A Contest to Inspire Youth Savings? Smart Policy!

Jamie Zimmerman, New America Foundation
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Last week, the Treasury Department’s Ready.Save.Grow Campaign, an initiative focused on helping more people save with Treasury financial options, launched a contest called “Save Out Loud.” The competition asks students from kindergarten through high school to share their savings stories in order to win a live video conversation with US Treasurer Rosie Rios."

 

Over the last year, the YouthSave Consortium has talked a lot about the value of learning from youth, hearing their voices and understanding their wants and needs in order to build smart, effective products. We have also written extensively about the power of incentives, nudges, and hope in helping youth build the habits and skills that will lead them to successful savings and asset accumulation over time.

So, it is really exciting to see the US Government launching a contest to celebrate and inspire youth savings goals. Last week, the Treasury Department’s Ready.Save.Grow Campaign, an initiative focused on helping more people save with Treasury financial options, launched a contest called “Save Out Loud.” The competition asks students from kindergarten through high school to share their savings stories in order to win a live video conversation with US Treasurer Rosie Rios. In short, the contest does many things right:

  • It incentivizes youth participation through a writing and video contest to share their savings story or aspiration.

 

  • It lets youth themselves do the talking, which can inspire not only other youth peers but also the broader communities working to provide access to new products, policies or programs targeting youth.

 

  • It uses photo and video (as opposed to your typical writing contests) and is easy and fun

It’s not a substitute for more intentional policies that help youth save and build assets over their lifetime, but it’s a savvy, low-cost, uncomplicated way of raising awareness of the value of savings among this important population. And maybe these youth’s stories will teach the rest of us some lessons in the meantime.