Credit unions’ prize linked savings accounts provide motivation, help establish saving habits

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Amaia KirtlandIn the current low-interest climate, a paltry fraction of a percent just isn’t enough incentive to convince some Americans to make regular deposits into a savings account, especially when they’re also struggling with underemployment and rising costs of living. In fact, a survey this year by consumer finance company Bankrate found that over a quarter of Americans have no emergency savings at all.To provide a stronger incentive to save, some credit unions are now offering prize-linked savings certificate accounts that offer monthly drawings for cash prizes. Under the largest of these programs, Save to Win, each $25 deposit gives the depositor an entry into the prize-winning raffle (up to 10 entries per month). Playing the lottery may seem at odds with saving for the future, but unlike a traditional lottery, there’s no sunk cost associated with prize-linked savings accounts. Winners get their cash prize deposited into their savings accounts, and everyone gets to keep the money they’ve saved plus interest. SaveUp, a financial startup based in San Francisco, offers its own twist on prized-linked savings. The for-profit website awards its users credits for adding money to their linked savings or retirement accounts, and those credits enter users into sweepstakes for cars, vacations and other prizes.Legally, banks cannot yet offer prize-linked accounts in every state, and Bill Hampel, chief economist of the Credit Union National Association, acknowledges that the combination of lottery-style prizes and savings accounts may raise some eyebrows. “Lower-income people lose money in lotteries with no redeeming values whatsoever, so there’s a stigma [around traditional lotteries],” he says. “It takes a little while for policymakers to get their arms around combining something that can be bad for consumers and turning it into something that can be good for consumers.”The Save to Win pilot program began in 2009 in Michigan, where the concept was already legal, and it’s now also offered in Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington. Credit union members in those four states have created roughly 50,000 accounts and collectively saved $94 million, reports Save to Win. “Early research in Michigan shows a lot of folks who wouldn’t normally be saving opened savings accounts and kept those accounts open,” Hampel says. “It is really hard to get some people to build up savings balances, especially in the bottom half of the income distribution.” Based on the findings in Michigan, credit unions and consumer advocates throughout the country are urging legislators in other states to allow prize-linked savings accounts. continue reading »last_img read more

News Scan for Apr 09, 2020

first_imgWHO profiles recent Saudi MERS casesIn a snapshot of MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia in February, the country reported 18 cases, 5 of them fatal, from 9 different cities, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.Four of the patients had a history of contact with camels. None were healthcare workers, and none had any known contact with earlier MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patients. Seven patients were from Riyadh, and Hafr Albatin, Najran, and Eastern each had two cases. Five cities each had one case: Al-Jawf, Mecca, Hail, Taif, and Jeddah.All were adults, ages 34 to 81 years old, and all but two were men. All but one had an underlying health condition.The WHO said that, as of Feb 29, it has received 2,538 MERS-CoV illness reports since 2012, with at least 871 deaths. The vast majority have been in Saudi Arabia.Apr 8 WHO MERS-CoV update Flu vaccine protection against hospitalization low across 3 seasonsFlu vaccine was 31% effective among outpatients and 36% effective among inpatients during three recent flu seasons, according to a study led by researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published today in Clinical Infectious Diseases.The investigators tested adults who had acute respiratory illness (ARI) for flu in two vaccine effectiveness (VE) networks at three sites from 2015 to 2018. They estimated VE using logistic regression, adjusting for site, age, sex, race and ethnicity, peak influenza activity, time to testing from emergence of symptoms, season (overall VE), and underlying conditions.They found overall VE of 31% among 14,573 (4,144 flu-positive) outpatients (95% confidence interval [CI], 26% to 37%) and 36% among 6,769 (1,452 flu-positive) inpatients (95% CI, 27% to 44%).VE against the 2009 H1N1 strain was 37% (95% CI, 25% to 47%) among outpatients and 53% (95% CI, 37% to 64%) among inpatients. VE against H3N2 was 19% (95% CI, 9% to 27%) among outpatients and 23% (95% CI, 8% to 35%) among inpatients. VE against B viruses was 46% (95% CI, 38% to 53%) among outpatients and 46% (95% CI, 31% to 58%) among inpatients. VE differences were not significant for any comparison across sites.Hospitalized patients were older (median age, 62 vs. 49 years) and had more predisposing conditions (median, 4 vs. 1) than outpatients.”Inpatients and outpatients with ARI represent distinct populations,” the authors wrote. “Despite comparatively poor health status among inpatients, influenza vaccination was effective in preventing hospitalizations associated with influenza.” Flu-related hospitalizations are associated with poor clinical outcomes, high costs, and heavy healthcare resource burdens.The authors said that suboptimal VE in recent years and the perception that flu is a mild illness lead some people to decide against vaccination. “Establishing VE against hospitalized influenza is important for policymakers, and may influence peoples’ decisions on whether to get vaccinated,” they wrote. Apr 9 Clin Infect Dis abstractlast_img read more

Upsets galore! – Venus Williams stunned by 15-year-old ‘Coco’ Gauff; Osaka, Zverev, Tsitsipas all crash out of Wimbledon

first_imgWIMBLEDON, England (AP): In a match-up of youth vs. experience, the youngest woman in the draw beat the oldest at Wimbledon. Fifteen-year-old Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff beat five-time champion Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in a first-round meeting between two players with a 24-year age gap on Court 1. The 39-year-old Williams had won four of her seven Grand Slam titles before Gauff was even born in 2004. The 313th-ranked Gauff is the youngest player to enter the main draw at Wimbledon since Laura Robson in 2009, having come through qualifying last week. Gauff, playing in her first Grand Slam match, converted her fourth match point when Williams sent a forehand into the net then broke into sobs before shaking hands with her opponent. After winning two straight Grand Slam titles, Naomi Osaka has now failed to reach the second week at the last two majors. Osaka, who was ranked No. 1 in the world until last week, also lost to Yulia Putinseva 7-6 (4), 6-2 yesterday. The second-seeded Osaka won the US Open last year and the Australian Open this year, but she lost in the third round at the French Open and now the first round at the All England Club. familiarity “I just don’t think I played that well,” said Osaka, who also lost to Putinseva two weeks ago in Birmingham. “But I wasn’t surprised because I’ve played her, like, twice already.” Osaka had 38 unforced errors on Centre Court, while Putinseva had only seven. Osaka later cut short her news conference, leaving before any questions were asked in Japanese. “Can I leave?” she asked the moderator after several short answers. “I feel like I’m about to cry.” There were two big upsets on the men’s side as well with both sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev and seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas losing in the first round. Zverev lost to Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, while Tsitsipas was beaten by Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-3. Both Zverev and Tsitsipas are among the younger generation of players expected to eventually replace the ‘Big Three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in men’s tennis. Tsitsipas, who beat Federer at the Australian Open en route to the semi-finals, saved two match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker and failed to convert three break points early in the fifth. Fabbiano broke Tsitsipas twice in the final set, including in the last game when the Greek popped a shot long. It was the 102nd-ranked Fabbiano’s first win over a top-10 player. Zverev, who lost in the first round at the All England Club for the first time in five appearances, said his confidence was “below zero” right now. “It was kind of a typical Grand Slam match for me. I started off well, then one or two things don’t go my way, and everything kind of a little bit falls apart,” the German said. “Yeah, I’m not very high on confidence right now.”last_img read more

Heat top Pacers, take 3-0 series lead

first_imgBam Adebayo had a hoop, two offensive rebounds and three free throws down the stretch yesterday night as the Miami Heat staved off an Indiana Pacers rally to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with a 124-115 victory in the NBA “bubble” near Orlando. Miami will go for the best-of-seven series sweep tomorrow, with a chance to move on to the Eastern semifinals against either top-seeded Milwaukee or No. 8 Orlando.Jimmy Butler finished with a team-high 27 points, including 17-for-20 from the free throw line, for the Heat, who outscored the Pacers 43-21 from the stripe, getting 24 more opportunities.Goran Dragic chipped in with 24 points and a team-high six assists, and Adebayo compiled a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds for Miami. Tyler Herro added 20 points, Duncan Robinson had 15 and Jae Crowder 11 for the Heat. Brogdon recorded postseason career-highs with 34 points and 14 assists — both game-highs — for the Pacers, who outshot the Heat 48.8 percent to 45.3. T.J. Warren went for 23 points and Victor Oladipo had 20 for Indiana.The fifth-seeded Heat led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter and 74-56 at the half before the fourth-seeded Pacers scored the first seven points of the third quarter to kick-start a comeback.Indiana got within 94-90 at period’s end, and closed within two on three occasions in the final period, including one final time at 114-112 when Brodgon nailed a 3-pointer with 2:21 to go. The Pacers forced misses on each of the Heat’s next two shots, but Adebayo retrieved each and turned the second into a pair of free throws to increase the advantage to four with 1:39 to play.Butler (four) and Dragic (two) iced the win with six subsequent free throws as Miami held the Pacers without a point from the 2:21 mark until Brodgon bombed in another 3-pointer with 8.0 seconds left after Indiana had fallen behind 122-112.The Pacers had inched within 111-109 with 4:07 to go on a Brodgon two-pointer. But that time, Adebayo dropped in one of two free throws, then connected on a short jumper on Miami’s next possession to open a 114-109 margin. Myles Turner scored 15 as part of a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds, and Aaron Holiday had 10 points for Indiana.—Field Level Medialast_img read more

Cartoon: April 21, 2015

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