a good education, household savings - regardless of family income - is a sound predictor of whether a child who grows up poor will become part of the middle class. The association between savings and future financial security is even more pronounced when savings are targeted toward college. Academic research has found that a child with a dedicated savings account is seven times more likely to attend college than a similar child without such an account, even when controlling for race or income. In essence, savings represent hope and opportunity.

Click here to read the full article.