Child Care providers in Athens and Washington counties are encouraged to enroll now in a local financial security training series, which provides an incentive to home child care business owners to save for their future. Free training and a matched savings plan offers providers strategies to assess their retirement needs and to begin a savings plan. Quarterly trainings offered over the next year will be held starting this fall, in both Marietta and Athens, at COAD offices.
In partnership with a national advocacy group, the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), COAD's Early Care and Education Division is conducting a yearlong research project to help self-employed child care workers increase their savings via Treasury Direct. Women who participate will have their savings matched-an incentive that replicates the Saver's Tax Credit, a provision of the tax code to encourage savings. The project, however, will simulate a refundable tax credit, a proposal before Congress to increase the savings rate in the U.S.
The financial reports this week that American's cut back on their credit card use for two straight months was met with concern about the state of the economy. The US is the only developed economy that relies on household debt to spur economic growth. These reports of reduced use of credit on the family level should be viewed as a sign that there is a healthy shift taking place-since 2008 credit card debt has dropped 17%. Instead of indicating an economic problem, reduced household debt is a positive indicator that families are starting to improve their household balance sheet, with less debt, and hopefully increased assets.
The best way to increase family assets is by saving more. Yet, In the US, our current savings rate is 4.2 percent, compared to the European rate of 13.7 percent. One of the reasons cited by experts for the differences is the access to easy, safe savings, and tax-free accounts. In Europe, these are offered in post offices and banks chartered for the small saver. In America, US Savings Bonds remain a great savings program that can be accessed by all citizens. While banks no longer offer them, individuals can purchase them on-line through the government run site "Treasury Direct". Currently the I-Bond, which can be purchased for as little as $25, has a 2.2 percent interest rate, a rate higher than most all CD's. The bond is guaranteed and there is no administrative fee.
The most successful form of saving is with a payroll deduction. But what about the millions of self-employed workers that don't have access to an employer plan? The self-employed sector of the economy, particularly the rural economy is growing, and projected to be 25 percent of the workforce.
To register for the project, contact Jennifer Loman at COAD at 1-800-577-2276 or email at email@example.com. For additional information about WISER's Rural Retirement Project, contact Diane Browning, at (304) 497.2749 firstname.lastname@example.org.