Could you get by for three months on savings alone? Local nonprofit gets low-income Minnesotans saving “some” of their refund for the unexpected

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Stacy Opitz
AccountAbility Minnesota
651-262-2162 (office)
651-329-8227 (cell)
sopitz@accountabilitymn.org

 

Could you get by for three months on savings alone? Local nonprofit gets low-income Minnesotans saving “some” of their refund for the unexpected

It’s America Saves Week and AccountAbility Minnesota, a free tax and financial service provider, is making savings easy, attainable and fun with the “Got Some, Save Some” campaign.

ST. PAUL – February, 26 – With nearly a quarter of Minnesotans lacking sufficient savings, AccountAbility Minnesota, a local nonprofit organization that serves more than 12,000 people annually, set out to increase the number low-income taxpayers saving some of their tax refund with the “Got Some, Save Some” campaign. The campaign aims to prove that saving, even a little bit, is attainable and worthwhile. Core to the campaign is this video.

According to the national think-tank, CFED, 23.6% of Minnesotans are liquid asset poor, meaning they would fall into poverty within three months if they encountered an emergency or lost their job. Without savings, some families turn to predatory, short term loans with high interest rates, sometimes exceeding 500%. These statistics, coupled with AAM’s research of its own customers’ needs and aspirations, prove that saving is struggle, even when a strong desire is present.

“With the financial windfall that tax refunds provide due to refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, we’re well poised to encourage savings,” said Tracy Fischman, executive director of AAM. “For many of the hardworking customers we serve, tax time is an opportune time to save.”

The “Got Some, Save Some” campaign is a social marketing campaign to change the savings behavior of low-to moderate-income taxpayers at tax time and beyond. With tested messages, it speaks to a person’s emotions, aspirations and assumptions. The campaign aims to make saving – something that can be hard for those with limited income – easy, attainable, and fun.

“Just like any other social marketing campaign, like anti-smoking campaigns, we want to change behaviors,” said Fischman. “We conducted research to determine what messages and activities resonated and motivated people to save. The messages that rose to the top were even a little bit adds up and saving for an emergency is important.”

To date, hundreds of people have saved some of their refund at one of AAM’s free tax preparation clinics.

AAM provides free tax and financial services to low- to moderate-income hardworking families in the Twin Cities. They see tax time as a “money moment” and offer financial services that help taxpayers maximize their refund’s impact on their financial security.

America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status. Typically thousands of organizations participate in the Week, reaching millions of people.

 

About AccountAbility Minnesota

AccountAbility Minnesota helps hard-working, low-income taxpayers move towards economic security by providing free tax and financial services. The organization was created 40 years ago by a group of social-justice minded accountants committed to ensuring that one’s ability to receive tax assistance – and related financial services – should not depend solely on one’s ability to pay. Over the years, it has expanded its work by integrating access to affordable financial services that promote savings and facilitate access to mainstream financial institutions, by helping to build the capacity of other organizations providing these services, and by utilizing its experiences to advance policies and practices that directly benefit the people it serves. In 2012, AccountAbility Minnesota enlisted the help of more than 550 volunteers who prepared taxes for 12,445 individuals who received a collective $22.6 million in refunds.

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